Weekly Canucks Report: Week of December 19-25
Who Had a Good Week:
Jannik Hansen- Hansen took awhile to get going after his bout with broken ribs, but this week he reminded everyone of why he continues to be a fan favourite. Hansen was right back to driving the play on the Sedin line, and continued to improve their play. His injury is unfortunate for multiple reasons.
Sven Baertschi- Baertschi has been playing like a man possessed of late. He has some defensive wrinkles to work out in his game, but his chemistry with Horvat makes that less of a priority for him. He’s been operating at a point-per-game for awhile now, and it remains to be seen just what heights this duo can reach.
Bo Horvat- The team struggled to find offense this week, but Horvat wasn’t to blame for it. Horvat had two strong games against the gigantic Winnipeg Jets, which are particularly large at center. He is exactly the kind of center the team needs to succeed in the West.
Luca Sbisa- Sbisa kept the good times rolling with another strong week. His ice-time was through the roof this week, including playing over 25 minutes Tuesday against the Jets. Sbisa’s chemistry with Stecher is going to keep him in the lineup longer than expected.
Who Had a Rough Week:
Jannik Hansen- Yes, Hansen makes both lists this week. This is only because of how depressing it is to lose the Great Dane to yet another injury. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.
Nobody Else- It’s the holidays after all. Injuries are negative enough, so no need to inject any more negativity into the narrative. Everyone gets a rest, so that’s a good week for all.
Just a reminder, the NHL holiday roster freeze is now in effect. No more trades or waivers until December 28th!
Hansen’s injury meant another chance for Loui Eriksson with the Sedins. Fans had been clamouring for this, and although it’s really unfortunate Hansen had to go down for it to happen, it will be interesting to see how it pans out. Eriksson has to look at this as a mid-season audition.
Alex Biega is racking up some games played, which might soon make him eligible to fill the team’s defensive exposure requirements for the upcoming expansion draft. This might not mean anything, but it does give the team some flexibility, including the possibility of trading Sbisa.
Jaromir Jagr scored his 1,888th point to pass Mark Messier for 2nd all time in NHL scoring. Canuck fans are no doubt ecstatic to see Public Enemy One bumped down the list, and the thought that this event may have brought him any sadness at all is a true holiday miracle.
The Canucks damaged a Saddledome camera during the pre-game warmup on Friday. Seeing as how the Canucks have had some really bad times in the Saddledome in years past, perhaps we can consider this a measure of revenge. I know that’s a stretch for Schadenfreude, but that’s all you’re getting this week.
The Utica Comets had just one game this week, heading into their holiday break, and it wasn’t a great one. The Comets dropped a Wednesday contest against the Providence Bruins to the tune of 3-1. Darren Archibald kept up his great play with a goal, assisted by Cody Kunyk and David Shields. Jake Virtanen and Anton Rodin both went scoreless, and Thatcher Demko had his worst game of the season, letting in three goals on eight shots and being pulled.
Bits and Bobs:
-Both of Nikita Tryamkin’s goals have come against Calgary, and both have deflected in off a winger unpopular in Vancouver (Hunter Shinkaruk last time, Kris Versteeg this time).
-The home-and-home series against the Jets was a great way to ring in the holiday season, and both games had a real bite to them. Here’s hoping for more home-and-homes against rival teams in coming seasons.
-Olli Juolevi was unsurprisingly named the captain of Team Finland for the World Junior Championships. His team has medal aspirations, and should be almost as interesting as Team Canada for Canuck fans.
-Juolevi and Lukas Jasek were both named the Player of the Game in their exhibition matches against Canada. Ultimately, pretty meaningless, but still nice to see, especially from Jasek.
-The return of Anton Rodin was also a nice present for the Canucks. After he put up a point-per-game in the preseason, fans were understandably hyped, but that cooled a bit after Rodin went out of sight for a few months. Here’s hoping he can quickly reignite things.
-Mathieu Perrault’s knee on Jannik Hansen was yet another controversial hit against a Canuck that went unpunished by the Department of Player Safety. Apparently, their primary goal is to provide a safe environment in which to injure Vancouver Canucks.
-1200 games for Henrik Sedin is a big milestone. No one has ever hit that mark in Canucks history, and only 17 other players have done so while playing for one NHL team.
-Speaking of milestones, ICYMI, John Tortorella did not actually achieve his 500th win against the Canucks. It seems that the media, in an effort to create a storyline, forgot that Tortorella missed out on some wins while a Canuck due to his lengthy suspension for trespassing.
-Happy Holidays, everyone! Thanks for making my first year of sportswriting a fun one. See you all in the New Year!