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Future of the Game - DEC.07.07


Nancy Henderson

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<table width=85% align=center border=0><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/henderson_headshot.jpg align=left hspace=4>Orcas are usually ferocious predators, leaping onto the ice to make a meal of unwary flightless birds. I hope this biological imperative holds true on Hockey Night in Canada. It appears to be up to the Canucks to be the standard bearer for Western Canada tomorrow night, as both Edmonton and Calgary have fallen dazed and bleeding to the March of the Penguins. If our lads can put on a defensive show early and prevent Sid and Evgeni from having Happy Feet, we should be okay.

<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1007_canuckvsflyer04_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1007_canuckvsflyer04_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>I’m looking forward to being at GM Place when it all goes down, although I have to admit that, seeing as the last game I witnessed live was the Philadelphia cream-cheesing of the Canucks back in October, I’m feeling a little nervous. But, the house should be rocking.

The boys better come out with more jump than they had last night against Nashville in the first period. Yikes! However, nowadays, the team has the ability to recover nicely from a lousy twenty minute stint and still eventually dominate the game. Just at the point that I start shouting insults at the television, like “c’mon you useless, invisible Swedes – do something!”, the top line collectively produces six points. It’s also a huge relief these days to have a team that can take the lead and hold it through the third.

Curtis Sanford has certainly been a pleasant pickup. He looks like he has been studying hard and making the most of his scholarship to the Luongo/Ian Clark college of goaltender positioning. The single monthly exams that always count towards the final grade must be a little stressful, though.

<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/dec0607_preds12_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/dec0607_preds12_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Anyway, I will be happy to finally get a look at the “Future of the Game” in action. That is, if he doesn’t twist his ankle on the seawall before puck drop. I eagerly purchased a ticket for the 2005 Top Prospects game, which was meant to be a showdown between Gilbert Brule and Mr. Crosby. Unfortunately, Sid didn’t get the memo, although the event was still very entertaining. The humungous amount of media coverage that Number 87 has garnered in Canada on this road trip should tell NHL executives something (I hope).

Nice play by Trevor Linden to ricochet that shot off the boards and into the empty net for the final goal of the game last night. Way to make Markus keep his eyes on the rearview mirror for that all-time scoring title. The notion, spread through the media this week, that Trev no longer fits with the team, was terribly sad for this long-time fan. Not very often does an eighteen year old rookie step up, immediately pay dividends, and in short order rise to lead a team. Trevor was one of the rare ones.

<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct3107_practice04_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct3107_practice04_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Are you seriously telling me, Coach, that one of the greatest Canucks of all time, the guy who scored two goals in game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in a desperate bid to carry his team to victory, the guy who, even at the age of 37, was a playoff force, that guy doesn’t fit in with the team?? I’m all for developing the next Linden, the next Naslund, the next great top six forward. I’m less concerned about developing the next fourth line grinder.

And finally, heaven forfend – a coach told his team that an opposing player would have to “pay the price”? Someone should also alert the media that a bear uses the woods for his bathroom breaks.

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