Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Looking Out For Luc

Going into tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild (and Willie Mitchell's first return to Minnesota), several Canucks players will be looking to bounce back from listless efforts on Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche. Two of them: Brendan Morrison and Jan Bulis (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province).
Brendan Morrison had trouble Monday recalling the last time his butt was stapled to the bench with the game on the line.

That's because it's a rare occurrence.

However, that's what transpired Sunday in Denver during a 3-2 loss. With the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche deadlocked at 2-2, Morrison and Jan Bulis watched too much of the third period from the bench -- not the ice.

"That length of time -- I guess there's a first time for everything," Morrison said following a long learning day at the Xcel Energy Center, which included a meeting with coach Alain Vigneault.


What irked Vigneault was a lackadaisical play by Morrison and Bulis on a disallowed Avalanche goal late in the second period Sunday. They flew the zone while Ian Laperriere walked out of the corner and scored. But the whistle had sounded and Bulis went off for a hooking penalty.
One guy who is just itching to play is Luc Bourdon. After being a healthy scratch for their first three games, will Cool Hand Luc finally make his Canucks regular season debut?

Tony Gallagher (Vancouver Province) thinks he should. Soon.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he would look at the tape and make a decision today, but if Luc Bourdon doesn't make his NHL debut Tuesday night in Minnesota the young defenceman is pretty much wasting his time on this trip.

While the kid is inexperienced and may make some mistakes, it's hard to imagine him making any more than were made here Sunday on Vancouver's back end.


While there isn't much doubt Bourdon can learn a few things watching from the press box, pretty much the only lessons he could be picking up would be how to take penalties and how to turn the puck over while watching the goalie catch bullets in his teeth.
Alain Vigneault asks, why the rush (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun)?
"For me, talent has no age," Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday morning, rejecting the idea that Bourdon's age requires him to start at the bottom of the depth chart. "If he shows that he's ahead of one of the six guys playing above him, he's going to play. Right now, he hasn't. At this time, he's our seventh defenceman. Until somebody ahead of him doesn't play as well, that's the way it's going to be."

Vigneault said he didn't know if Bourdon will play Tuesday in St. Paul, Minn., but indicated it could be December before the Canucks exhaust the nine games the first-round draft pick is allowed before the team must make a decision on whether to keep him.

"Whether those nine games take 25 or 30 games [to get in], I don't know," Vigneault said. "Right now, this is good experience for him.

"The question we've got to ask ourselves: "Is he better off going back to junior and getting lots of ice time, or playing with us for 40 or 50 games for 15 minutes a game?"
Having seen Luc progress through preseason, I tend to think that staying with the big club and learning through experience and from the veterans is more beneficial to his development. The weaker parts of his game don't necessarily have to do with honing his skills or building his confidence - he has them - but more so with his poise. He is, after all, just 19 and still lets his emotions get the better of him. As we saw in the earlier parts of the preseason, he has a penchant for going for the big play and taking himself out of position. Learning alongside the likes of Ohlund and Mitchell will do more to help him with this than playing tons of minutes at the junior level.

Game tonight starts at 6 PM. TV broadcast is on TSN; radio play-by-play 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, 6:45 AM


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