Canucks: Tough guy Zack MacEwen was just getting started

Canucks (Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images)
Canucks (Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images) /

All along the Vancouver Canucks had the tough guy they desperately craved. He just needed the right opportunity, and now Zack MacEwen is thriving in his role.

From the start, it’s always been an uphill battle for Vancouver Canucks’ forward Zack MacEwen. Finally, after all the hard work, the undrafted 23-year-old hockey kid from Charlottetown Prince Edward Island with an old school “rough around the edges” style, has burst onto the scene in a big way. The heavily physical winger with offensive flair is wasting no time making an impact on multiple levels.

Unfortunately for MacEwen, the coronavirus has the hockey world on pause and he’s going to have to find a way to carry his momentum back into the 2019-20 season whenever it does eventually return. With all his skills coming together, “Big Mac” was finally ready to be that full-time bottom-six grinder for Vancouver, but unfortunately, he has no choice now, but to wait a little longer to cement his place in the starting lineup.

Not too long ago, the Canucks were on top of the world with a long winning streak planted them on top of the pack in first place looking over the rest of the Pacific Division. Multiple injuries to key players became a factor taking one star player after another; the division lead now beginning to slip. The Canucks lacked the middle six depth, Loui Eriksson wasn’t living up to his contract, depth players were now missing games and Travis Green was running out of options. Insert MacEwen.

With limited time on the ice from the bench boss, MacEwen made sure to move his feet out there and make a difference. He noticed a lack of physical response in Vancouver and he pounced on the opportunity to step up and be that guy. With no Micheal Ferland around to do all the dirty work, MacEwen made it his duty to take up the mantle. And boy, did it ever pay off.

MacEwen’s most recent work with his fists of fury was on March 1st versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. He took care of business and won a nasty bout against Stefan Matteau. He also got five minutes for fighting nine days before that in a game versus the Minnesota Wild. Dropping the gloves when the time is right, and he’s doing a very good job at choosing his battles.

Clobbering guys in the face and sticking up for the Canucks’ elite isn’t all he can do. With the playoff picture out of reach, MacEwen has been bringing offence from the supporting cast. Creating chemistry on the “Gauds of War” line, Big Mac is making a staple for himself. He recently had an offensive outburst against the Colorado Avalanche. In a game where the Canucks needed a win more than anything, MacEwen broke the four-game skid contributing to a 6-3 victory with two goals, an assist and four hits.

Next. Canucks: If season is over, it was still a great ride. dark

After the best game of his NHL career, coach Green had no choice but to keep MacEwen in. His first-star performance proved worthy in a lineup short of toughness during an absolute dog fight for playoff positioning. A final vote of confidence struck when Brock Boeser returned to the team and MacEwen still found himself on the starting roster. Vancouver needs MacEwen, and ladies and gentlemen, he’s just getting started.