Canucks Captain was a +3 with 3 assists and what was, for all intents and purposes, a goal against Toronto. Still in prime form and now, along with brother Daniel, a Canuck for life. Can he keep up the pace?
Juice had another stellar week with the only minus coming in a flat game against Detroit. It was flat for everyone. Toronto, Bieksa made sure that there was no funny business, and was as firm as always. Banner year so far for the fleet-footed defenseman.
Like Hank, Danny has four years left to prove he’s just as good as his brother and together with Henrik, the two most important players since Bure. Perhaps ever. A fantastic week for Daniel sees him climb the Canucks power rankings. If he keeps this up he’ll be right there with Hank. Torts defense of their toughness has made them tougher in response.
Kesler is having a down week after setting the opposition on fire the previous week. Still logging immense ice time and popped in a goal against the struggling Caps. Is essentially the Canucks battery.
G Roberto Luongo — This Week: 5 ↑ Last Week: 6
Luongo has been remarkably steady so far this season and capped a decent week with a shutout against the hated Leafs. Anyone else wondering if he was sending a message to Leafs brass about the deal that did or didn’t fall through for his services last year? Don’t look now, but Luongo has 4 wins, a .922 save percentage and 1 shutout in his last 5 games. Nice save on an Ovechkin penalty shot to keep the game scoreless against Washington early on as well.
W Chris Higgins — This Week: 6 ↑ Last Week: 7
When your grandmother asks you to open a jar she’s been trying to wrestle open for 1/2 an hour and you pop it open with a mere flick of the wrist, that is what shall now be known as the “Higgy effect”. No one softens a goalie like Higgins for other players to do the damage.
A tremendous effort against Washington followed by a strong game against Detroit and a dominant positional game vs. the Leafs, plus a goal to put them away is a bright sign for the Canucks most skilled defender. Hamhuis is starting to do all the little unnoticeable elements that have earned him the second highest combined plus/minus rating over the last three seasons in the NHL. Don’t hang up the phone yet, team Canada.
D Jason Garrison — This Week: 8 ↔ Last Week: 8
Garrison’s shots have picked up, but his scoring has dried. Looks as though coaches are either closing him out quicker or he’s being given shots in non-threatening positions. Needs to find ways to get into the bread and butter zones, and fire from there.
C Mike Santorelli — This Week: 9 ↓ Last Week: 5
Still moving “east to west”, as they say, as well as any Canucks’ centre. Tremendous puck possession centre and still overflowing with confidence. Santorelli jersey sales picking up.
D Chris Tanev — This Week: 10 ↔ Last Week: 10
Tanev has backed off of the blocked shots of late, even screening Luongo then raising his leg just enough to let a puck go by him and into the net against Detroit, pretty much costing the team the game. Also needs to find ways to stop getting smashed into the boards on every clear attempt.
C Brad Richardson — This Week: 11 ↓ Last Week: 10
Richardson seems to be taking to mentoring the young Zack Kassian, talking to him between whistles and generally keeping the young behemoth from getting into penalty problems. Still logging lots of minutes on the PK, and is essentially the team’s best time waster on the ice.
D Alex Edler — This Week: 12 ↔ Last Week: 12
Edler has been blocking a ton of shots lately, getting his imposing frame in the way of pucks and opposing forwards’ paths. Starting to come together at his position as a complete player. Needs to chip in a bit more offensively although his 12 shots on goal vs. the Leafs was an encouraging sign for the club. Ovechkin making him look like a Blue Beamo from Zelda was not.
W Zack Kassian — This Week: 13 ↑ Last Week: 14
Still supplying fans with one bewildering play, followed by a brilliant one. In Washington he gloves the puck in his own zone and tries to pass it out with his hand, then rushes back and scores a nice goal on a wrister on the wing. Against Toronto Kassian injures Bolland on the boards, unintentionally, then scores a goal to ice the game.
W Alex Burrows — This Week 14 ↑ Last Week: 20
Burrows should be applauded for being one of the few players annoying enough to actually get Phil Kessel to get into a fist fight and not a stick swinging battle. He’s been sniffing around the net a little more, and had a typical “Burrows” game on Saturday vs. Toronto.
D Ryan Stanton — This Week: 15 ↑ Last Week: -
Stanton has been a great pairing with Kevin Bieksa of late, allowing Tortorella to spread his D-man wealth around on other pairings. The 24 year-old Stanton has been as steady as anyone on the team lately and registered 2 assists for the week.
D/W Yannick Weber — This Week: 16 ↑ Last Week: -
Weber has allowed Torts to represent an NHL roster with a patchwork fourth line. At least he knows the D-man will play in his own zone responsibly as a checking forward. This is the type of creativity needed from your bench boss. Weber has been that, at least.
W Darren Archibald — This Week: 17 ↑ Last Week: -
Archibald has proven himself worthy of the extra minutes he saw against Toronto. The burly 6’3″ winger picked up an assist against Toronto and delivered some punishing hits all week long.
C Jeremy Welsh — This Week: 18 ↓ Last Week: 16
Welsh had a quiet week, and you get the feeling that Torts isn’t happy with the centre iceman’s play of late, as evidenced by his mere 3 minutes of ice-time vs. the Leafs. Why did he even bother dressing him?
W Tom Sestito — This Week: 19 ↓ Last Week: 15
Well, another fight he lost and some more useless skating around. A minus 2 against Washington fully convinced Tortorella that this hulking winger is not going to move up the roster anytime soon, but down certainly appears to be a plausible direction.
W Pavel Bure — This Week 20 Last Week -
What more can I say about this player that I haven’t already elaborated on here? Retiring the Russian Rocket’s number 10 and his proclamation that the team would “win the cup soon” stiffened everybody’s back on the team one last time. Maybe something akin to the Naslund ceremony in 2010 sparking the run of 2011 here? Maybe Canucks fans truly are ready to handle the responsibility of another run. Time will tell. By the way, was I the only one a little disturbed by all the boos for Mike Gillis on Bure night? Timing, people. No doubt the obnoxious Leafs’ fans at the game that night.