Wednesday, December 06, 2006

To Stand Pat or Not To Stand Pat

There are two lines of thought emerging on how to deal with the Canucks' scoring woes. First, Iain Macintyre (Vancouver Sun):

The Canucks are rebuilding, but can make the playoffs anyway. Think about it: They'd have been in first place in a downgraded Northwest Division had they beaten Edmonton -- in first place despite a non-existent attack.

They're a lot like last year's Oilers, who somehow stayed afloat in the playoff race despite comical goaltending that could have sunk them. Everything else about the Oilers was fine, and people knew Edmonton needed only a netminder to be dangerous. It finally got one at the trade deadline in Dwayne Roloson, and the Oilers, who made the playoffs because the Canucks disintegrated, went to Game 7 of the final.

All the Canucks need are four more goals. Per month. That will fetch one or two more wins a month, which will get them into the playoffs.

"What I have here is a good team," Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said Tuesday, "and players right now that are underachieving. Whether it be Matt Cooke, Morrison, [Alex] Burrows -- I could go down the list and name them all if I wanted to -- they've been able to find ways to put pucks in the net. I can't believe all their skill and talent have gone out the window.

"I think we're being challenged and I think we're facing adversity. We've got to stick to what we are, and what we are is a smart, hard-working hockey team."
Next, Bob Mackin (24 Hours):

But Canucks' fans can and should demand a roster shakeup because the personnel assembled by general manager Dave Nonis is not scoring goals. Nor is the group helping goaltender Roberto Luongo keep pucks out of his net.

Most players have been quick to blame lady luck or "the bounces" for not going their way. Defenceman Mattias Ohlund was blunt after Monday's 4-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers: "We're not playing good enough. We're not scoring," he said.

It's evident there isn't enough talent in the minors, so a trade is the only alternative to prevent the Canucks from missing the playoffs for a second straight season.

If Nonis needs inspiration, he need only look at what the San Jose Sharks did 53 weeks ago. Sharks were 12th place in the Western conference with an 8-15 record when they traded Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau to the Boston Bruins for Joe Thornton. It was the only blockbuster trade of the first post-lockout season.

Thornton, the league's top point-getter and most valuable player, led San Jose to a fifth-place, 99-point finish in the West.
I don't disagree that Nonis has to acquire some scoring help from outside the organization. However, a Joe Thornton-like trade is unlikely unless he is willing to trade Markus Naslund, young prospects like Luc Bourdon and Corey Schneider (the only young players in the organization with any sort of trade value), or is able to turn Jan Useless into a real top-six forward (in which case I think Canucks fans would erect a statue in Nonis' honor outside gate 8).

More from today's MSM:

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, 6:20 AM


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