It's the Quarter Pole and we're 25% through the season.
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Week seven saw the Canucks do what they did in November last year: win. The Canucks are now 7-0-2 in their last 9 including a drubbing of New York and Luongo's annual November shut-out streak.
From an organizational perspective, the Canucks are emerging as an exciting well rounded contender. They are not in the Elite leagues of Detroit and San Jose at the moment but are contending well and are showing the excellent blend of defense and offense that make teams compete for the cup. I see the Bruins and Canucks as being two sleeper teams that could make hay during the playoffs pending the right conditions.
Today Canucks fans will learn if their defensive lynch-pin and captain, Roberto Luongo, will be sidelined for a lengthy period. It's not a given that the team will crumble in that case...they went on a tear last year in November with half their defensive core in the infirmary. However, it never bodes well for team confidence and if things start going downhill, look out for a snowballing effect on morale.
With plenty of money in the bank, holes in any part of the organization can easily be filled.
The Canucks offense has been on-fire and well balanced. The team in tied for 7th in scoring and is 3rd best at 5-on-5 hockey. The Sedin's have picked up the pace scoring at a point-per-game clip. Demitra has found his game coming off injury and the second and third lines have been providing secondary scoring. The D has been pitching in their fare share of offensive output as well. Accolades:
Henrik Sedin: tied for 16 in scoring; tied for 3rd in assists; 24th in faceoffs
Daniel Sedin: 23rd in goals, tied for 28th in scoring; tied for 23rd in +/-
Demitra: 9 points in 5 games, 3rd in shooting%
Wellwood: 2nd in Shooting %; tied for 13th in PPG
Burrows: Tied for 2nd in Shorthanded goals; tied for 23rd in +/-
The defense has been impenetrable. The Canucks have allowed the 3rd fewest goals per game. In addition to great shut down work and offensive output the 'grit' factor has been high making the acquisition of O'Brien look pretty good at the moment.
Mitchell: 2nd best +/- in the league; leads all defensemen.
Ohlund: 10th best +/- in league; tied for 3rd in takeaways
Bieksa: 22nd in scoring for defensemen (with only 13 games)
O'Brien: 2nd in league PIM's; 1st among defensemen in PIM's, minors and majors
The Canucks are playing great hockey. Their needs seem to be few however someone who can quarter back their power play and penalty kill as well as another 2nd line powerhouse could be great. Whether or not they have played Luongo too hard will be revealed today however with their depth and rotating contract renewals, the Canucks should continue to get better his season and season's to come.
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