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  1. <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed" width="320" height="240">I was disappointed when I found out that Darcy Hordichuk would be scratched in favour of Rick Rypien because in my eyes he's been invisible all year long. I made it my goal to watch Rypien carefully and critically Monday night. My assessment is in and Rypien should not be in the lineup over Hordichuk and Hansen. As a whole our fourth line was owned by Buffalo's. The line was benched for the entire third period and Ryan Johnson only got shifts on the penalty kill. Individually, Rypien was invisible all night. As the team's supposed energy player I expect him to be banging bodies when he's not fighting. On Monday night, he was credited with one hit. That is simply not enough for your energy forward. By my count, he got hit at by the opposition more than he made attempts to take runs at people. If he's not hitting, then Rypien just becomes the one-dimensional goon. If he's going to be a one-dimension goon, I would rather have a legit heavyweight in the lineup like Calgary's Brian McGrattan or Minnesota's Derek Boogaard who can intimidate the opposition. Let's face it; Rypien is not going to be intimidating anybody on the ice with his 5'11" and 170 pound frame other than the Darcy Tuckers of the world. Luongo's words after Rypien defeated the 6'7" Boris Valabik in a fight: "I've never been so pumped up after a fight in my whole life," said Luongo. "I was happy for him and he deserves it. He's a great guy. Obviously great fight, so it was pretty impressive." It's great that Rypien can bring energy through his fights, but when he's not in fights, he's invisible man out there. This season, Rypien's established himself as one of the best, if not the best middleweights in the league. As a result, it is going to be hard for him to find a dance partner unless he steps out of his weight class like St. Louis' Cam Janssen and start fighting the heavyweights. People like to bring up the fact that between Rypien and Hordichuk, Rypien has the better offensive game. But it's the fourth line, I don't expect them to score. I expect them to bring energy, emotion, and strong forecheck. If they can chip in the odd goal, great. But it's energy, emotion, and a strong forecheck first. Hordichuk is everything Rypien isn't. Hordichuk's constantly dumping the puck in and flying in on the forecheck to bang bodies. In my eyes, Hordichuk's the guy that makes the fourth line go. On Saturday night, the fourth line unit with Hordichuk and Glass on the wings and Ryan Johnson in the middle was as effective as I've seen the fourth line all year long. The line was fast; they got the puck in deep, and were on the forecheck banging bodies almost instantaneously. For the first time, we finally saw some vintage Ryan Johnson, something we haven't seen at all since he signed in Vancouver. On Monday, you replace Hordichuk with Rypien and the line seemed lost out there. There was absolutely no forecheck from the line and they were more often than not trapped in the Vancouver end of the ice by Buffalo's fourth line. Rypien had a bout with the stomach flu and lost weight from it, but why is he in the lineup if that's stopping him from playing his game? A guy like Alex Bolduc was willing to fight 6'8" John Scott to keephis spot in the lineup, but Rypien keeps on getting a spot handed to him even though he's been absolutely useless and invisible all year long five-on-five. Bolduc got the scouting report on Scott from both Darcy Hordichuk and defenceman Shane O'Brien, but still proceeded to fight Scott because he wanted to impress the coaches and keep his job in the NHL. Perhaps Rypien's body cannot hold up to the constant banging, but I rather have an oft-injured Rypien that makes a difference in the lineup once a year, than the useless Rypien we are seeing right now.
  2. <img src="" class="imageFloatRightFramed">Ryan Johnson's anticipated return to the Canucks lineup on Wednesday night against the Edmonton Oilers will mean a decision will need to be made on who comes out of the lineup. Winger Steve Bernier and defenceman Aaron Rome could also return. After a 6-2 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Penguins, it's hard to pinpoint a particular player who had a bad game. As usual, the obvious candidates to take out of the lineup are Jannik Hansen and Darcy Hordichuk. You have to believe that Jannik Hansen's spot in the lineup is safe after helping to setup Henrik Sedin's bank-in goal at 14:42 of the first period and then scoring himself on a slap-pass from Henrik Sedin at 3:04 of the second. You can't take Darcy Hordichuk out of the lineup either. Since his return to the lineup on Boxing Day against the Edmonton Oilers, Hordichuk has been a physical and agitating force on the ice in his limited ice time. On Saturday night, Hordichuk drew three penalties and led the team with Brad Lukowich in hits with four. You noticed Hordichuk every time he was on the ice for the right reasons and on one occasion, he had a huge one in the corner on Sidney Crosby. And Rypien, nothing. With the exception of a shot off the post, Rypien was invisible out there and for pretty much most of the season five-on-five. I expect more of a contribution from Rypien in the hitting department as one of the fourth line energy players. Rypien has dressed in 41 games and has 62 hits. Hordichuk's played in 33 games, eight less than Rypien, and has 77 hits for third on the team. Rypien has played in more games and averages more ice-time a game than Hordichuk. On the official scoresheet for Saturday night's game, he had two hits in the game, anybody see any of those? Rypien's made a name for himself for the league already as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the NHL, if not the best. So it's not going to be easy for him to find a dance partner each game to provide energy for the team. He has to hit and he hasn't been doing that. Between him and Hordichuk, he's the better player in every aspect and the far better skater. Hordichuk always seems to have troubles staying on his feet both while playing hockey and in fights. Rypien should be able to fly into the forecheck a lot quicker and adjust accordingly to make the hit. But it's not happening. Defenceman Aaron Rome could make his return to the lineup after missing more than a week with a concussion. In the four games this season, Brad Lukowich has been steady on defence for the Canucks while Aaron Rome during the time Kevin Bieksa's been out has been guilty of trying to do much on a few occasions. Don't expect a change until Lukowich really screws up in a game. In addition, winger Steve Bernier could return as well after missing the past three games with a groin injury meaning another forward may need to come out of the lineup. Needless to say, my candidate to come out of the lineup for Ryan Johnson on Wednesday is Rick Rypien. If Steve Bernier is fit to play, the other forward for me would be Tanner Glass, not because he's played bad this season or Saturday night, but him and Rypien were the worst of the best and two players in particular that I did not notice much of on the ice. How about we see that hit on Matt Cooke by Shane O'Brien again? <object width="640" height="383" id="embed" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000"><param name="movie" value="" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashVars" value="hlg=20092010,2,718&event=VAN449&server=" /><embed name="embed" pluginspage="" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="383" quality="high" allowFullScreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" flashVars="hlg=20092010,2,718&event=VAN449&server="></embed></object>
  3. <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Edmonton interested in Boucher and Biron Allow me to be the first to report, the Edmonton Oilers are interested in the services of Brian Boucher of Philadelphia and Martin Biron of the New York Islanders after learning that Nikolai Khabibulin will be out indefinitely following back surgery. In both Philadelphia and New York, Boucher and Biron both have been outplayed and now are their respective team's third-string goalie. Am I the first or has Eklund's "sources" told him already? Make sure you come back here for the latest "rumours." <img src="" class="imageFloatRightFramed">"Hordickhuk" How about this for a typo from the guys at the Toronto Sports Network? You'd think they have an editor that proofreads an article before something like "Hordickhuk" gets published on Canada's largest sports site. Names can be tough sometimes, like Nino Niederreiter. But "dizzzy?" Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. "The coach is making us fight you guys." So the other story coming out of Wednesday night's loss was Derek Boogaard telling Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune that Hordichuk told him "the coach is making us fight you guys." Missing from the TSN and other reports was that Boogaard said "I don't really agree with that." Both Hordichuk and Vigneault denied these allegations. This comment on by "arrowsno13ban" pretty much sums it up: <img src="" class="imageFloatRightFramed">Massive Props to Alex Bolduc Earlier in the game, Rick Rypien was dumped at the side of the net by John Scott. Rypien collected himself and made a straight bee line back to the bench not even daring to give Scott a glare. So massive props to Alex Bolduc for taking on 6'8" Scott...props for even giving him a stare. Bolduc is listed as 6'1" and 178 pounds on, but he is in actually 6'3" and 200 pounds. So don't feel as bad, he only gave up about 50 pounds and five inches. How about John Scott as a Canuck? Since we're on the topic of John Scott, how about him as a Canuck? Earlier on in the season, there were unsustainable rumours that the Canucks were talking to the Wild about possibly acquiring his services. Obviously, the trade hasn't happened yet and probably won't happen. Both Scott and Derek Boogaard are unrestricted free agents at the end the season and chances are the Wild won't be keeping both. Boogaard will make $1,025,000 this season, while Scott made the league minimum of $500,000 and will get a raise. In eight NHL career fights, Scott has decisively won them all and has displayed the ability to play a regular shift on defence as the sixth man or a regular shift on the fourth line. If he hits the open market, go for it Gillis, sign Scott to a multi-year deal at $1 million per season. He'd be perfect as seventh defenceman or 13th forward. A million bucks is about right. Colton Orr's getting $1 million in Toronto. Brashear is getting $1.5 million in New York. Laraque is getting $1.5 million in Montreal. Hnidy's holding on tight! Shane Hnidy was holding pretty tight with his fight with Tanner Glass last night. So tight that Glass's jersey ripped. Why even challenge somebody if you're going to bear hug the person?
  4. Larenzo


    On the same day that Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman decided to withhold discipline from Stephane Auger and fine Alex Burrows $2500, the Canucks misfortune spilled onto the ice. The Wild are hot, 4 straight wins and 19-10-3 since opening the season 5-10-0 Derek Boogaard of the Minnesota Wild threw more controversy at the Canucks camp. Boogaard, who hasn’t scored in 200 games (Jan.7, 2006) told the Minnesota Star-Tribune that just prior to his fight with Darcy Hordichuk, Hordichuk said: “The coach is making us fight you guys.” Hordichuk was given a 5 minute major for fighting, as well as a 10 minute misconduct penalty, but thus far there hasn’t been any indication of further penalization. Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault didn’t speak to the allegations, but noted that the Burrows/Auger drama is just that. “That’s absolutely no distraction at all… That’s not why we lost this game,” noted Vigneault. This battle for the puck between Tanner Glass and Shane Hnidy later became a pugilist battle Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom set a franchise record for wins (114) during the 5-2 win over the visiting Canucks. Antti Miettinen had two of the Wild’s 3 third period goals. The Wild are winners of 4 straight, have scored 19 goals in that span, and 9 of those in the third periods. Kyle Brodziak spoke to the teams’ confidence. “If we really believe in ourselves every game and every minute of every game, not just one or two periods of the game, I think we can really be a dangerous team and I think guys are really starting to realize that.” Brodziak gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game, redirecting a pass from Latendresse past Luongo. Roberto Luongo has his helmet knocked off during Derek Boogaard's attempt to shake a 200 game goal-less drought. Guess who won? (AP Photo) Following a timeout, while on a 4-on-3 power play in the third, Marek Zidlicky fed Mikko Koivu in the right circle. His one touch pass found Miettinen in the slot, and his one-timer beat Luongo stick side. Eric Belanger, having an excellent season for Minnesota, was tenacious on the forecheck, forcing the ‘Nucks to cough up the puck that Owen Nolan wristed off Luongo’s glove. Miettinen powered a slapper past Luongo at 9:32; it was their 3rd shot of the period and third goal, chasing the Canucks starter. He finished with 14 saves on 19 shots. “I have to make some saves,” added a morose Luongo. Derek Boogaard (not pictured) contends that Vigneault forced his players to fight. It's my belief that Tanner Glass just LIKES to do it, cuz he's good at it The Wild are suddenly red hot, starting the season 5-10-0, are now 19-10-3 since and within 2 points of a playoff spot, the closest they’ve been since Oct. 9th. “It’s a long road still, but I think everybody in the locker room is very confident with the way we are playing,” Miettinen said. The Canucks now play 9 of their next 11 at home, beginning with Pittsburgh on Saturday. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby notched his 30th goal of the season in a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames Wednesday night. Kesler's 2-2 goal More Canucks roller coaster action at Larenzo Jensen, with files from AP Photo, The Canadian Press, and CanucksHD
  5. The turn of the calendar provides an opportunity for some reflection so this week's column (our seventh edition for those keeping count...ever wonder why I never numbered them before? Seems a bit silly) looks back on the best of December, reveals the true meaning of a New Year's Bash, and counts down a list of those we have forgotten over the past decade. Also, read on to find out who takes home this week's coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award. (Published Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 - despite what the Entry Date may suggest). 10-4 ON ONE GREAT DECEMBER <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Thursday's improbable come-from-behind win over the St. Louis Blues not only ended 2009 in style for the Vancouver Canucks, it also helped the Canucks to close out the calendar year with a record-setting month. With the victory, the Canucks finished the month of December with an impressive 10-4-1 record marking the first time in team history the Canucks have ever reached double digits in the wins column in December. Their previous best December came during the 1992.93 season when they went 9-1-1 during the final month of the calendar year. It also marked the first time the Canucks have hit a double digit win total in a single month since March 2009. Last season, Vancouver's record during the month of December was 6-7-1. A VERY "GOD JUL" FOR THE TWINS <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">December was not only a record-setting month for the Canucks as a team, it was one to remember for both Daniel and Henrik Sedin who each set new personal career-highs for points in a single month. Daniel netted 22 points (9-13-22) in 15 contests during December surpassing his previous career-high of 20 points in a single month (also 15 games) which he set back in March 2007. The only Canuck to record even greater numbers in December was Henrik who amassed a staggering 25 points (5-20-25) in 15 games tying him for fifth spot for most productive month in Canucks history with Alex Mogilny who also had 25 points (12-13-25) back in February 1996 (albeit Mogilny played in two less games). Henrik's previous high for most points in a single month was 19 (7-12-19) recorded back in the 15 games he played in March 2009. The record for most points in a single month by a Canuck is still held by Stan Smyl, who netted 31 points (10-21-31) in 16 games played during March 1983. NEW YEAR'S BASH INDEED <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Nashville may be Music City, but apparently the best hits these days emanate from Dallas. According to the stats trackers at the American Airlines Center, the Canucks nailed their opponents with a season-high 40 hits (their previous high was 27 achieved twice earlier this season) in their first game of 2010 on Saturday afternoon only to be out-done by the hometown Stars who responded by hitting the Canucks back 49 times - marking the most hits a Canucks opponent has netted this season (eight more than Carolina's 41 back on December 5th). The 89 combined hits between the Canucks and Stars also marked a season-high in a single game for the Canucks this season. The previous high for most combined hits in a single game for Vancouver this season was 63. Guess where that game took place? Dallas (November 6th). THE BEST OF HORDI <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">Number Crunching would like to congratulate forward Darcy Hordichuk who appeared in his 400th career NHL game earlier this week on Tuesday in Phoenix. In honour of the 29-year old's milestone mark, Number Crunching presents the top four Hordi stats of the season: 1. Canucks record when Hordichuk records a point: 2-0-0 (that one was easy!) 2. Canucks record with Hordichuk in the lineup: 17-9-1 3. Canucks record when Hordichuk gets into a fight: 3-3-0 4. Canucks record when Hordichuk records a shot on goal: 3-1-1 WE HARDLY KNEW YE <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Inspired (or perhaps uninspired) by Mathieu Schneider's short-lived career as a Vancouver Canuck - which unofficially came to an end this past week after just 17 games and five points - Number Crunching goes through the history books to pick out this past decade's top five We Hardly Knew Ye Canucks: <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">5. Magnus Arvedson: 8-7-15 in 41 GP, 2003.04 After six seasons playing with the Ottawa Senators which included a Selke Trophy nomination in 1998.99, GM Brian Burke managed to lure the then-32 year old free agent away from our nation's capital and to the West Coast proclaiming him to be not only a great defensive forward but also a solid secondary scorer as well. Things didn't quite work out that way for Arvedson. He struggled early to put up points and just when he started to look more comfortable with his new team, he suffered a knee injury in a game against the Washington Capitals that proved to be career-ending. <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">4. Marc Chouinard: 2-2-4 in 42 GP / Tommi Santala: 1-5-6 in 30 GP, 2006.07 A pair of Dave Nonis acquisitions from the 2006.07 season share the fourth spot on our list. First, there was Marc Chouinard who had just come off a career-high 30 point season with the Wild and was supposed to be the answer to all of Vancouver's third line worries. He managed just two goals and four points before being placed on waivers and banished to the AHL. He hasn't been back in the NHL since. At last report, he was plying his trade with the Cologne Sharks in Germany. At the same time, there was Tommi Santala - heralded as the best fourth line centre money could buy. A combination of healthy scratches, injuries and time spent in the minors limited Santala to just 30 regular season games with the Canucks. He somehow did manage to crack the lineup for one playoff game that season. After 2006.07, Santala went home to Finland. <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">3. Mats Sundin: 9-19-28 in 41 GP, 2008.09 Well we all knew this was coming didn't we? It's not that Sundin's stint as a Canuck was terrible but for the former Maple Leaf, the buzz was bigger than his bite. It took until mid-December before Sundin officially put his name on the dotted line but it took even longer for the player the Canucks thought they would be getting to finally show up. Sundin looked slow and sluggish to begin his Canuck career and when he finally did find his game in the playoffs (eight points in eight games), he wasn't able to help extend Vancouver's season beyond the second round. After a brief flirtation this past summer, Sundin officially announced his retirement prior to the start of the 2009.10 season. His time in Vancouver may have been short-lived but he did set one unofficial record for selling the most number of jerseys with a shelf-life of less than four months. <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">2. Steve McCarthy: 2-4-6 in 51 GP, 2005.06 It had all the makings of a great story: local boy returns to play for his hometown team. What could go wrong? Everything as it turns out for Steve McCarthy. The Trail, BC native was a point producing defenceman during his days in junior playing with the Edmonton (later Kootenay) Ice but never did seem to find that part of his game in his first five NHL seasons in Chicago. The Canucks hoped bringing him back to his home province would spark a resurgence of that offensive flair but that would not be the case. McCarthy lasted just 51 games in a Canucks uniform before being dealt to the Thrashers. Upon his departure, he made some less than kind remarks about the Canucks organization mostly concerning the relationship between team captain Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi. McCarthy spent the 2008.09 season in the KHL before returning to North America this season where he is currently playing with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">1. Martin Brochu: 0-3-0 record with a 4.17 GAA in 6 GPI, 2001.02 After opting not to re-sign veteran netminder Bob Essensa during the off-season, GM Brian Burke decided in the early part of the season that the best backup to pair with the still relatively fresh-faced Dan Cloutier was the immortal Martin Brochu, who had all of two NHL games worth of experience prior to joining the Canucks. Needless to say, the Brochu era in Vancouver didn't last very long. The Anjou, Quebec native made just six appearances in a Canucks uniform (clearly he didn't last long on most nights as he racked up just 216 overall minutes) and had a .856 save percentage. He was soon after replaced by Peter Skudra, who lasted parts of two seasons with the Canucks. After his short Canuck stint, Brochu played just 32 more total minutes in the NHL. NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Mikael Samuelsson: Two goals and three points in three games The week did not start off very well for the veteran Swede who learned last Sunday that he won't be participating in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in February after being left off Team Sweden. The snub was clearly taken personally by Samuelsson who made some rather off-colour, although very straight-from-the-heart remarks regarding not being selected. Team Sweden's loss was the Canucks' gain, however, as Samuelsson seemed to use the disappointment from being left behind as motivation. He snapped a 14-game goal drought with his tally against the Coyotes on Tuesday (his first goal since November 28th versus Edmonton) and added another marker on Thursday helping his team recover from a 3-0 deficit for a win in St. Louis. Samuelsson ended the week riding a four-game point streak - his longest since a five-game streak back in late October. CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">Rick Rypien: Zero points and 15 penalty minutes in three games Ignore the zeroes in the respective points columns because we all know Rick Rypien's primary focus isn't to provide offence, but the feisty forward from Coleman, Alberta nets the dubious distinction this week for his match penalty on New Year's Eve in St. Louis. We figure Rick's to blame for the whole hand-taping incident since referees never make mistakes, right? For the record, the 15 minutes worth of penalties in that contest for Rypien marked a regular season career-high in a single game for Rypien. Last season in the playoffs, he did manage to rack up 24 penalty minutes in a single game on May 2nd - Game 2 of Vancouver's Western Conference Semi-Final series against the Chicago Blackhawks in which his team lost 6-3. On that night, Rypien earned a 10-minute misconduct just over six minutes into the game and then earned another 10-minute misconduct in the final frame to go with a pair of minor penalties.
  6. <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">After being cleared to begin skating by himself last week, Michael Grabner joined the team for their practice today at General Motors Place and looks poised to return to playing hockey by the end of December. But the question is where? The first choice appears to the Canucks farm team, the Manitoba Moose. The Moose do not have the sexiest top six in the AHL on paper and with the re-addition of Grabner should be a spark a team that is three games above .500. Prior his call up, Grabner also displayed great chemistry with Russian winger Sergei Shirokov. But at the same time, Grabner could be a spark to the Canucks who are four games above .500 and displayed great chemistry on a second line with fellow speedsters Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler. How the Canucks play in the time between now and until Grabner's activation of injured reserve will determine where he goes and if the game against the Anaheim Ducks last night was just a blip. The fact that the Canucks are at the 23-man roster limit with Pavol Demitra still on injured reserve will definitely play a role. All players presently on the roster are waivers eligible and all hold one-way contracts with the exception of Tanner Glass and Jannik Hansen. Grabner on the other hand is not waivers eligible and is on a two-way contract which puts him at a disadvantaged position. The popular consensus among Canucks fans is that Grabner has played well enough in his nine games thus far with the Canucks this season and should be given a spot on the team upon his return and Darcy Hordichuk should be dispatched to the minors because he's a floater and is useless. <img src="" width="300" height="257" class="imageFloatRightFramed">Are we expecting too much from Hordichuk? I tend to think so. Yes, he was hailed by Mike Gillis as this great fourth line enforcer who could play a regular shift, bring energy, and be a deterrent to extracurricular activities on the ice. Much like how Dave Nonis hailed Tommi Santala as the league's best fourth line centre. But he is an enforcer after all, is he not? A floater, a four minutes a night guy, dumb penalties, questionable hits, and a bench warmer in the third period is what you get for an enforcer in the NHL. Hordichuk brings a decent skating to the table, something many enforcers in the NHL are unable to do. Having an enforcer is important and look no further than the last four Stanley Cup champions coming out of the lockout. Last year, Eric Godard was there to serve and protect for the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2008, there was Aaron Downey on the Detroit Red Wings. In 2007, there was of course George Parros and Shawn Thornton on Brian Burke's Anaheim Ducks. In 2006, there was Jesse Boulerice for the Carolina Hurricanes, albeit for four months of the season before being traded as part of the Doug Weight deal. Questionable hits so far this year in the NHL this season have also been committed to mostly teams that have lacked a heavyweight enforcer. Both Jarkko Ruutu and Alexander Ovechkin's respective hits on Patrick Kaleta of the Buffalo Sabres, David Koci on Washington's Mike Green, Ovechkin on Tim Gleason of Carolina, Mike Richards on David Booth of Florida, Carcillo's cheapshot on Matt Bradley of Washington in a fight, or Georges Laraques knee on Niklas Kronwall of Detroit. So, in short, I believe Darcy Hordichuk has a place on this team and I would say his job is safe on the team. <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">As well as Tanner Glass has played this year and as bad as Hordichuk has played this year and his reluctance to get into a fight, I would say Glass's job is in danger, if not more than Hordichuk. After surprisingly making the team out of training camp, Glass has played exceptionally well so far this NHL campaign and already setting career highs in goals, assists, and points in a single season. But two things are working against Glass. Waivers. If the Canucks choose to put Darcy Hordichuk on waivers to clear the requisite roster space for Michael Grabner or Pavol Demitra's return in January, he will most likely get claimed by a rival NHL club. Carolina, Detroit, New York Islanders, and Washington are all without a heavyweight. Surely, any one of these could put a claim in or any of teams that already have a heavyweight could as well as it is not easy finding one that can skate. Even if Hordichuk manages to clear waivers and gets sent to the minors, he will be subject to re-entry waivers if the Canucks ever want to bring him back up at which point you run the risk of having a rival team claim him and have half of his cap hit count towards the Canucks' cap. Glass has the higher probability of clearing waivers and is a player not subject to re-entry waivers. Redundancy. Both Tanner Glass and Rick Rypien are similar players. They both are quick on the forecheck, like to run guys through the boards, great middleweight scrappers, decent puck skills, and solid defensively. Needless to say, I think Rypien wins. Whatever the decision is, when Michael Grabner returns and Pavol Demitra in January, it is a decision for Alain Vigneault and staff to make, and not ours.
  7. <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed"> has been part of the Canucks fan site community since 1996. It's home to fan produced blogs and discussion. We're also home to Tom Benjamin's NHL Blog and George Fawcett's unique Canucks history database. Writers Brian Wawryshyn, Tom Benjamin, Justine Galo, Aaron Davis and Phillip Loe provide articles for the site. is also an active member of the Canucks Fan Zone, helping with tweetups and live blogs. Follow us on twitter @CanucksCorner. Merry Christian! One could argue that the biggest news of the off-season was the signing of Roberto and Luongo and of course the Sedin twins. And while those players are having good years, there is a newcomer to the team that is making the trade that brought him here highway robbery. Christian Erhoff and Brad Lukowich were sent to the Canucks from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenceman Daniel Rahimi and forward Patrick White. Lukowich has been sent to the minors, and both Rahimi and White were no longer in the Canucks plans and neither are playing for the Sharks. Erhoff has been the jewel of the deal and has fit right in with the Canucks. In his previous season with the Sharks he recorded eight goals, 34 assists (8-34-42) and 63 penalty minutes in 77 games. This season he's leading the way on the Canucks blueline and has easily been their most steady defenseman. After 34 games this year Erhoff is just one goal off last years total, has 18 points and leads the team with an impressive plus 16 rating. At 27 years of age, Erhoff is in the prime of his career, and his addition has more than made up for the departure of Mattias Ohlund. Hordichuk's Expiration Date My friend over at Canucks Hockey Blog, Richard Loat posted about the effectiveness, or lack thereof of Darcy Hordichuk this season. I have to agree. As far as giving the team any spark, it's been a while since I can think of Hordichuk pumping up his team with any momentum changing bouts. All one needs to do is look at the much smaller Rick Rypien to get that rush. Tough guys have to play their role, and if they don't bring anything else to the table, they are dead weight. Hordichuk is a light heavyweight at best and as Richard suggests his expiry date as a Canuck is approaching, or may have even passed. Henrik For The Hart And The Rafters With Henrik Sedin just one point back of the league scoring league with 43 points, discussion has begun amongst the media and fans as to whether he deserves consideration for the Hart trophy as we approach the midpoint of the season. The answer should be a resounding yes. Henrik is not only having a great year, but with brother and line mate Daniel missing 18 games, Henrik carried the team in the offense department, proving that that twins do not need each other to be effective players. Of course together they are even more dangerous, but Henrik is certainly deserving of being in the company of any Hart trophy discussions. He's certainly been the Canucks MVP so far, and as a duo the Sedins look like they are going to take another step to becoming among the leagues elite stars an I'll even go one further. At this rate is there little doubt that if the Sedins retire Canucks, 22 and 33 will be hanging in the rafters next to 12 and 16? Bettman's Boy Our own Tom Benjamin recently posted about the appointment of Brendan Shanahan to the position Vice President of hockey and business development by the NHL. Tom suggests the job may be a little pay back to Shanahan for his work during the NHL lockout. Perhaps a little harsh towards Shanahan, as none of us really know what his qualifications are for the job, and what's expected of him in it. But it does raise eyebrows when a player retires and is promptly hired to such a lofty position of management within the league. Had Shanahan been named director of a competition committee there would likely be no issue, but the business nature of the job certainly makes things look a little fishy.
  8. <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Darcy Hordichuk was brought to the Canucks for one reason and one reason only. To be a brute, to crush not just hit, and to chuck knuckles raining fists of fury. He was brought on to either to spark some energy via taking down, or at least taking on the other team's heavyweight. He was brought on as our heavyweight and was expected to use his grit as retribution for a bad hit, a yapping Avery-type character, or dirty play. Hordichuk is not on this team for his speed or his offense. His offense is a notch above Shane O'Brien. Actually, half a notch. Gillis said he brought him onto the team because he was a tough guy and a heavy weight, but also because he was not one dimensional. He could skate, had some hands, and could also use those hands to pummel opponents. I remember the Hordichuk that played for the Predators and Panthers. That's the Hordichuk that I thought this team was landing. Unfortunately we've seen the complete opposite of what we expected. Since coming to the Canucks his scraps have been Jeff Cowan-esque at best. This isn't hug fest 2010. Last night his attempted fight further put things in perspective. Hell, even Shane O'Brien stood his ground against Chipchurra and put up a valiant effort. I haven't seen him decimate someone the way he used to when he was in Florida. This season has put things into an even better perspective because Hordichuk's orders are being covered by Rypien and Glass who will take on anything with two fists that looks at them the wrong way. Rypien doesn't care how big a guy is he'll chuck knuckles. When you have a guy like Rypien taking on the heavy weights, Glass taking on anyone else, and even Kesler trying to pick fights here and there, there is no need for Hordichuk taking up bench space. He's here to fight, and since he's not fighting all he's doing is floating. This team has checkers and 4th liners a dime a dozen and the team would get more from a Mario Bliznak on the 4th line than they're getting from Hordichuk. He's a role player, and his role is supposed to be an enforcer. If he's not enforcing we don't need him. He's not fighting, he's not hitting, and we don't need a floater. The Canucks can use his spot for a number of players that would bring more to the game than he is bringing right now. The Canucks enforcer is getting shown up by two kids that can fight and provide an offensive aspect to their game. He's gone from the multi-dimensional player Gillis saw he was, to playing dimensionless hockey. Remind me why he wasted his summer training with Chuck Liddell? <img src="" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Richard Loat writes for Canucks Hockey Blog and is a fan of the underdog – first Bryan Allen, then Alex Burrows, and now Jannik Hansen. His passion for the Canucks led to the Canucks Hockey Blog and a lot of #Canucks tweets on his Twitter account.