I’ve got to admit that when I heard the news this morning that Manny Malhotra would be lost for the regular season and playoffs due to his eye injury, I began a mini-panic. Weird that a season ending injury to a 30-35 point scorer could cause such angst, but anybody that has followed this team closely knows why.
Malhotra brought a lot of intangibles to this Canucks team, the type of intangibles that help a team win a Stanley Cup. Aside from his mild offensive output, he was one of their top penalty killers, one of the best in the league at faceoffs, and brought leadership to the dressing room. Now Canucks fans have to hope that he will be able to regain his vision for the sake of his life, nevermind his career.
With Malhotra officially done for the season, what next? There’s now an opening in the middle on the third line and it appears Maxim Lapierre will get the first crack at it. Lapierre is a natural centre, but might not be the answer. Other options would be to play the more talented Chris Higgins or Mason Raymond in the middle, although their experience at centre is limited.
Alex Bolduc has been called up from Manitoba, so perhaps he gets another chance on the 4th line but it’s another centreman from the Moose that has me intrigued. What about Cody Hodgson? I have been fairly critical of the Canucks forcing Hodgson into a 4th line role earlier this season, but this could be the perfect opportunity. Hodgson is a two-way centre with lots of offensive upside. He’s not exactly putting up eye popping numbers with Manitoba this year (27 points in 45 games), but they are respectable.
In my mind, Hodgson has the most potential to adequately replace Malhotra, albeit in different way. The Canucks should give Hodgson another chance and see what he can do. It’s by no means a slam dunk, and the more realistic option will probably be to hope that Maxim Lapierre can prove he belongs on the 3rd line.
Can it be done?
Can the Canucks win without Manny Malhotra? Of course they can, but it won’t be easy. With that said, there are a few examples of teams losing key members for long periods of time in the playoffs and still going on to win the Stanley Cup:
- The Chicago Blackhawks lost one of their top 5 defensemen, Kim Johnsson, for the entire playoffs last year but still went on to win the Stanley Cup.
- In 2006, Erik Cole had 30 goals in 60 games while playing on the Carolina Hurricanes’ top line. He suffered a serious injury at the hands of Brooks Orpik which kept him out for all but the final two playoff games. Despite this, the Hurricanes still managed to win the Stanley Cup.
- Perhaps the best example of a team winning despite an injury, was in 2001 when Peter Forsberg missed the conference finals and Stanley Cup finals, yet the Colorado Avalanche still managed to win it all.
So what’s the moral of the story? If you’re a good enough team, you can overcome an injury to a player like Manny Malhotra. The Canucks will need someone to step up in the 3rd line centre position, combined with excellence in other areas. Of course, on top of that they’ll need to get the bounces and try to limit further injuries, but that’s what makes the Stanley Cup the hardest trophy in all of professional sports to win.
It’s been seven days since our last posting on Canuckz.com, and if you’re wondering if this is because we’re getting fat and sassy after our Canuck Nation post was featured in Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, you may be right. Binh and I have spent the last week counting our money and collecting accolades from the blogging community.
Tuesday’s win against the Phoenix Coyotes gave the Vancouver Canucks a perfect 3-for-3 record on their California/Arizona road trip and Canuck Nation couldn’t be happier. On Sunday I told you about the Canuck invasion in Los Angeles and Anaheim, and others have taken note. We were fortunate to have our article featured in Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog, which gave this story league-wide attention. Even JT the Brick (who has a nationally syndicated radio show in the US) talked about this big influx of Canucks fans at the Staples Center and Honda Center over the weekend… and those kinds of shows NEVER talk about hockey. On Thursday, the Canucks will try to make the road trip a perfect 4-for-4 and you know Canuck Nation will be there too.
The Canucks just completed a southern California sweep against the Kings and Ducks, winning both games in impressive fashion. They played two desperate teams, played them tough and fought through tight checking and a lot of physical play to get a pair of wins. What’s more impressive though, is the fan support from Canuck nation in both games!
Just when you thought the trade deadline was going to pass with Canucks general manager Mike Gillis doing nothing, he pulled off a pair of deals. The Canucks sent Evan Oberg and a 3rd round pick to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Chris Higgins. Gillis also acquired Maxim Lapierre and minor leaguer MacGregor Sharp (part of the all-name team) from the Anaheim Ducks for Joel Perreault and a 2013 3rd round pick.
We’re now less than 24 hours away from the NHL trade deadline (the deadline is at noon on Monday) and there are plenty of rumours going around. The latest has the Canucks interested in Marty Reasoner. I first brought up this idea 11 days ago, and it’s nice to see that it looks like Mike Gillis has listened. Matthew Sekeres reported that the Canucks have indeed inquired about Reasoner, but he and the Panthers are talking about a contract extension. Sekeres also offered up this tidbit, that the Canucks tried to acquire Reasoner at last year’s trade deadline, but the Thrashers (his team at the time) wanted a 2nd round draft pick for him.
Not the biggest Luongo fan but even I gotta admit he’s been great (and more importantly consistent) for the best team in the league! Let’s hope he can step it up in the playoffs!
2 versions for you to pick from… click to open the full sized images.
It looks like the Canucks scouting staff was working overtime last night. Ben Kuzma (better known as “the Kooz”) reports that Canucks scouts have been spotted at the Atlanta-Buffalo and Florida-Ottawa games last evening. Edmonton broadcaster Dan Tencer also reported that Canucks scouts were at the Edmonton-Colorado game as well. At this time of year it probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Canucks are looking at a potential trade and they do have a few areas that they could improve in.
So what does this mean? RUMOUR TIME!
Roberto Luongo will debut a new mask tonight against the Montreal Canadiens at Rogers Arena. To the best of my knowledge he owns the franchise record for most masks worn in a career. There’s been a lot of them. Lets revisit them…
Luongo joined the team in 2006-07 when the team was still wearing their old uniforms and wore this mask:
This one is my personal favourite. I know it’s a bit like an homage to the Vancouver Grizzlies, but there’s a lot to like. The team changed its colours the following year and Luongo changed his mask completely.
Also during Luongo’s first year, he wore this vintage style mask for when the team wore their vintage jerseys. It’s been seen now and again ever since:
And since then? Well it’s been a parade of different masks, and even changes to masks. He added a blue C to his masks when he was named captain, then changed the colour to white. Since Henrik became captain, he of course removed the C, and replaced it with the 40th anniversary logo. Here’s a sampling.
There was the mystery mask, which we rarely ever saw:
Johnny Canuck was featured prominently on this mask, but he has gone away with it this year ,probably for superstitious reasons (yes, he’s very superstitious):
Similar to it, Johnny Canuck, Olympic edition:
This year Luongo has gone primarily with this vintage look:
By my count this new mask will mark at least the fifth major mask change in five seasons with the Canucks. Of course, it still comes nowhere near the best mask in franchise history, that honour goes to Gary Bromley:
Now that’s a mask.
The Vancouver Canucks played tonight’s game in Nashville without Alex Edler, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Ballard, Andrew Alberts and, as we found out this morning, Kevin Bieksa. That’s 5 of their top 7 defencemen out of the lineup. To make matters worse, minor leaguer Lee Sweatt broke his foot in practice. Even the Manitoba Moose have injury troubles on the blueline, with Nolan Baumgartner suffering an injury last week. He might have been one of the recent call-ups.
Recent PostsPopular Posts
- “Dale Weise can’t find his helmet” – NHL Revealed is going to be awesome December 7, 2013 54630 comments%22Dale+Weise+can%27t+find+his+helmet%22+-+NHL+Revealed+is+going+to+be+awesome2013-12-07+22%3A32%3A52Rob+Williamshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robthehockeyguy.com%2F%3Fp%3D5463
- Canucks Prospect Round-up: Gaunce, Corrado, Grenier & Tommernes December 5, 2013 54270 commentsCanucks+Prospect+Round-up%3A+Gaunce%2C+Corrado%2C+Grenier+%26+Tommernes2013-12-06+03%3A53%3A50Ryan+Biechhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robthehockeyguy.com%2F%3Fp%3D5427
- Canucks vs Coyotes Game Preview – December 6, 2013 December 5, 2013 54420 commentsCanucks+vs+Coyotes+Game+Preview+-+December+6%2C+20132013-12-06+03%3A52%3A05Ian+Lusherhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robthehockeyguy.com%2F%3Fp%3D5442
- The Canucks power play, beyond the numbers December 5, 2013 54240 commentsThe+Canucks+power+play%2C+beyond+the+numbers2013-12-05+23%3A26%3A21J.D.+Burkehttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robthehockeyguy.com%2F%3Fp%3D5424
- An unbiased review of the Bro Jake Show on Team 1040 September 11, 2013 437376 commentsAn+unbiased+review+of+the+Bro+Jake+Show+on+Team+10402013-09-11+07%3A13%3A37Rob+Williamshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robthehockeyguy.com%2F%3Fp%3D4373
- Ryan Kesler December 2009 Calendar Wallpaper!!! November 30, 2009 77324 commentsRyan+Kesler+December+2009+Calendar+Wallpaper%21%21%212009-11-30+10%3A12%3A02Binh+Hohttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.canuckz.com%2F%3Fp%3D773
- Canucks fans boo Mike Gillis, ignore reality November 6, 2013 491321 commentsCanucks+fans+boo+Mike+Gillis%2C+ignore+reality2013-11-07+07%3A36%3A34Rob+Williamshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.robthehockeyguy.com%2F%3Fp%3D4913
- Bieksa to Columbus? Got to Love Offseason Rumours July 2, 2010 169120 commentsBieksa+to+Columbus%3F+Got+to+Love+Offseason+Rumours2010-07-02+19%3A17%3A52Rob+Williamshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.canuckz.com%2F%3Fp%3D1691