Michael Faliszewski: CanucksCorner.com
With the 2010/2011 NHL regular season fast approaching for the Vancouver Canucks, there are several mysteries that need to be solved during training camp. First and foremost this team needs a captain, preferably someone who is not afraid to speak their mind, and who can back their words with solid play. Second, with the injury to Alex Burrows, Vancouver once again needs to find another line mate for the twins. Finally, the few remaining roster spots need to be filled, will they be filled by rookies trying to make a name for themselves, or will the veterans here on a try out basis be able to fill the void? Like all teams at this point of the year, Vancouver does have some questions in their lineup and are looking for answers.
As I am sure all of you know, the Vancouver Canucks recently announced that Roberto Luongo has given up his captaincy. In reality Roberto will continue to be a leader. His voice will be heard on and off the ice. But on the bench and to referees, Roberto was just a player. He couldn’t go and ask why a certain call was made or reassure his teammates on the bench. His presence during games was felt on the ice alone. The extra responsibilities that come with the job title, team captain, also created a distraction on the most mentally challenging position in sports. When one looks at a replacement for Roberto the usual names come to mind, Kesler and Sedin. Mike Gillis was on record saying “ It is ultimately my choice” and I don’t believe this is the best situation for the team. I for one am a huge supporter of having the team vote, because they are the ones who need to listen to the player or players and follow them into the good games and the bad. Certainly I don’t expect for Vancouver to name a captain till either after the preseason or a few weeks into the regular season. Regardless of who wears the “C” it is the players that make a team, not the captain.
It almost seems as if every single year the canucks organization and coaching staff have to find a new player to play with the Sedins. This year, with the injury to Alex Burrows, is no exception. With our second line in tact, do we move Samuelsson up to play with the twins, or find a replacement during training camp? There are pros and cons to both scenarios. Yet history has shown us that Danny and Hank have been most successful when they play with a teammate who is able to create space for them. Raffi Torres seems to fit that build, a player who plays with grit and creates space but also has the hands to finish, but he is a left handed shooter. Maybe they give a young gun like Jordan Schroeder a go? A shorter player who has great vision, puck sense and has a right handed shot. Yet experience will tell us that Samuelsson is the man for the job. Not only has he played with the twins before, but he put up solid numbers and was able to contribute to that line. Unless a front runner is able to out play his teammates, and the Twins and him have some sort of great chemistry expect Vancouver to start Henrik with Daniel and Mikael as his wingers.
Coming into training camp Vancouver has maybe up to five spots that are open for all the players trying out. Its safe to say that barring any injury the defense seems pretty set and that the really only truly open spots on the team can be found in the bottom six. Over the past couple of years this has seemed to be one of Vancouver’s weaker spots. We were either too small, not physical enough or had Steve Bernier. So this year prospects and vets alike have the chance to impress. With several new additions Vancouver has created some competition for the last remaining spots. I expect those who are physical, block shots and play team first hockey will be playing with the big team come October. There is no room for another big body that can’t finish and hit. Simply put the spots are few and the players are many. The competition is fierce and should make some hard hitting entertaining hockey games before October rolls around.
Vancouver has finally put themselves into a situation where they are ready to make a run for the cup. But before the season can start there are some important questions that need to be answered. Once again the importance of training camp and getting off on the right foot is vital for this team. A quick start to the regular season would simply be building for what Canucks fan hope will be a banner year.
CanucksCorner.com welcomes Michael Faliszewski to our blogger roster for the 2010-2011 season. Michael is a 17 year old student from White Rock BC. You can read his articles all season here on CanucksCorner.com