Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Expendables

The Canucks have faced the injury bug (as usual) and come out four points ahead at this point in the season of where they were last year.  For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) the masses have anounced the Canucks the Cup Favourite prior to the 2010-11 season.  We haven't heard too many rumblings about that since, but they are ahead of last year's pace but still seem to be a disappointment.  Has it been the injuries?  Is it our continued lack of success against Chicago?  What is so bad about being third in the West, at the top of your division despite playing the least amount of games in your Conference thus far?

Anyway most feel they may have been too early in lauding praise on the Nux, who have dropped some "Should Win" games and have been blown out by the rival Blackhawks but they are getting healthier and playing better and will likely to continue to do both.  When Sami Salo is healthy it will raise some questions.  Undboubtedly this is a Cup Contender, and I still think Cup Favourite, and there's no way they are rolling in to the playoffs with this roster so when Salo returns we should expect some change.  I don't think anyone is trading for him coming down the stretch so if he stays healthy with the Canucks he should stay in Vancouver, that  means somone has got to go.  It's so cliche to hate on Bieksa but he's got to be the odd man out.  Whether or not Salo plays to the level he can after returning from one of the most serious of his many career injuries he can't be more of a liability than Bieksa, and Rome and Alberts seem to be favourties of both coaching staff and management.  Bieksas downfall is his decision making with the puck and without it.  The give-a-ways and poor positional play are too big a risk in the postseason...if he's still a Canuck come playoff time and Salo is playing then Bieksa will be in the box - traded or not when this roster fills out he's expendable.

Ideally Salo plays like he can and pairs up with Alberts/Rome as your 5/6 group while the tandom of Ehrhoff and Edler are re-united and Ballard and Hamhuis get together.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Gillis make a play for a depth D-Man at the deadline though, as well as Rome and Alberts have played this is the year and if you're a liability you're not going to play...ask Ballard if this team's brass are bluffing.

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