Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
As everyone that follows the Vancouver Canucks knows, there are a number of prospects, including several number one draft choices, playing in Manitoba for the Moose.
This past weekend the Moose won both games against the Rochester Americans 3-2 and 6-2. Manitoba is currently tied for second place in the North Division, five points behind the Abbotsford Heat.
Who’s Hot? – Still continuing on a goal scoring binge is Cody Hodgson who has six goals in his last four games. His point streak is six games and totals seven goals and three assists. Asked about his recent hot streak “That’s not the thing I’m focused on here,” said Hodgson, who had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Rochester Americans. “I’m just trying to get better every day.”Hodgson looks like a player of the week nominee.
It’s no coincidence that Bill Sweatt and Sergei Shirokov are also on a tear since they were paired up with Hodgson. Sweatt has pumped his stats up to 3G, 6A and Shirokov is tied with Hodgson with 13 points on 5G, 8A. Good players make other players around them even better.
Just ask how much Chris Tanev appreciates playing with Hodgson, as he was the beneficiary of a Hodgson soft pass right on to his stick, while in full stride. Tanev deked backhand-to-forehand and deposited the puck past Rochesters’ goalie Markstrom for his first professional goal.
Since being sent down from the Canucks, Jeff Tambellini is determined to make it back up with the big club and is proving why. Five points (4G, 1A) in five game. Not only that, he has shaken centre Joel Perrault out of his six game slump who himself collected a couple of assists on the weekend.
Eddie Lack continues to impress with his stellar play (5W, 3L). Three wins in his last three games and he continues to lower his GAA to 2.37 and raise his save percentage (.913). Not much more I can add to what I already wrote when I first saw him play in the Young Stars Tournament and pre-season.
The Moose are blessed with having two good young goaltenders and sometimes Tyler Weiman gets over looked. Not so, says Moose Coach Claude Noel. This young man has played very well and his 4W, 2L, 1SL, that go along with a .902 save percentage and 2.67 GAA support that.
Kevin Connauton – still the top D-man leading with 3G, 5A. Watched some replays of him scoring from the point. I can see why his shot was rated the hardest in the WHL last season. Man can he fire that puck!
Moose Fans – If the attendance at MTS Centre is any indication through six home games this year, then the NHL should be thinking about what attendance would look like with a new NHL size arena.
The Moose rank as the second busiest AHL building with an average of 7,888 fans per game. Granted that’s not a large number compared to NHL type attendance figures, but it’s probably higher on most nights then any of Phoenix, New York (Islanders), Atlanta or Florida.
This past Saturday the Moose had over 9,000 in attendance for the game against the Rochester Americans.
Even the lowest Moose game attendance this season ranks higher than the average attendance of 27 other teams in the AHL.
Who’s Tepid? – Jordan Schroeder – after cooling off for a long stretch with only five assists, he finally scored his first goal in 13 games. Schroeder has struggled at times but head coach Claude Noel has seen some progress. As Noel stated “Jordan has continually gotten better”. “He’s slowly recognizing that you’re going to have to get to the areas and in order to be effective, you’re going to have to dig for loose pucks”.
That concludes my report from Manitoba on the Canucks prospects, but check back in next week and during the week on @twitter.com/nucksiceman.com for updates.
As always, you can also find me at @slapshot.com and @communities.canada.com/VANCOUVERSUN/blogs/fanattic/default.aspx
Filed under: Opinion