Kesler must be the problem – the Canucks are winless with him around
-by J.D. Burke and Omar Rawji
The Canucks have dropped two games in a row — Friday’s against the Stars and Sunday’s in a shootout against the Blues — and no, it’s not Ryan Kesler’s fault. He’s been great since he returned.
If not for a sloppy turnover (T.J. Oshie’s goal), a lucky bounce (leading to Andy McDonald’s goal) and a deflected shot (Berglund’s goal), Vancouver would’ve emerged victorious.
Five notes on the game
1. Kesler is flying: In his second game back, Ryan Kesler played nearly 23 minutes. He’s on the first power play unit, he’s killing penalties – so much for easing him back into the line-up.
So far, he looks like Kes from 2009-2010. Against the Blues, he scored a power-play goal, went 12-10 in the faceoff circle and drew two late penalties. If I were AV, I’d play him 30 minutes next game. I’d also stop with the coin joke.
2. Special special teams: Kesler may not remember it — his head was driven into the boards twice near the end of the third to draw the two boarding calls — but the Canucks’s special teams were great.
Not only did they kill two Blues power plays – the most potent in the NHL – with ease, Vancouver went 2-4 on their own man advantages.
3. Welcome to AV’s dog house, Kass: Zack Kassian saw only 11 minutes of playing time on Sunday — his lowest total of the season. He made two awful giveaways and was benched in favor of the offensively confused Dale Weise to drive the point home.
The point? Young players have a short leash with Coach V in charge. (Don’t tell the other Canucks bloggers we said this. They hate to admit it.)
4. Raymond’s for real: Any of you who’ve been loyal HTTN readers for years know we’ve always been Mason Raymond pushers. Admit it, he’s looking good, isn’t he? (One huge game-tying goal against the Blues, and nine points so far this season).
Funny how a potentially career-ending spinal injury that pretty much halted his training before last season affected him so much, isn’t it? Not funny haha, more funny how a guy can play hard, get badly hurt, and have a fan-base do a 180 on him.
5. Positives — so many positives: Are you one of those Canucks fans ready to dismantle the team because they’ve lost two straight? Step away from the ledge, friend…
The Sedins have seven points in two games, meaning the team’s two best players are regaining their timing and starting to dominate again. Other Canucks playing well: Kesler, Burrows, Raymond, Schroeder, Hansen, Higgins.
So what’s more important — the win, or a team’s key players moving in the right direction? Please spare us the “two points in the standings” stuff when Vancouver’s pretty much guaranteed the Northwest Division title.