Even though the Vancouver Canucks have played a grand total of one preseason game and three scrimmages, it appears the lines and defence pairings have already been set by the coaching staff.
Canucks head coach John Tortorella has repeatedly warned the media and fans not to read too much into the lines he iced in the scrimmages and preseason games, but it is hard not to when certain players have played together exclusively throughout the first week of training camp and preseason. It is especially hard when it is identical to what many armchair coaches had in mind.
Take the defence pairings as an example, which have been unchanged since the scrimmages:
Based on last night’s game and this morning’s skate, #Canucks d pairings could well be 2-26/5-3/23-8
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) September 17, 2013
The forward lines haven’t changed much too.
Zack Kassian has been playing with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows have been a pair on the second line, Brad Richardson has been centring Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, and Tom Sestito and Dale Weise have been a pair on the fourth line.
The only undecided spots on the team appear to be on the wing on the second line and at centre on the fourth line. However, whoever plays on the second line might just be keeping the seat warm for the eventual return of David Booth, who remains day-to-day. He is awaiting clearance from Canucks doctors on his surgically-repaired ankle.
Hunter Shinkaruk skated with Kesler and Burrows and 2012 first round pick Brendan Gaunce played with Sestito and Weise on Monday’s game against the San Jose Sharks. Shinkaruk and Gaunce scored both goals for the Canucks.
Let’s see the goal Shinkaruk goal again (because it was a thing of beauty):