Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts After Two Games

The most noticeable aspect of the 2008-09 edition of the Vancouver Canucks is the new found emphasis on going to the net. I don't know if this has to do with the new "grittier" personnel on the ice, a stronger emphasis from the coaching staff, or a combination of the two. Whichever it is, it is certainly encouraging to see. Too many times in the past this team has been purely a perimeter team. It is no secret that this team has offensive challenges, hopefully this new attitude can help alleviate some of those challenges.

Cory Schneider had an outstanding game in Edmonton, clearly demonstrating that he is one of the organizations strongest assets. Schneider is set for a full season in Manitoba, but don't be surprised if he makes an appearance in the second half of the season should the Canucks confidence in Sanford waiver.

It's exciting to see some depth down the middle. Obviously the Canucks cannot keep every centre who has appeared in the first two games on the roster, but if they somehow manage to sneak a Krog or Wellwood down to Manitoba they will be well prepared should any injuries strike down the middle.

Rob Davison will bring some much needed size and grit to the backend. Don't be surprised if he beats out Lukas Krajicek for #6 ice-time.

The arrival of Darcy Hordichuk means that Jeff Cowan's days could be numbered, however Cowan has responded well to the challenge. There's a chance he can put his injury riddled 07-08 season behind him and maybe re-emerge as the "Brabarian".

Jannik Hansen is going to get a very long look for the rest of the pre-season.

Kyle Wellwood has been a dissapointment so far, although that's not really a surprise. He is really going to have to step it up if he wants to stick. Can the Canucks afford to keep him around as a 13th forward, power play/shootout sepecialist? Last year I may have said yes, but with the depth and versatility of this year's roster Wellwood is going to have to demonstrate that he can take a regular shift without being a liability defensively. In his lone game so far we saw the offensive talent, but we also saw that he gets beat too easily in any sort of battle for the puck or even positioning. Throw in his questionable conditioning and it appears Wellwood will have to really be productive if he wants a job.

Pierre-Cedric Labrie is BIG. If he can improve upon his skating he may have a future in the NHL.

Cody Hodgson did not look out of place at all. I really liked how he moved the puck, especially on the backhand(both passing and shooting). I'm excited to see how he does in the rest of the season, he may have a chance to get into some regular season action before he must be returned to Junior.

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