Don’t let the Canucks 0-3 exhibition record fool you. Every team at this time of the year is evaluating their players so the lineups will be helter-skelter until half way through the preaseason.
At that stage the teams will settle on their defensive pairings and forward lines barring any injuries.
So far a number of Vancouver Canuck players that are on the “bubble” have not shown anything to warrant a spot on this club. Victor Oreskovich, Joel Perrault, and Sergei Shirokov, all by their own admission suggested just that last night.
The only one of the three that did catch the coach’s attention would have been Shirokov, when he went to the aid of Daniel Sedin who had been kneed by Edmonton Oilers Alexandre Giroux in the third period.
That was a cheap shot and hockey needs to get rid of that type of play which could end a player’s career or injure them severely, or else let the players police that themselves.
Not that the policing took place subsequent to this, with Giroux being 6’3”, 202 lbs. and little Shirokov all of 5’10”, 195 lbs. and not known for his fighting abilities, but at least Shirokov showed up, which was endearing to his team mates and coaches alike.
For that Shirokov deserves an A for trying and fortitude.
Peter Schaefer, a former Canuck (2000/01) focused the spotlight on himself in the third period, by blowing a drop shot underneath the catching glove of Oilers Devan Dubnyk, from just inside Edmonton’s blue-line.
This was on the penalty kill no less and if Schaefer is going to make the ‘Nucks, it would have to be as a PK Specialist.
With Vancouver finishing 18thlast season this is one area that will have to be addressed and Schaefer
Although he was out of hockey last season (NHL), looks like he could help.
He still has the great wheels and his shot still dumbfounds a lot of goalies.
Schaefer and his curvature type stick, which also resembles another player who also used this curve, Brett Hull, is able to create all sorts of end over end, drop shots on the puck. To the goaltender this must look like the equivalent of a baseball’s knuckle-ball.
Another Canucks hopeful Aaron Volpatti, got into a quick scrap with JakeTaylor in the first period and although Volpatti is only 6’1”, 185 lbs. and Taylor 6’4”, 203 lbs., Volpatti looked to get the better of Taylor with his quickness.
Volpatti is a physical player that is going to push Darcy Hordichuk, Tanner Glass, Rick Rypien, and Victor Oreskovich to the limit for a spot.
With Rypien injuring his ribs and expected to be out for 7-10 days, and Hordichuk and Oreskovich not really showing much to date, Volpatti has done enough during the Young Stars Tournament and the exhibition games so far, to get a serious look at a fourth line spot.
Eddie Lack, who was the best player on the ice the other night in Calgary, also continues his strong performance in net. Had he played the whole game instead of just two periods, the ‘Nucks may have well won that contest.
He will not replace Cory Schneider as Roberto Luongo’s backup but watch for a strong season in Manitoba by this up and comer.
I like this Lack kid and need to see if his play continues to improve but I feel his play along the bottom portion of the net is stronger than Schneider’s.
Finally the Canucks have a goaltender to push Schneider and if there are any injuries, than look for Lack to be the first call up.
What a great dilemma to be in this year with all the depth at all positions for the Canucks. No wonder the expectations are so high from both management and the ‘Nucks Nation.
Footnote: I have been asked to write for a new segment on the Vancouver Sun site http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/iceman/default.aspx (still under development, but a search should find me) and with it been a local site for the 'Nucks, my time here on B/R will be cut back.
Thanks to all that have been continuous readers and remember - "We are all Canucks".