Canucks Finally Get To Play!

johnny-canuckv

By Joe McCormick (@JoeMcCormick19)

Finally! Tomorrow is game day and it couldn’t come soon enough.  There have been a few moves to start the season that you are all likely aware of:

  • Anton Rodin being placed on IR
  • Emerson Etem was put on waivers, with the intention of sending him down to Utica.  The Ducks put a hitch into this plan by claiming the forward.
  • Etem was expendable due to the strong camp by PTO forward Jack Skille, who earned himself a 1 year, $700,000 contract.

So on with the show. There was a storm on twitter when it was announced that the Canucks practice lines on Wednesday were as follows:

Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Loui Eriksson

Brendan Gaunce – Brandon Sutter – Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi – Markus Granlund – Jake Virtanen

Alex Burrows – Bo Horvat – Derek Dorsett

Alex Edler – Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton – Erik Gudbranson

Luca Sbisa – Phillip Larsen

Nikita Tryamkin – Alex Biega

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

On Wednesday everyone eventually just chalked it up to, “Willie juggling the lines and trying new things.” But then the lines never changed at Thursdays practice.  This is when twitter exploded with angry Canucks fans.  How is it that budding young forward like Bo Horvat was relegated to the 4th line with Burrows and Dorsett?  The only somewhat credible reason I heard was that Bo had a slow start last season.  That being said, wouldn’t you want to get him into more games to alleviate that?  Also, I whole-heartedly believe in the sophomore slump that should be over for him.

We’ll just have to see if Willie D’s master plan comes to light. As of Fridays practice, the lines had not changed with the exception that Skille was on the ice as an extra forward.

You can never tell how a season will go from watching preseason games. Alex Edler looked to be a man that is rejuvenated after being left of the Swedish World Cup team.  It seems as though he took offense to that and, hopefully he can carry that fire into the season.  We may just see the Edler we knew before the John Tortorella era.

Tryamkin just looked big. If he is going to be the second coming of Chara, then he has a long way to go with his hockey IQ.

Larsen looked right at home on the powerplay. He worries me though, as I saw him get pushed around pretty easily in our own end.  Perhaps with a steady defense partner in Sbisa to do the heavy lifting, he will be able to concentrate on stick checks and making the first pass out of the zone.

Virtanen played well in limited showings. It’s no secret that he will be on a short leash.

The two guys that impressed me most were Gaunce and Eriksson. Gaunce came into camp in great shape poised to take a job.  His two-way game is impressive and on a line with Sutter and Hansen gives the Canucks an excellent shut down line that has potential to put the puck in the net.  Eriksson didn’t see much preseason action, but from the little I saw, he has a nose for the net and is as skilled as advertised.  He will easily be the most talented player that the Sedins have ever had on they’re right wing.  I would even go as far as making a not-so-bold prediction that, barring an injury, he will be a likely candidate to lead the team in scoring this season.

First game is Saturday, at home against the Flames. A team that will be playing their 3rd game in 4 nights.  Following by a Sunday game against the lowly Carolina Hurricanes.  This will be important to start the season off right with a couple of wins, to what many believe is going to be a long and disappointing season.

Final note, it was announced today that Henrik will once again be wearing the C, with Daniel and Burrows as alternates. No additional players were mentioned to swap the A’s, which leads me to believe Burrows is here to stay for the season.  Now lets drop the puck!

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