Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pyatt's Potential

At the game on Sunday night, Tracy (aka my wife) was crushing madly on Taylor Pyatt, which got me thinking about a Grant Kerr (Globe and Mail) article last week, "Can big left-winger blossom the way Bertuzzi did when became a Canuck?"
It's hard to overlook Taylor Pyatt at practice when the new winger for the Vancouver Canucks swoops toward the net during a line rush.

The hulking player is a robust 6 foot 4 and 220 pounds, with wide shoulders and size 12 skates on his surprisingly quick feet.

He's hopeful the Canucks will provide him with an opportunity to succeed after he was found wanting by his previous National Hockey League clubs, the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres.

The Canucks obtained Pyatt this summer in a trade with Buffalo, hoping the 25-year-old from Thunder Bay might be a late developer, just as forward Todd Bertuzzi was a few years back.
Tom Luongo from Sabre Rattling warns us otherwise:
...is not the next Todd Bertuzzi. He's not a leader or an agitator and he really doesn't have much of an 'on' switch, you know, the kind that makes Bertuzzi both great and terrible all at the same time. But, that said, he is a solid checking forward, if not overly physical. He must be paired with someone who plays with intensity. Pyatt played his best hockey in an Angry Goat Head when centered by Paul Gaustad, a guy who never takes a shift off. That's what I mean by his being a follower. Get those Bert comparisons out of your head and you'll see a solid, if unspectacular guy who has better tools than aggression. Pencil him in for 10-12 minutes of PK/Checking duties.
He had some good moments on Sunday night. Playing on a line with Brendan Morrison and Jan Bulis, he showed that he not only has nice eyes (Tracy's words, not mine), but he has some game as well.

Elliott Pap (Vancouver Sun) has more:
Soft-spoken Taylor Pyatt has often been labelled "Taylor Quiet" by critics who wonder why the big winger's play has seldom matched his imposing size.

Those doubts may be disappearing.

Pyatt turned in a solid two-way performance Sunday during a 4-3 preseason shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks at GM Place.

On a line with Brendan Morrison and Jan Bulis, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound left-winger forechecked aggressively, created shooting lanes and screens. He had an assist and four shots on goal and the trio combined for eight shots.

"We created quite a few good opportunities and it was only my second game and my first chance to play with Brendan and Jan," said Pyatt, who finished a plus-1 in 14:40 of playing time. "I thought we had a pretty solid game."


On Sunday, there was nothing hurting in Pyatt's game. In the first period, he wheeled out of the corner and feathered a soft backhand pass to Bulis, who scored to give the Canucks a 2-1 edge at 10:32.

In a second-period sequence, Pyatt fought off checks to set up his linemates. And on a power play, he created an effective screen and nearly deflected a Mattias Ohlund point shot home.

In the third period, Pyatt spun off defenders down low for another good scoring chance. He then brushed off a check by Travis Green to set up Bulis before firing a good wrister to force Ilya Bryzgalov to make a stellar glove save with the game tied 3-3.

It was a snapshot performance of what the Canucks hope will be a full-length feature this season

"That's my style to get in on the forecheck and be physical by finishing my checks and be able to protect the puck around the net and in the corners," said Pyatt. "And I've got to make plays and I had some pretty good opportunities.

"I thought our line had some pretty good chemistry."
They sure did. And if the Canucks are going to rely on a scoring-by-committee approach, Pyatt will be expected to chip in offensively more than he ever has been in his career so I hope he's got more of those games in store for us.


Tonight's game against the San Jose Sharks starts at 7:00 PM. Canucks radio broadcast on TEAM 1040.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 6:16 AM


At September 26, 2006 8:38 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

Just loving these posts pulling together snippets from elsewhere and adding your own commentary...I've heard almost nothing about Pyatt, so it's great to get this kind of introduction.

At September 26, 2006 11:43 AM, Blogger fauxrumors said...

Taylor is an enigma, which is an unwanted description for a hockey player. Uusally reserved for the big underachiever types like Pyatt. From the dreaded 'class of 99 draft' where all but the Sedins have underachieved.
Have low expectation for him, and maybe he'll surpise and make the team/contribute, but don't hold yor breathe

At September 26, 2006 7:08 PM, Blogger Dax said...

I disagree with the general comments about Pyatt in your post JJ. I honestly thought Pyatt looked slow, boring and like he had no idea what he was doing. I thought he didn't play a very good game at all, and besides the play where Bulis scored, he looked out of place the entire night.

There is no way I see Pyatt being on the first or second line. If you have to choose between Cooke and Pyatt... at least with cooke you know that he's going to put forth an effort, and he's going to slam someone against the boards and create something. Pyatt was getting pushed off the puck by guys 30+lb smaller than he is.

If you have the sedins on one line and Naslund/Morrison on the other and you have Cooke, Kesler, Bulis and Pyatt... Pyatt is easily one of the two guys left out. Bulis had an amazing game on sunday, so you know he's going to be on the top 2 lines... Cooke already had chemistry with Naslund/Morrison... and Kesler is just straight out a far better player than Pyatt.

I can't honestly think of a GOOD reason to put him on the top two lines where one of the previously mentioned players couldn't fill that reason better.

At September 26, 2006 7:53 PM, Blogger hoopsjunky said...

For the first part of the season at least, I think we're going to see Vigneault mix and match his lines a bit.

We already know what the Sedins can do and maybe it doesn't matter who plays on their wing (Nazzy, Kesler, Bulis or whoever). We also know that the Canucks are aiming for more balance from lines one to three.

If Nazzy plays with the Sedins, then Morrison has to play with someone else. I thought that at least based on one game, Pyatt showed that he can play with him.

I really didn't think he looked too bad out there. He's not the most skilled guy or the fastest guy out there, but one thing I thought he did okay on was going to the net. He often battled in the corners and when he didn't have the puck, he usually gravitated himself towards Bryzgalov. I think one of the knocks on him while he was in Buffalo was that he didn't do this often enough.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anointing him to replace Bertuzzi or putting him on the first two lines, but if he can play the way he did on Sunday on a more consistent basis, he could give the Canucks some good depth.


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