The Vancouver Canucks have announced that Nolan Baumgartner will be an assistant coach of the Chicago Wolves. Baumgartner will join newly appointed head coach Scott Arniel behind the bench next season.
The Vancouver Canucks will play 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.
The so-called “parity” of the salary cap era is on display, as the three top seeds are now eliminated in the East. But what about the parity between the West and the East? It seems as though the only strong team remaining in the East is the Pittsburgh Penguins and compared to their counterparts in the West; San Jose, Chicago, Detroit and Vancouver, they look overmatched.
The advice the Canucks could use can be summed up in five words: stay out of the box. Vancouver gave up six man advantages on Saturday night, which isn’t a lot, but that’s not the point. The point is the types of penalties they’re giving up right now: dumb penalties. Look no further than Shane O’Brien’s stupid penalty midway through the 2nd period last night. With the Canucks up 2-0, O’Brien got his arm up into the face of the Kings player to take an obvious roughing call. The puck had already been played out of the area and O’Brien didn’t hit him very hard. The Kings scored on that power play and the Canucks lost the game, which magnified the blunder.
Both have been keeping me up at night. Thankfully, Sami Salo is taking tonight off against the San Jose Sharks. The underrated Nolan Baumgartner will fill-in in his place. Did you know that ‘Baumer’ is a career +22 in 97 career games in a Canucks uniform? He’s played in ten games this season and has been a minus player only once. So this is a good move for the oft-injured Salo. Every time he goes into the corner to retrieve a puck I’m worried that he’s going to get injured. The “new Mitchell” has stepped up his game this year, and in my estimation has been the team’s best d-man this season. He’s also been remarkably healthy, which can only mean one thing: he’s due. A Sami Salo injury, combined with Willie Mitchell’s injury, could cause the Canucks to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs.