Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
There’s not much to this case that you have not heard or seen already. I’m speaking of course about the Stanley Cup finals in which the Canucks were whittled down to a skeleton crew of walking, or should I say – skating wounded on defense and offense.
By the time Game Seven rolled around, the Canucks were once again down to a one line team with even Henrik Sedin moving like Long John Silver.
The defense, oh yes the defense – I bring before you the evidence which I plan to present Your Honour.
- Dan Hamhuis – out after Game Two with a lower body injury
- Christian Ehrhoff – shoulder which made him even more tentative with the puck
- Alex Edler – two broken fingers and could hardly grip his stick
- Andrew Alberts – skating gingerly on a bad knee which limited his mobility even more
- Aaron Rome – suspended
The D was left with Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo, rookie Chris Tanev and Keith Ballard who was a healthy scratch. I’m surprised they didn’t skate on the ice wearing the Red Cross insignia on their jerseys.
In the off-season Ehrhoff left for the pasture that was truly greener, signing a 10 year contract with the Buffalo Sabres worth $40 million. At least I know where his heart was but hockey is a business so grab the money and run.
Will the Canucks miss his 50 points on 14G, 36A and 6 PPG’s? No, I don’t think so, because anyone that plays the point on the power play with the Sedins is sure to gather those types of stats.
The other thing the Canucks won’t miss is Ehrhoff’s team leading giveaways for the past two seasons, or his last place in the Hits category.
Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Sami Salo (if healthy) can all make up Ehrhoff’s numbers, even if Bieksa and Salo compile them as a unit. I would have to say that Edler is the most logical to collect more than 50 points.
Alex, before he got injured, was on pace for a career year and even though he only played in 51 games, he rang up 33 points on 8G, 25A with 5 PP goals. If you extrapolate those numbers, it comes out to at least 53 points, with 60 not being unreasonable.
Bieksa, with a little more power play time, might be able to reach his 40 point mark again and Salo could add another 25 to 30 points, if he ever played at least three quarters of a season.
Throw in Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard, who both played the power play on their previous teams, and I’m definitely saying the Canucks WILL NOT miss Ehrhoff.
As for the offense, I get a chuckle every time I hear Mike Gillis or one of the Canuck players speak about team toughness. They must have being brainwashed into this mantra because for the past three play-offs with the Hawks and now the Bruins, it has been proven that the Canucks are not team tough.
Show me where the Canucks have a Milan Lucic type of tough forward that scores 30 goals with 121 PIM? How about Nathan Horton, another power forward with 26 goals or Brad Marchand, a pest of a player with 21 goals that bullied the Sedins at will?
Add Shawn Horton into the mix, who seemed to turn around the series with his insertion and … well I think you get my point.
So in conclusion Your Honour, my client the Vancouver Canucks, did not or could not stand up to defend themselves during the Stanley Cup final.
The defense rests.
Footnotes: On-ice practice sessions are open to the public at Rogers Arena on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. each day. Canucks fans planning to attend are encouraged to visit canucks.com/maincamp to register and confirm their attendance.
Players will be split into two on-ice practice groups with the first session starting at 9:00 a.m., followed by a second on-ice session at 11:30 a.m. Please note rosters and schedules are subject to change.
DATE TIME LOCATION EVENT
Sept. 17-18 9:00 a.m. Rogers Arena Veterans On-Ice (first group)
11:30 a.m. Rogers Arena Veterans On-Ice (second group)Photo
Credits – AP, Getty Images, Google Images and Yahoo Sports!
Video Credits - YouTube
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