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[Article] Kassian has motivation to move from Canucks project to prime-time player


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Poll: Do you believe Kassian will eventually step into a top six power forward role and excel? (299 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you believe Kassian will eventually step into a top six power forward role and excel?

  1. Yes (218 votes [68.12%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 68.12%

  2. No (27 votes [8.44%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 8.44%

  3. Too early to tell (75 votes [23.44%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 23.44%

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#1 StevenStamkos

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:39 PM

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Kassian has motivation to move from Canucks project to prime-time player

VANCOUVER — The lasting impression Zack Kassian made in Vancouver last NHL season wasn’t good, so it’s encouraging that there’s a bad memory stuck in the big right winger’s brain. When the Canucks were shoved to the sidelines in just five playoff games last spring, Kassian was sitting in the press box instead of the players’ bench.

“I still have a sour taste left in my mouth not playing in the last game,” he said Thursday following an informal skate at UBC that included teammates Manny Malhotra, Dale Weise and Jason Garrison. “I remember those things and I want to prove myself. You’re mad and upset, but at the same time you know if you’re not playing good someone else is going to come in. It’s in the back of my mind and makes me hungry.”

It should because the Canucks have long lacked a true budding power forward.
Mike Gillis believes there’s top-six potential in Kassian and that’s why the Canucks general manager was willing to part with centre Cody Hodgson in a trade-deadline swap with the Buffalo Sabres that has become the latest obsession with onlookers in this hockey-mad market. And because Kassian, 21, managed just three points in 17 games while Hodgson, 22, had but eight points in 20 games following the swap, the microscope is going to focus on the pair. Especially after Hodgson managed 16 goals and 33 points in 63 games before the trade. He’s already got game. Kassian is trying to find his.

“That stuff doesn’t bother me,” Kassian said of the comparison. “It comes with the game and if that bothers you, you’re not going to go too far. We’re different players and I wish him all the best. People are always going to criticize you whether you’re doing good or bad. You can’t really listen to what people are saying outside the rink. My goal is to make my teammates and my coaches happy. I’m prepared to do whatever it takes.”

The trouble with Kassian is that the 2009 first-round draft pick teases and then becomes tentative. In his first game with the Canucks, he played on the fourth line but took first and second-line shifts and finished with five hits in a dozen minutes. Two games later, Kassian was bumped from the fourth to the second line in the third period and responded with a goal and an assist and finished with seven hits against the Sabres. However, he also went pointless in four postseason games, saw his ice time shrink from six to less than four minutes and dished out just five hits in that shocking series loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

Through it all, management has maintained that Kassian is a work in progress. Far removed from 26 goals with the OHL Windsor Spitfires in 2010-11 and 15 goals with the AHL Rochester Americans last season, Kassian needs to make a statement to prove that he’s not just another fourth-line consideration like wingers Aaron Volpatti, Steve Pinizzotto, Guillaume Desbiens and Weise. Noticeably quicker and leaner at 217 pounds, the 6-foot-3 Windsor native is anxious to reward the faith and patience. Sabres coach Lindy Ruff often wondered why Kassian didn’t play tougher more often and wasn’t a stronger presence.

“It’s nice that he [Gillis] believes in you, but I have high expectations and I’m a competitive kid. I don’t want to let anybody down. It makes me very hungry to do that and exceed it. I know they signed a lot of guys, but I’m excited and I like good, healthy competition. I’m looking forward to earning my spot.”

If there’s an NHL lockout Sept. 15, being in the second year of a standard three year, two-way entry-level deal will allow Kassian to play for the AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves. That would present ample ice time and give the Canucks a read on whether an offseason regimen that focused on nutrition, speed and quickness will allow Kassian to take a significant step whether the NHL season starts on time or is curtailed.

“Everything had to get better for me to improve,” admitted Kassian. “Vancouver really helped me and I feel good. I think I can bring a physical and intimidating edge, but at the same time a scoring touch and make plays. Hopefully, I get the opportunity and run with it.”

Professional careers seldom travel a straight line and Kassian hit potholes even before graduating from junior. He was suspended three times in the OHL — including 20 games for a hit to the head in 2010-11 — and was charged with assault in a bar fight on May 30, 2010 in Windsor. The charge was dropped in exchange for community work but Kassian had to work to improve his image. And Vancouver was the perfect landing spot because of the level of accountability within the dressing room and a rampant fan following. In a city where everyone knows your name and your game, Kassian had no choice but to become an consummate pro on and off the ice.

“This is a great spot for me and it’s time for me to prove it,” said Kassian. “It’s an opportunity. Last year was my first pro season and there are a lot of ups and downs. It’s unbelievable here. Any time you play in a Canadian city — and especially Vancouver — it’s crazy. In Buffalo, there is good hockey and good fans but this is a whole different level. That’s fun to be around but you’ve got to do your job and do it every night or you’re going to get criticized.
“I’ve got to be consistent. That separates the good players from the average.”

bkuzma@theprovince.com

twitter.com/benkuzma


Awesome article. I love this kid! He is one of my favourite prospects on the Canucks and I know that with his determination, he will prove to be the player he was projected to be. :towel:

Edited by StevenStamkos, 30 August 2012 - 08:24 PM.

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#2 .Naslund

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:39 PM

He better
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#3 vancanfan

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:45 PM

Good article, I still like the trade and believe one day he will be a strong player for us, in a top 6 role.
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#4 Where's Wellwood

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:52 PM

The way the poll is formatted currently, you can choose all three options. So I did. I'm right no matter what.
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#5 Nino

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:53 PM

I'm not buying it, over rated hype if you ask me. Let the kid go slow, he was not even ready for the forth line last year. Everyone needs to wait and see if he is ready for the NHL next season. The kid may never be ready, he has not shown he can play with the energy he needs to to be a competive player in the NHL.
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#6 Pears

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 06:55 PM

I'm not buying it, over rated hype if you ask me. Let the kid go slow, he was not even ready for the forth line last year. Everyone needs to wait and see if he is ready for the NHL next season. The kid may never be ready, he has not shown he can play with the energy he needs to to be a competive player in the NHL.

That's mainly because AV the genious sticks him on the 4th line.

I think if Kassian isn't ready for a top 6 role this year, he will be for 2013-14.
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#7 Nino

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:01 PM

That's mainly because AV the genious sticks him on the 4th line.

I think if Kassian isn't ready for a top 6 role this year, he will be for 2013-14.


He is a power forward to be, right? If a young power forward can't crack the 4th then he is not ready. It would be another story if he was a small fast skilled player that could not fit the 4th but that's not zack.
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#8 Tearloch7

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:03 PM

Thank you for the article .. if you canna be optimistic about this kid, then you are not a true Canuck fan .. you are a poser wishing for something not attainable .. better cheer for the proven winners in the NHL .. you know .. the team that won last year ..
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#9 Nino

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:07 PM

Thank you for the article .. if you canna be optimistic about this kid, then you are not a true Canuck fan .. you are a poser wishing for something not attainable .. better cheer for the proven winners in the NHL .. you know .. the team that won last year ..


Can you edit this so its readable?

I'm just saying people need to be realistic about him, he has years or development still to come before he is ready for top six. How many power forward type players do you know who jumped into a top six roll on any team much less a PT team? He should be (if he makes the team) on the third or 4th line no more. How long did it take Ryan to crack the second line? Your in for a lot of disappointment if your expectations are too high for him because he has not looked ready yet.

Edited by Nino, 30 August 2012 - 07:16 PM.

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#10 Ghostsof1915

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:18 PM

Here's hoping he is better than Bure....
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#11 Erik Karlsson

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:20 PM

I think he's going to suprise a lot of people this year.
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#12 Peaches

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:21 PM

The way the poll is formatted currently, you can choose all three options. So I did. I'm right no matter what.


Me too :lol:
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#13 gragnanifan1

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:25 PM

he better to good or i dont think he will stick for too long...
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#14 Everybody Hates Raymond

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:26 PM

Honestly think Kassian could be the team captain in 8 or 9 years.
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#15 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:29 PM

'I want that hundred bucks.'

'Well, ya gotta earn it kid.'

'My attitude's right.'
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#16 Garrison

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:31 PM

Thank you for the article .. if you canna be optimistic about this kid, then you are not a true Canuck fan .. you are a poser wishing for something not attainable .. better cheer for the proven winners in the NHL .. you know .. the team that won last year ..


Because you are not high on Kassian means your not a true Canucks fan? That seems rather odd as it is a free country and everyone can have their own opinion and still be a TRUE Canucks fan. It's still to early to tell about Kassian. He disappointed me mightily last season. He didn't hit, score or pass. He didn't know his game anymore. It wasn't his fault though, it was AV's. I would be a lot more high on him if we had a different coach who liked rookies.
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#17 susraiders

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:41 PM

I don't see him becoming a top 6 power forward, but he will become a solid 3rd liner.
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#18 chrisbanks

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:01 PM

for a guy that is supposed to be our muscle i gave up all hope when he hurt his shoulder bumping a guy in the slot near the end of last season not hitting but bumping....
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#19 RyanKeslord17

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:27 PM

Honestly think Kassian could be the team captain in 8 or 9 years.


Now I like your optimism, don't get me wrong, but holy frackin pipe dream
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#20 vancanfan

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:36 PM

Because you are not high on Kassian means your not a true Canucks fan? That seems rather odd as it is a free country and everyone can have their own opinion and still be a TRUE Canucks fan. It's still to early to tell about Kassian. He disappointed me mightily last season. He didn't hit, score or pass. He didn't know his game anymore. It wasn't his fault though, it was AV's. I would be a lot more high on him if we had a different coach who liked rookies.


Just because he did not look like he fit in right after the trade doesn't mean all that much, he needs a full season under the Nucks system to find his groove imo
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#21 Canuck Surfer

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:36 PM

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Even as one of the more ardent critics of this trade; I have always maintained I would cheer for Kassian and be objective.

This article is great; he is saying the right things and by all reports putting in the necessary work! Well done Zack!

My fave items to quote from the article;

- “I still have a sour taste left in my mouth not playing in the last game,” . “I remember those things and I want to prove myself.

I absolutely love the accountability! It reminds me of Hank blaming himself for not scoring enough in the SCF, then showing up with the highest VO2 score on the team. Zack has also been reported to be working his arse off!

- “Vancouver really helped me and I feel good. I think I can bring a physical and intimidating edge, but at the same time a scoring touch and make plays

This is certainly the player we want; a man who understands his role!

- “This is a great spot for me and it’s time for me to prove it,” said Kassian. “It’s an opportunity. Last year was my first pro season and there are a lot of ups and downs. It’s unbelievable here. Any time you play in a Canadian city — and especially Vancouver — it’s crazy. In Buffalo, there is good hockey and good fans but this is a whole different level!

And here he is relishing, not shying from the pressure!

I also liked him wishing Hodgson well!

I am becoming a fan!

:towel:

Awesome article. I love this kid! He is one of my favourite prospects on the Canucks and I know that with his determination, he will prove to be the player he was projected to be. :towel:


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#22 Nino

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 08:42 PM

Just because he did not look like he fit in right after the trade doesn't mean all that much, he needs a full season under the Nucks system to find his groove imo


This may be true and it may not be. He may never find his "groove". He may be good or he may be one of the countless others that had expectations they could not meet. Let's see if he can make the team first, then see if he can play on the third and not get your head in the clouds. As of now there is nothing great about him other then hype.
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#23 dorrcoq

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:12 PM

I'm not buying it, over rated hype if you ask me. Let the kid go slow, he was not even ready for the forth line last year. Everyone needs to wait and see if he is ready for the NHL next season. The kid may never be ready, he has not shown he can play with the energy he needs to to be a competive player in the NHL.


And you can't spell "fourth". Or "competitive".
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#24 dorrcoq

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:14 PM

he better to good or i dont think he will stick for too long...


Sort of like Gragnani, you mean?
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#25 rawkdrummer

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:15 PM

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He'll be better this year and that fact is no other Canuck has the size, mean streak, skill and will to be a "Lucic" type player for this team. I think it won't be long before he eats Coho for breakfast and then looks for lunch. Those who think Kassian should have done all that in his rookie season need a serious HEAD SHAKE!

Edited by rawkdrummer, 30 August 2012 - 09:16 PM.

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#26 CanucksFanMike

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:26 PM

If Doan doesn't sign here Kassian will have every chance to start the season in the top six.... if he can put up some points he would be the perfect power forward to play with Booth and Kesler.
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#27 Nino

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:27 PM

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And you can't spell "fourth". Or "competitive".


Spelling has never been one of my highlights. I can accept it you should as well. Although in my defense sometimes you just push the wrong dam buttons on the iPhone. I have to ask you this, is this Canucks talk? If not why are you talking about it and why is it important to you? I can just see you in the kitchen asking yourself over and over "did I line the spoons up right?
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#28 Gollumpus

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:51 PM

If Kassian gets a regular shift in the top-6 it because:
1.) Doan isn't here (ie. he didn't sign or was not in the line up for some reason);
2.) a (top-6) right winger wasn't sent here in the assumed Luongo deal;
3.) some other UFA/traded player/prospect out-plays him.

I'd be happy if Kassian got regular 3rd line minutes. Anything lower and I'd be inclined to put him in the AHL where he could get more ice time to work on his game. Further, I believe that if Kassian is on the third line then there's got to be a pretty good guy playing ahead of him.,,, cue the "yeah, he'll be playing behind Raymond" comments.

regards,
G.

Edited by Gollumpus, 31 August 2012 - 05:52 AM.

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Following the Canucks since before Don Cherry played here.

#29 Tangerines

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:09 PM

Good attitude on this kid.. Hope he can put it all together..
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#30 canuck cole

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 10:18 PM

I swear if he doesn't get 200+ points starting next season we are never winning the cup.
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