Friday, September 21, 2007

Preseason: Oilers 4 Canucks 5

I finally made it down to GM Place for last night's preseason game, a fairly entertaining 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers. It's always nice to get that first hot dog of the season.

Because the Canucks didn't ice very many veterans (actually neither did the Oilers), I saw a lot of the kids the press has been hyping up for the last couple of weeks. They didn't disappoint.

Mason Raymond was solid and scored a heckuva goal after a heckuva pass from Ryan Kesler. Ryan Shannon, while he didn't show up on the scoresheet, played with a lot of poise; I'd be very surprised if he didn't make the team. Kesler had a great game - on both ends of the ice - and chipped in a goal and a couple of assists. Josef Balej, Brad Moran and Jason Jaffray all had their moments.

Luc Bourdon played more than 22 minutes last night and was mostly unnoticeable except on the Oilers' fourth goal, when he and Lukas Krajicek seemed out of position. But largely, not noticing Luc on the ice is a good thing. I didn't even realize he played as many minutes as he did until it flashed on the jumbotron. It means he didn't make as many bad decisions as he's been prone to make in his still very young career.

I know I shouldn't get too excited about the preseason, but if last night's game (and the one against Calgary the night before) was an indicator of the team's future, Canucks fans are in for a treat. There's some real skill in the system and some of these guys definitely have NHL game.

They attack the net and do it with speed and with regularity. A lot of their chances came from right in front of Mathieu Garon. They even had the powerplay going. On paper, they were 2-for-7, but they also had a lot of puck possession and certainly had their share of quality chances.

If the kids keep this up, they will force Dave Nonis and Alain Vigneault to make some tough decisions. Because the Canucks already have 12 forwards on one-way contracts, they have room on the roster for maybe one more. The good news for Canucks fans is that the guys that are up for that spot have all stepped up.

More Canucks stuff on 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, 6:44 AM


At September 21, 2007 5:38 PM, Blogger Knotwurth Mentioning said...

The key, methinks, will be two-way play. The truth is that the Canucks could have been more solid in their own end last night, and while they weren't terrible, the deciding factor for those players who are trying out will be just how reliable they are around Luongo.

The team has been built around defense since the beginning of the Luongo era, and Nonis and Vignault won't be too quick to promote anyone who is liable to prove themselves the weak link in the chain, in that regards.


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