Monday, February 25, 2008

Canuck’s conundrum

In the last two weeks the Vancouver Canucks have begun to show some of the form that many had hoped to have seen from the Pacific coast for most of the season. They have pulled off some impressive wins, despite key injuries and the need to rely on young call ups from the Manitoba Moose, who have been on a steep learning curve but adapting well.

And this is where the decisions will become tough for Dave Nonis; his team has never looked more on top of their game than they have in these last two weeks. They have not only defeated some of the top teams in the Western conference, but dominated them.

And while they are in a dogfight in the playoff race, they are surely a far more confident squad today than they were just before the all star break.

While they get a head start on the competition from the get go with Roberto Luongo, the remainder of the line up is begging to gel nicely, especially on the defense which has been impressive of late in controlling play in their own end.

With Brendan Morrison due back in March, and providing the injury bug doesn’t rear it’s ugly head again prior to the playoffs, the Canucks may finally be able to ice a consistent line up night after night.

How Nonis filters all this will dictate the amount of activity that the Canuck’s are involved in during Tuesday’s trading countdown.

The hot deal supposedly percolating in Vancouver is one that would see the Tampa Bay Lightning continuing with the salary clearance sale and shipping Brad Richards west. If he arrives in Canuckland, its thought that the recuperating Morrison may no longer be in the Canuck’s plans.

Olli Jokinen’s name also has been popping up on the Canuck radar; with Ryan Kesler apparently the frequent subject of inquiry from like minded GM’s looking for youth, energy and cap space.

There has been no secret in Vancouver that they need some additional scoring, far too often shutting down the Sedin’s has been the equivalent of closing the door and turning off the lights for the night. Adding a Richards or a Jokinnen to the mix would give the Canucks two key lines to work with, improve the power play and change the focus of the attack down the stretch to the playoffs.

Dave Nonis’ first trade of note as GM was the Roberto Luongo deal, a key ingredient to the Canuck’s long term future and the insurance policy on the goal line that Canuck fans have been long hoping for.

He now has to decide if his team as it is has finally turned the corner, or there is one missing ingredient out there that will make the difference for a team that had such high expectations only a few short years ago.

Tuesday will tell if he’s know as Deadline Dave or Do Nothing Dave, either way his decisions will go a long way in deciding if the Canucks are just hanging on for the playoffs, or if they’re planning on staking a spot in the upper reaches of the playoff pool.

Vancouver Province--Willing to pay for Richards?

No comments: