<table width=90% align=center><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Wayne Gretzky once said, "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."
I feel the same way about bloggers. Only replace the word "puck" with "story", and the term "hockey player" with "blogger." Actually, that doesn't make much sense at all. I suppose what I'm attempting to say is that I'm going to write a bit about the upcoming season. In retrospect, that Gretzky quote probably could have been cut out entirely. If only my keyboard had a backspace key (word of advice, a computer manufactured by Canadian Tire isn't as great as it sounds).
I have been a Canuck fan for a long time. I'm reminded of this fact every time I dust off the old "Downhill Skate" jersey I received for my tenth birthday and try it on (and as of late, the word "try" being the operative word). The once-billowy fabric stretches across my skin like a size-too-small wet suit, leaving very little to the imagination. Let's just say that my ever increasing man *ahem* chest has me legitimately concerned that I might be "discovered" by a beer company the next time I go to a Lions game.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/07/jul2307_luongo10_t.jpg border=0 align=right>I guess the point I'm driving towards is that in all of those years of being a fan, I've never been as excited for the hockey season to start as I am this year. Sure, I have Kevin Weekes' face tattooed on my back along with the phrase "Goaltender of the Future", but I really think that this year's incarnation of excitement is warranted.
Instead of hoping for a goaltender to deliver the goods at some unspecified date, the Canucks have one in Roberto Luongo, whose only weakness seems to be the coffee and bran muffin buffet in the bowels (wrong word?) of Anaheim's Honda Center. Within the confines of a little patch of blue ice, the Canucks lay claim to something very few teams can: a goaltender with the ability to win a game on his own. I could easily write a fairly long piece about my feelings on Luongo, but it would be mostly comprised of a list outlining why I think he’s “the bestest.”
In front of Luongo, the defence will be deep when they’re healthy. Of course, as I’m writing this, 2007 draft pick Taylor Ellington is penciled in at the 3 spot. Chris Levesque’s brother, Ralph, is in at the 4 spot. Slight exaggeration, maybe, but by my count, a good portion (Salo, Ohlund, Bieksa, and Miller) of the D corps are currently injured or have question marks surrounding their health heading into the season. Knock on wood, because if this group is together and healthy for an extended period of time, they’ll be something to behold.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/07/jul3007_sedin03_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>If there is a greater question mark on the team, it surely lies within the group of forwards. Daniel and Henrik Sedin are almost a given to produce. Wonder Twin powers, activate! Form of...a cliched reference! Stick a mop on their line, and it’ll pot enough goals to rival the likes of Anson Carter (and match the hairstyle to boot). The rest, however, are a little bit harder to pin down, especially considering that there seems to be someone missing. Will that spot be filled by someone from within the ranks? Or does Nonis intend to make another splash on the trade front? There are certainly a couple of standouts at camp that are getting their fair share of attention. Jannik Hansen and Mayson Raymond (not to mention Juraj Simek) certainly deserve a look, but it might be a little presumptuous to assume that a prospect can step into the top 6 and make an impact. Of course, such presumptions are rare in Vancouver, as former prospective-forty goal scorer Jesse Schultz can attest. As far as the trade market goes, my sources* tell me that Nonis is close to landing a power-forward from out East.
So there it is, my woefully incomplete look towards the season ahead. I don't know if I can go so far as to predict that my Canucks will claim hockey's most cherished trophy, but I will say that (almost) all of the ingredients are there. And they better be, because my tattoo of Roberto Luongo holding the Cup would look awfully silly if it "popped out" at a Lions game.
*Sources may not actually, you know, exist.</td></tr></table>