Who Should Be the Canucks Sixth Defenseman, S. O'Brien Or M. Schneider?

Nucks IceMan@nucksiceman@twitter.comCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 05:  Shane O'Brien #55 of the Vancouver Canucks checks Ben Eager #55 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period of Game Three of the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 5, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Written by: Larry "The Nucks IceMan" Johnson

I am puzzled by the fact that Shane O’Brien has been sat out for seven straight games, at the time of this writing. We all know that Mathieu Schneider was brought in to quarterback the power play and not for his defensive play nor toughness.

Sure Schneider has four points on two goals (one power play) and two assists but he is also a minus two , while O’Brien is a plus three with no points. Let’s not forget that O’Brien does not play on the power play and was also providing steady play from his position, before Schneider was inserted into the lineup

Also, O’Brien was brought onto the Nucks to provide tough defensive play and there was no offensive expectation.

Hey Mr. Vigneault, how come the two are not rotated, depending on the style of play they face from the opposition?

Schneider is one dimensional, which is his point shot and his first pass out of the Canucks zone, and the first pass is no better than O’Brien’s. Schneider’s quickness is not what it used to be, but then again he’s 40 years of age. The slimmed down O’Brien did not appear any slower to me.

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Schneider’s slowness seems to be evident in the back to back games, where he is even more prone to giveaways.

Speaking of the giveaways/takeaways ratio, it is pretty close with Schneider at six and five and O’Brien at seven and four. The hits department is very one sided, with O’Brien at 26 and Schneider at eight.

The physical side was never Schneider’s forte and at 5’11" and 192 lbs, is really undersized to handle the likes of the bigger teams forwards, like the Sharks or Blackhawks. Wait till he meets up with Philadelphia!

So Coach, why wasn’t O’Brien playing against the Sharks the other night?

The surprising play of Christian Ehrhoff has made him the number one power play guy that the Canucks were looking for, and with Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo, is there really a need for Schneider except as a seventh defenseman?

In closing, does it make sense for the Canucks to keep Mathieu Schneider and his $2.75 million dollar cap hit, as a specialist?


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