Siskel & Ebert
In this section, I get to be the critic. I single out the players that I feel made the most difference on the ice. Thumbs up for the best player and thumbs down for the worst.
I will also give a rating of the Canucks' performance from 1-10.
Several Canucks have been playing exceptionally well of late. They include:
Trevor Linden - since returning to the Vancouver line-up from a 3 year hiatus, Linden has 4 assists and a faceoff percentage well over fifty percent. And to make things even better, the Canucks are 4-1-1 since Linden's return.
Dan Cloutier - during the summer the the only problem most people had with the Canucks was goaltending. Through most of the early part of the season, goaltending was the only thing that wasn't a problem for the Canucks, thanks to Cloutier who has been solid when needed, and many times spectacular. He has three shutouts already this season (that's three times his career record, and one more than the Canucks had all last season) and a miniscule goals-against average and a great big fat save percentage. Cloutier has many Canucks nay-sayers eating their hats. If the season ended today, Cloutier would be named team MVP for the games he kept the team in it, and especially for the ones that he stole.
Trent Klatt - we shall see how well the Canucks do without their stalwort workaholic, Klatt. He is out of the line-up indefinitely due to an abdominal injury, but for the early part of the season, he was the only Canuck besides Cloutier who showed up for some games. Hurry back Klatt!
Justin Kurtz - why was this kid in the minors? He is an amazing defenseman, playmaker, goalscorer and all around player. He has three goals already this season, and if he keeps his play anywhere near this level, he won't be taking any hayrides on the farm anytime soon. The only thing he needs is a better nickname 'cause "the Colonel" ain't gonna cut it.
Todd Bertuzzi - known as a slow starter, it was a good sign when Bert came out of the gates quickly this year. That is why his ten-game suspension was even more of a blow. The Canucks need his size, stamina and strength to be successful, and my, oh my, have they been successful when Bert is on his game. He was a force to be reckoned with during the playoffs last year and carried that intensity into the new season.
Several Canucks have also been playing far below their expectations. They include:
The Sedins - I am sorry for being so blatantly obvious, but something really needs to be done. Daniel and Henrik have entered the Terrible Twos and their second year in the NHL is not turning out nearly as well as either would have liked. The Sedins are masters at cycling the puck, but that doesn't help them score goals. Neither of them will shoot the puck, and when they do, it is such a weak shot that any goalie besides Felix Potvin would be able to stop it. The twins have to learn to get away from the boards and into a good scoring position. They also have to stop being so lazy. How many times have they taken unnecessary penalties for tripping or hooking when all they had to do was expend a little bit more energy to make a good play. Use your heads boys!
Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski - I am only including them here because I want them to stop being boneheads. Jovo has tried to score on his own net twice and Ohlund gave away the puck two feet from the crease the other night against Edmonton, and Cloutier can't keep bailing them out.
Well, I think that is it. I am done ranting for now. If you have any questions or comments, or you think I've made a bad call, email me and let me know.