I'm one to welcome Naslund and Morrison back with open arms when their contracts are up. All i've been hearing in Canuckland these days is how Naslund isn't producing, how Morrison is invisible, and how Canucks fans cannot wait to get rid of their contracts. Well, i'm one to say: Don't get too ahead of yourself.
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Canucks fans seem to easily forget that Markus Naslund was our top scorer 5 years running. Now I am one to agree that Markus has slowed down and is nowhere near old form, but has he really been given a chance? Sure he hasn't put up 6 million dollar numbers, but he is our captain. He has turned himself into a + player rather than a - player.
Ever since the Bertuzzi incident, all the focus on Naslund has been negative. Why? Because he isn't putting up 40 goal seasons anymore, and people seem to forget that Naslund and Bertuzzi made each other complete. When all the contreversy surrounding Bertuzzi affected Bertuzzi's play, it affected Naslund's play as well. How can you put up a 40 goal season with a player that no longer is respected by his fans, by the NHL, and by the world itself. I know that if i stepped on the ice every night with that much hate surrounding me, i couldn't perform one bit. And why did Bertuzzi do what he did? Because Naslund got targeted and cheap shotted. Did Bertuzzi take it too far? Absolutely, but he did what HE, at the time, thought was the right thing to do to prove to the NHL that Naslund isn't one to be pushed around.
When Nonis traded away Bertuzzi, it was evident that he didn't believe Naslund posessed the chemistry he once had with Bertuzzi any longer. And who did Naslund end up playing with? Bulis and Smolinski. Morrison and Pyatt. Moran and Reid. The Sedins. Not one of those players, not one, play anything like Todd Bertuzzi. When you develop on a line that contains a great passer in Morrison, and a power forward who will make sure you get to the net by any means possible, who will make crisp passes, pot in the goals when he gets the puck, you learn to adapt to that style of play. Playing with Bertuzzi for 6-7 years made Naslund adapt to Bertuzzi's style of play. Bertuzzi then adapted to Naslund's style of play, and it was magic on ice.
However, when you tear apart that chemistry, the logical thing to do is to find someone that posesses the same type of talent that Bertuzzi posessed. A big power forward that can score goals and make room for Naslund to play. Now i'm one to also say that Bulis, Moran, Reid, and the Sedins do not posess that skill. Now Pyatt seemed the most likely out of our lineup, but Naslund never got a chance to play with him for more than a span of 5 games at a time, he was always thrown around.
If the Canucks could have brought back Bertuzzi, who knows what would have happened? Maybe they could re-kindle the chemistry. Maybe they couldn't, but if Canucks fans truly believe that this year is a throwaway "Wait for Naslund and Morrison to leave so we can make a splash in the Free Agency pool" year, then why not bring back Bertuzzi for one last year, give him one last shot? Sure he may be a floater, but if the year is such a waste, it never hurts to try.
Look at the other top players in the league. Hossa - Plays with Kovalchuk. Heatley - plays with Spezza and Alfredsson. Sakic - plays with Hejduk. See what i'm getting at? None of these players are "Pyatt's" or "Moran's". Naslund isn't the type of player you shuffle around until you find chemistry. Naslund is the type of player that you trade some blue chip prospects to get him some help.
Even if you don't bring back Bertuzzi, acquire a big body that can produce points as well as make room for Naslund. Because I am certain that if you can bring a player that can make room for Naslund and make Naslund believe he is still playing with the Bertuzzi of old, he will produce big time points.
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