Team is playing the kids
Wow. I never thought I would see the day to be quite honest with you. Last night, for the first time under head coach Travis Green, Loui Eriksson was a healthy scratch.
Let me repeat that. Eriksson was a healthy scratch last night. I saw one person on Twitter that suggested that the Canucks send Eriksson down to the minors and “make him earn the six million we’re paying him down there”. I don’t know if I would go to that extreme necessarily, but Eriksson’s play has been anything but spectacular since joining the Canucks.
The healthy scratch is certainly not one that is undeserved, and it sends a message to the fan base and to the players in the locker room. That message is that the team is going to give the keys to the young players who earn their spot.
Think about this. Green wanted to keep Nikolay Goldobin in the lineup because of his improved defensive play as of late, so he easily could have put Markus Granlund in the center spot and scratched Adam Gaudette last night — which is something we have seen before.
He could have scratched Granlund, which is also something we have seen from him before. Coach Green showed last night that he is going to really stick to his word about guys needing to battle and earn their ice time by competing hard every shift. Eriksson hasn’t done that, and as a result, Green sat him.
Tonight, the Canucks third line consisted of Goldobin, Gaudette, and Jake Virtanen — who picked up an empty net goal late in the third to seal the deal.
It’s a message to everyone that if the kids are ready to play, the team isn’t going to think twice about playing them, especially down the final stretch of games when the team likely isn’t going to make the playoffs. Play the kids and see what everyone has to give in preparation for next season. The Canucks want to know what they have in their young players and are going to play them for the last handful of games the team has left to find out.
Who wants it the most?