Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wake me up when October ends

Me and my man B talkin' Nux:

Canuck fans have to be getting used to slow starts from their team, especially their former captain and "#1" goalie Roberto Luongo but 2-3-0-1 doesn't cut it when you look at the schedule.

We opened the season at home against a Crosby-less Penguins team and got lit up by Matt Cooke - ouch.

Philly and Detroit back-toback hurt, but you gotta figure the defending President's Trophy Winners could get a split, atleast a point.

We beat the Jackets to open the first road trip of the year, but they're the only team left in the NHL without a win.  We closed out the trip with an impressive win over an energetic Oilers team, and that's been it for the W collumn on the season.

That takes us to last night's blunder.  New York, until recently the only other winless NHL team this season beside Columbus got an early Christmas gift from Luongo Claus.  You can't really blame a goalie for losing a game you never scored in, but when you outshoot the other team 28 to 9 through two periods you can't blame the Canucks for throwing in the towel after they've thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the other net and their star goalie kicks out a fat rebound early in the third to start four straight against.  That famous Luongo rebound control let the air out of the team so fast they couldn't recover - you could cut the tension between the bench and the blue paint with a knife.  Just look at the last goal with three Canucks right in front of the net letting NY walk in and score; they didn't even bother and you could read a lot in to that act.

Kudos to Lou for taking it like a man in the post game interview when asked about the Bronx cheer he received for drifting out of the crease to stop a slowly sliding puck.  He wasn't upset, he didn't pass the buck, he just acknowledged his less than stellar play.  So bad was his game last night that he managed to make his already putrid stats for the year even worse.

Ryan Kesler was a beast in his first game back, and it shows just how important he is to this team.  With Kess our Power Play has bite again, and teams have a hard time matching us 5 on 5 when he's anchoring the second line.  He sure didn't ease back in to the line up either logging over 19 minutes. 

One other positive was Cody Hodgson's play on the second power play unit, also, his budding chemistry on Kesler's wing.  The Canucks obviously played well enough to win, and this wasn't a case of having no finish, you have got to give Henrik Lundqvist all the credit he is due for keeping his team in the game.  That was one of the most impressive regular season performances I have ever witnessed.  He was hung out to dry more often than Ralph Wiggum's bed sheets and he dropped a 0 on a very good team.

After the game I was reading that the Flyer's have at long last called up Brayden Schenn.  First off, how good do the trades they made look now with Voracek and Simmonds combining for 6 points so far this season on a deep offensive team and Sean Couturier making a seemless transition to the NHL.  Just wait until Schenn hits his stride with this young offensive dynamo.  Secondly, when I searched Schenn's AHL stats, 8 points in 4 games, I didn't find any Chicago Wolves players in the top 20...40...60...80???  Don't worry, Darren Haydar and Kevin Doell continue to lead the way for the Nux AHL affiliate with 3 points each.  Jordan Schroeder has one point in four games and is a team worst -4.

Where is the offensive depth in our system?  It's great that we have a glutt of very dependable 4th line/energy players but c'mon - has a single offensive prospect panned out?  Shirokov got dumped for a depth player.  Schroeder looked great in pre-season but has apparently stalled.  Hodgson is a work in progress on the wing and might just cut it. Anton Rodin looks like a reliable depth player.  Could the answer lie in yet another set of Swedish twins, the Westerholms of Malmo? We took an overager in Alexander Grenier with our third pick last year. How 'bout that Patrick White?

All told the Nux took just 3 forwards in the 2009 and 2010 draft total.  I know Nicklas Jensen looks impressive, but he's a few years away in this system...then again, maybe not if CoHo isn't the winger we hope he can become.  What became apparent is the Canucks are stockpiling defensemen and I like the plan.  It makes sense for a team to try to shore up one specific area through the draft and if they have an excess move prospects for help in areas they are lacking, not that the Canucks have a blue-chip d-man waiting in the wings but they have a bevvy of solid options in the AHL right now.  They added a former first rounder in Ryan Parent, Yann Sauve and Kevin Connauton are both 1990 birth years, Seb Erixon dropped 20 points in the Elite League last year and could adjust to the North American game with Chicago and most impressively was the selection of Adam Polasek in the 5th round 2010. The big Czech had good numbers in major junior and is getting a taste of the pro game in the A right now.  You can add to that list Pat McNally, Sawyer Hannay, Frankie Corrado, Henrik Tommernes, Jeremy Price and Peter Andersson all from the past three drafts. 

So, will prospects be packaged for help in the top 6?

Josh and Bri talkin' Nux:

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