Wow, okay. Yeah, I still have this blog here. Good to know.
So, I had a bit of a hiatus there. Apologies, but I’ve got my ducks all in a row, so let’s get back to blogging! Yay!
I guess I should offer up some thoughts on the Canucks, seeing as how we’re already 22 games into the season and one of my goals here is to do some hockey blogging.
I’m sure most people have seen that the Canucks are leading the league in man games lost to injury and yet, despite that, the team is 2 games above .500. What’s even more remarkable is that the Canucks have been without Roberto Luongo and Daniel Sedin for a good chunk of that season. This has been in large part due to the team stepping up when the chips are down and contributing. For example,
Henrik Sedin has managed to step up and explode offensively: he has 13 goals to date and is on pace to hit the 40 goal mark. There have been a number of people who were critical of Mike Gillis over the summer for signing the Sedins to rather pricey contracts, with the argument being made that the twins are only good as a package. As we’ve been seeing, at least with regards to Hank, that is happily not the case.
Andrew Raycroft, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, stepped in for a spell and has looked great in the backup role. How great? He currently has more wins than the beleaguered Toronto Maple Leafs, a team who is on pace to have a worse record than the 1993 Ottawa Senators, a stat made all the more troubling in the era of shootout, which hockey curmudgeons say has been leading to inflated point totals thanks to the ‘loser points.’
One of the biggest keys to the Canucks success so far has been at the hands of Christian Ehrhoff, who is quickly becoming Gillis’ best offseason acquisition so far. Back in the summer, I heard from San Jose fans who praised him for his offensive capabilities, but warned me of his defensive brainfarts. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case, as the ‘Hoff has been playing amazing hockey, tallying goals like it ain’t no thing, being amazing on the penalty kill and being the Canucks best defenseman by far: his +11 rates him as number one on the team, with Willie Mitchell’s +3 being the only dman who plays top minutes coming close to touching him. His defensive brainfarts seem to be a thing of the past, as supported with his +/-, but his scant 10 PIM ties him at number one with Alex Edler for lowest PIM amongst defensive regulars. Paired together, it’s looking like Ehrhoff’s game is really starting to come together.
Other standouts have been Mason Raymond, who is on pace to smash his offensive totals from last season and is finally utilizing his speed in ways other than falling on his butt in the attacking zone, Ryan Kesler, who has been an absolute monster for the Canucks (especially on the PK) and Tanner Glass, who has been really starting to assert himself on the fourth line after a rather ‘meh’ preseason. Michael Grabner, a highly touted prospect who had a poor training camp, fared much better in a callup role before injuring himself in a freak accident.
All in all, this is a Canucks squad that seems to be rolling with the punches thus far this season and hasn’t been forced to rely entirely on Roberto Luongo to steal games for them. Me likey.