Sunday, December 09, 2007

Taming Expectations

I had to redo this post because when I started writing it earlier this week, Trevor Linden had sat consecutive games. The Canucks were winning, Mike Brown was chipping in and it didn't seem like Trevor was gonna see the ice any time soon. Now, after last night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he's suited up in the last three games and even scored the Canucks' lone goal in the shootout. Thanks to Jeff Cowan's injury, he may stay out of the press box for the foreseeable future - in that sense, things may have changed - though I thought I'd weigh in anyway after all the negative press Captain Canuck endured this week.

The truth is, not only has Trevor looked slower this year, but he's also had trouble handling the puck. He had some powerplay time at the beginning of the season and failed to cash in. In limited playing time, he only has four points. I agree. That's bad news. It's hard to accept Trevor as a fourth-line player, but that's what he is at this stage of his career.

Like any fourth-liner, as long as he has more of a positive impact than a negative one when he's in the lineup, he'll play. As long as he doesn't hurt the team when he's on the ice, he'll play. The good news is, that seems to be the case:
  • While Trevor doesn't contribute a lot on the offensive end these days, he has a decent plus-5 rating for the season. That's one positive.
  • He's won 49% of his faceoffs, which is pretty decent considering the team, as a whole, has only won 47.6% of theirs (29th in the league). That's another positive.
  • Most importantly, Trevor has been on the ice for only five goals against in the 21 games he's played this season (2 ES, 2 PP, 1 SH). That's a big positive.
In fact, the only negative I can see is the obvious decline in Trevor's offense. If I keep in mind that Vigneault has him in a much more limited role this season, and thus, adjust my expectations of him, that's not bad at all.

After his benching, this is what Trevor said (Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun):
"I knew the ground rules when I came in," he said. "It was either accept that or not play, so I made my choice to play and this is the situation you get yourself into. And you either go and try to be a positive influence or you make an issue about that and create a problem and I'm not going to do that.

"I'm probably the easiest guy to take out and they probably want to take a look at some other guys. It's not really about me at this point. It's about the team and trying to win games and that's what the focus should be on."
Putting the team before himself. That's another positive.

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, 9:04 PM


At December 10, 2007 12:51 PM, Blogger Andrew Bucholtz said...

Good post. I agree that he's pretty much a fourth-liner at this stage of his career: however, as the playoffs last year show, he still has the ability to chip in some offense at key times. He's been great defensively so far, as you mentioned, and I think he's certainly deserving of a reasonably regular spot in the lineup. One of his biggest upsides over the guys he's competing with for the fourth-line spots is his success in the shootout: he's one of the Canucks' top three or four shooters on penalty shots IMO, and an ability to score consistently there is something this team has been lacking.

At December 10, 2007 10:53 PM, Anonymous GZ Expat said...

Little does Trevor realize, but he is coaching while he is sitting. The younger players on the team are learning what it takes to win and become a winner through him.

Although Trevor as the player may not mesh with the way this team was put together...what would you rather have? A 4th line goon...or a 4th line character guy??


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