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Our Top 6 Is Not Robust Enough


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The top 6 arrangement is the cause of all our problems

The way Gillis has assembled the top 6 and in turn the way AV uses the players that Gillis gave him is problematic in that we are always an injury or an unmotivated player or two away from disaster. I have often thought of creating a thread on this but knew that discussing some of the players on this team would just get me flamed so now that it has become most evident with Daniel missing I will mention it.

We have several problems that are all connected and basically assemble the top 6 like a house of cards. First of all, we have two superstar forwards in the Sedin twins. They are terrific players, but unfortunately they are apparently completely useless without each other, or that’s what AV would have us believe. When the twins first came to Canada they wanted to play together and even suggested that they would stay in Sweden or one of them would not enter the draft if that was not the case. So I understand keeping them together in their early days. However, as they have matured and have grown into the outstanding men they are today surely they could be split up on two lines without having them run off to their motherland.

Every team needs to be able to adapt and it is not that uncommon that top 6 players on teams will be switched around to find the hot hand if one or two of the guys are struggling. This does not happen on the Canucks. If we struggle we just beat the horse until its dead and we happen to fluke our way out of it, ride our goalies, or eventually our luck changes and we get on a roll again. Every team should be capable of throwing a new look into the scoring lines.

Compounding the problem is that we have Burrows playing with the twins on the first line. I love Burrows as much as the next guy but we really don’t know what he would bring to a top 6 role if he was not playing on the Sedin line. Of course this is also problematic because he cannot just be switched to the second line like a regular top 6 player. We see evidence of this with Daniel out in that Burrows has not been as dangerous as he is with both brothers. I will admit he and Kesler are great together, and are very useful if the team needs motivation. Unfortunately though, this doesn’t translate into many goals and AV rarely uses it anyway.

Then lastly the second line has not been properly addressed except through depth (we have lots), so there is always the one winger on that line who is rotated in and out and doesn’t really belong there. Whether it is Raymond, Higgins, or Lapierre, they are not really ideal second liners although Higgins does do an adequate job. I really believe that MG should have found a legitimate top 6 player, even a guy like Sullivan who was available. Even though he is undersized we need more talent there on the second line and definitely a strong playmaker would help.

The biggest problem is our top 6 can only be created one way in order to be successful. It makes them far too easy to shut down in big games, especially without Daniel who is one only of the only guys that provides scoring, since Hank brings none, and Burrows definitely does not score that much either without Danny in the line-up. I’m not going to collect all the stats but we’ve all seen the offensive output of our top 6 in the past month or two, it’s pathetic, look at Kesler, Booth, and Henrik, like one or two goals in the past how many games?

So when Daniel is injured our top 6 looks something like this?

Raymond Henrik Burrows/Hansen

Higgins Kesler Booth.

The first line looks like crap if one of the Sedins is missing. We basically have 2-3 actual top 6 players in our top 6 and 4-5 third liners that can play there in a pinch. Kesler is never moved off that line and Booth is never given a chance on the first line either. No wonder we are not scoring goals. If we do have injuries we never give a young kid a chance to fill this role (like The Rangers with Krieder) we always just bump guys up the line-up who can fill the roll but don’t exactly fit the role. This line-up does not scare anyone and surely gives the LA Kings confidence.

I love Burrows and do not want to demote him but I have always wanted to see the Canucks find a real first liner to play with the Sedins. Why we always try to find the biggest grinder we can I will never know. Fact is we have never just gone out and gotten a genuine first line player to try on their wing and have always ended up promoting a third liner to play with them. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that a good skilled player and goal scorer would complement them very nicely? I love the guys on the team but becasue of their skillsets they become one dimensional in this framework.

I compare this situation to say the Ducks or San Jose who have always loaded up a top line. It works at times but at times they also go away from it. They are fully able to change up their top 6 as guys like Getzlaf, Perry, Marleau, and Thornton can play hockey with anyone. They usually excel with their preferred counterparts but they are movable. Unfortunately, we have no mobility in our top 6, as soon as one thing goes wrong it’s like someone blowing on a house of cards … it all comes tumbling down like a Ponzi scheme.

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The issue witht the top 6 is that there is too much of the same. Look at kings for example.

Brown - Forechecker hitter goes to net hard

Kopitar - Distrubuter and can score

Williams - Can shoot - Forecheck and goes to the net hard

Carter - Sniper

Richards - Set up guy, forechecker excellent 2 way player - goes to net hard

Gagne is missing but he is also a scorer and good passer

with him missing what does Sutter do? Plays a rookie on that line in Dwight King to add size and someone who is infront of the net to cause havoc.

Canucks first like is good

Henrik - Passer

Daniel - Scorer

Burrows - Forechecker, goes to the net but not the biggest part of his game (ideally a 2nd liner w/o sedins)

Kesler - Shooter good 2 way centre can score but can't pass much - Goes to the net

Booth - Shooter can score but can't pass much - Goes to the net... Sometimes (too much like kesler)

Higgins - Good at winning puck battles good forechecker can score and pass decently. (ideally a 3rd liner)

Biggest difference in other teams is they will balance their lines and PLAY THEIR ROOKIES.

Look at Nolan, King, Voynov for the kings. They are being played properly and given roles. Can anyone really tell me that Nolan and King are better than Kassian? If anything they are at PAR..

Kings can play these rookies, who are now getting better, and still be stingy defensively.

Canucks can't do that as well?

Smells like a coaching issue to me.

If Sutter was canucks coach I would not be surprised if we saw

Daniel - Henrik - Booth

Burrows - Kesler - Kassian

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Agreed, however there is still one critical element that everyone is missing, we just are not working hard enough! You can ask any pro hockey player what it takes just to make it to the NHL, they all say the same thing HARD WORK!!!!!! The Canucks found out last year what it takes, and they said they have learned alot, mabey so but they are missing the hard work part.

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Young players need to be given more responsibily and freedom to play their game. AV does not like Kassian just as he didn't like Hodgson last year. Look what Philly is doing with their rookies and the the team is winning.

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Young players need to be given more responsibily and freedom to play their game. AV does not like Kassian just as he didn't like Hodgson last year. Look what Philly is doing with their rookies and the the team is winning.

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Last year our team was like a pack of rabid dogs, they wanted to win, they were hungry, this year i am just not seeing that hunger from the guys, that is the only difference that i can see, pretty much all they same players a few small changes, and an absent work ethic. the last game was the first sign of life in this series we have seen from our team, hopefully they keep it up.


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HE ws brought in to give a different look to the team. Before the coaches started messing with his head, he was impressive, skating hard/fast, hitting and showing great hands. A couple mistakes, and he's getting 4 minutes on teh 4th line. HOw exactly did you expect him to overcome that massive blow to his fragile, young mind?!!

AV has no patience for rookies making mistakes and would rather leave that up to his veterans who make just as many!

The effort to add size and grit to the lineup failed with AV's handling of Kassian. Even splitting up Hank and Lappy when it was working shows he just wants to put a soft top 3 out. He has given Booth and es all year to try and get chemistry going and...nothing. THe top line was also given months to work things out and couldn't get it together. THe new guys (Lappy, Kassian, Bitz) get a game or two and as soon as they make a mistake, he rips the line apart.

It is far too easy to take liberties and shut down a top 3 of smallish, slow finnesse players but AV will not budge and for that alone he should be shown the door.

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Against a team like LA the 2 scoring + 2 checking tactic isn't working. It's so bloody plain and simple but AV just can't adapt. The system is too easily predicated and shut down.

We need to revert back to the 3 + 1 for the time being. Statistically speaking, the Kings isn't that offensive. They have the second lowest Goals-For in the regular season, we shouldn't worry so much defensively, but offensively.

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