Sunday, September 16, 2007

Expecting More From Markus

Statistically-speaking, Markus Naslund had his worst season in eight years, recording a "measly" 24 goals and 60 points. For an average NHL player, those totals are okay; for the $6 million captain of the Canucks and former first-team All-Star, it's not good enough.

We know it and he knows it (Cleve Dheensaw, Victoria Times Colonist).

Although goaltender Roberto Luongo is now clearly the face of the team, Naslund is still the captain and needs to be the fuel that sparks the offence.

"I want to have a better season than last year. Last season was not up to standards," said Naslund, who has six seasons of 30 or more goals in his 10-year Canucks career.

Having a better season could be linked with the need to become a little more selfish. All great scorers are like that.

"Shooting more has to be a priority," said Naslund.

"The top scorers around the NHL all do that. You have to be doing that. I don't want to be thinking about things and analyzing as much as last year."
Is it a result of having to adjust to a new system and a new role on the second line? Or is it a sign that, at 34 years old, Naslund is slowing down? Whatever it is, he didn't put the puck on net as often and with much authority as he has in the past. His 222 shots on goal last season was his lowest in well... eight years; his 10.8 shooting percentage ranks him in the middle of the lineup.

The good news is, he sounds ready to bounce back this season (Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun).

"I don't think I'm done as a player," Naslund said. "I'd like to think I have a lot left to offer. I want to have a better year than last year, but I didn't think last year was a disaster, even though I didn't play up to my standards. That being said, I know I can play better hockey and I want to show that."
Here's hoping that he does.

Postscript: More on Naslund in today's paper (Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province).

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, 9:00 AM


At September 16, 2007 10:59 AM, Blogger Knotwurth Mentioning said...

Naslund emerged as a solid two-way forward last year for the first time in his career. While I agree that it's pivotal for him to contribute more offensively -- especially with his whopper contract -- I don't believe that last year was his worst. I look at the first year out of the lockout as a far less appealing showing by the captain.

If he rediscovers his scoring touch by being more selfish in the offensive zone, then I will be most content. But if he doesn't pull it off and settles in as a 60-point player, I don't agree that he should be ditched at the trade deadline. The Canucks need his leadership, and the fact that he's proven to be beyond playing selfish in his own zone shows that he's worth his salt on a more mid-range contract. Perhaps he'll be remembered as a choker offensively, but Naslund's career seems to be looking up if he can continue to establish himself as one of the NHL's more consistent all-round players!


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