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van_can_man

Ryan Kesler Discussion

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The best news for the Canucks at UBC wasn't Zack Kassian's toothless grin, or Cory Schneider's confidence.

It wasn't even the Sedins brushing off a poke from Alain Vigneault.

The coach essentially said he liked Kassian and that's about it from his top line. He said he needs more from his twin stars. And he's right.

"He's called us worse than that, so it's not a problem," Henrik said.

"We know we have to be better." The best news, actually, was on the ice with the university team, not the Canucks.

There Ryan Kesler took line rushes and even a couple of controlled slap shots. He still seems weeks away from playing. But it's a start.

If you were wondering how much Kesler has been missed, the answer is a lot.

Without him, the Canucks have blown leads in each of their first three games. They had given up the most power-play goals (five) in the NHL, as of Thursday. They have Alex Burrows playing centre, and they failed to get a scoring chance in the second half of the game against the Flames. Yes, that team from Calgary with Jay Bouwmeester.

Without Kesler, the Canucks are missing speed, a shutdown centre and a lead dog on their power play.

And it's all slapped some significant pressure directly on the Sedin twins, who are trying to balance it all while awkwardly finding their footing in a bizarre, shortened season.

"We have to be sharper when we get those chances," Henrik explained.

"We're still trying to find a little bit more rhythm and get to the open ice to make the plays that we know we can.

"But it's not as bad as it looks sometimes."

The Sedins had a couple of terrific shifts Wednesday. One even whipped up the often staid crowd in Rogers Arena, as the twins pinned the Flames for a minute and a half. But they couldn't sustain it.

A Canucks team with the rep for taking over games late wilted instead. The Sedins, having not played during the lockout, struggled to give-and-go their way to the net.

When it came time to push back for the final 20 minutes and overtime, the Sedins had none. They looked out of gas, and needed Kassian to drag them to the finish line.

"I don't think (we were out of gas). I think we made the wrong plays," Henrik said. "We stopped doing the things we have to do. Getting the pucks deep and keeping our shifts shorter, that is a big thing too.

"We're staying on the ice an extra 10-15 seconds when they are changing. All of a sudden, they get the puck and we're on there for another 10-15 seconds. It makes us look tired as a team.

"We need a push back. We need to show we're a better team. (Calgary) took over the game in the third and that can't happen."

It's possible Kesler could be skating with the Canucks in a week.

But banking on him to be in the lineup anytime soon would be like counting on Kassian to maintain the level of play he showcased against the Flames.

Oh, that was tantalizing. The kid is a throwback. His face looks peeled from a 1970s hockey card. He has the wild, curly hair, a body that resembles a large river rock and an unshaven face.

"It's like he just stepped in from Slapshot," Henrik joked.

He's the type of player the Canucks haven't had in years, and one they weren't convinced they needed until they got manhandled by the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

"I think every team needs a guy like that," Daniel said.

"And they're hard to come by. I think we're lucky to have him. He's still young and he's only played a few games so I don't think we should ask too much of him. He's shown what he can do and if he can show up and play close to that on a lot of nights, we're going to be happy."

Kassian is the team's youngest player and it shows. He's full of awe and questions.

"He wants to know what's going on," Daniel said. "It's a lot of fun to be around him. I'm surprised he's showed so much confidence and poise with the puck."

What was most remarkable was the way Kassian created offence on his own. His goal was unassisted, and in maybe his most impressive play of the night, he shook off two defenders along the wall, before getting a wicked backhand shot on goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

We may not see a game like it from Kassian for weeks. You do wonder how it would look if ever played like that and the Sedins were on top of their game.

But how long is that going to take? "I think we've been playing better every game, which is a good sign," Daniel said. "We'll be better."

CANUCKS GAME DAY

Vancouver Canucks

Anaheim Ducks

7 p.m. The Honda

Center SNP

twitter.com/@botchford

© Copyright © The Province

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Zack+track+this+season/7871469/story.html#ixzz2Iz2fAB1G

Source - http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Zack+track+this+season/7871469/story.html

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"He still seems weeks away from playing". That there tells me he's not "near return", he's merely getting closer. There is a difference.

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"He still seems weeks away from playing". That there tells me he's not "near return", he's merely getting closer. There is a difference.

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sentences edited out:

"It Wasn't Even The Canucks Taking A Poke From Jason Botchford."

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We really could use kesler and booth back but I'm hoping we can hold down the fort for now and when they get back use that to our advantage to blow away the competition and show why we're a cup contender. It's good to see the possibility of Kesler skating with the team soon, I hope booth is able too soon as well.

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I don't understand the OP's use of the word "near" Maybe in terms of where he was last year he's "nearer"

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I understand everyones rusty including the Sedins, but Daniel has 4 points which in a full season is on pace for just over 100 points. I know its a small sample size, but the twins aren`t one of the problems with this team right now, in my opinion.

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Honestly when I saw the title "near return" I was quite worried. I don't want Kesler rushing back to play if he isn't fully well yet. Glad they are still saying a few weeks. We do definitely miss him but I'd rather have him back at 100% than 50%.

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Still think Booth will be back before Kesler. Now, the Canucks need to find their game... so when he comes back he doesn't have to carry the team like he had to in the playoffs. Kassian showed some promise, The first line needs to build off that and give him some confidence so that he can play like this night in and night out.

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sentences edited out:

"It Wasn't Even The Canucks Taking A Poke From Jason Botchford."

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But banking on him to be in the lineup anytime soon would be like....

Please make sure you don't mislead people when starting new threads....this is an example of that. (I'm editing the title, partly because it's Kesler, not Kelser).

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This. We don't want him rushing back and re-injuring himself yet again. If we can make the playoffs without him, it would be to our benefit to hold him out until then so he actually goes into the playoffs healthy for once.

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I hope Kesler's break has him reassessing his play last year. He really improved his shot the year before, and had great success, but last year he relied entirely on his shot, and mostly ignored his wingmen. This made the second line very ineffective, and much easier for their opponents to defend against. Kesler is not stupid so we should see a much improved second line when he does comes back, especially with Burrows, as he won't let him get away with that selfish crap.

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All we need to do is trade Lu and get back a good piece and we'll be fine until Kes gets back. MG is on it, don't worry! ;)

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"couple of controlled slap shots"... With a post-op shoulder and wrist he would merely be swinging. Shoulder injuries suck ( well all injuries suck but ) , you feel good one day but then reach for the cookies and blamm, 12" hot knife driving into your shoulder.

Get better Kes. We need you bud, but we need you at 100%.

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