Most people will tell you the preseason, in any sport really doesn't matter and in a lot of cases they're right. The Vancouver Canucks are another Story.
The Canucks went undefeated in the preseason and have knocked off the Flames in two straight games. The main thing that is important to see, is not the simple fact that they have won 8 of 9 to start the year but how they have done it.
The Canucks made a trade in the early season that by all accounts is of minimal effect but shows to a tee the difference in the Canucks philosophy this year. They traded Krajicek for O'Brien. Two mediocre defenceman and two minor league forwards for each other. Krajicek is a D-man who has offensive potential who is a real slick skater, but gives the puck up way too much, is not physical at all, and really can't play in his own end. O'Brien isn't the offensive guy Krajicek is, but he brings size, toughness and a defensive presence. He will give the puck away quite a bit, but he is not nearly the liability in his own end Krajicek is.
The way the Canucks have played is quite different from the past because they are now punishing other teams, in a way they have not been able to before, all starting with the Flames. O'Brien, Bernier, Ohlund, Pyatt, Mitchell and Bieksa have all stepped up huge in the hitting department. Jannik Hansen starts a fight to defend Roberto Luongo, Bernier fights with Dion Phaneuf after he lays out Henrik and Mitchell drops the gloves with Jarome Iginla, who after a long tilt buckled Mitchell but still was a fairly entertaining fight. Scrums after every whistle and the Canucks looked like they actually had guys on the ice to stand up for the team.
The most promising thing about the Canucks start is they are getting scoring, which was rare last year and getting it from everywhere. Look at the Canucks goal scorers in the first two games: H. Sedin Burrows (2) Ohlund Rypien (2) D Sedin (2) Demitra Kesler Bernier. All three first liners have goals, three goals from the third line, one from the second line, one from the defence and two from the fourth line.
The defence has been solid, the scoring is coming from everywhere, the play has been rough and tough and Luongo, should these positives continue, will be given the chance to lead his team right where they are dying to go, on a deep playoff run.
I know its quite early in the season, but Canucks fans are seeing a new style of play we are not used to that involves, physical play and scoring, and man are we excited.
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