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CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG

Monday, January 07, 2008

So Far, So Good Grabner


Last season, Michael Grabner faced some criticism from his Spokane Chiefs coach. This season, things are going much better for the Vancouver Canucks' first-round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Admittedly, I don't get to see the Manitoba Moose first-hand, but by all accounts, Grabner has been able to shoulder the offensive load while Mason Raymond and Jason Jaffray are up with the Canucks.

From Ken Wiebe (Winnipeg Sun):

With a sizable chunk of the offence on loan to the Vancouver Canucks or on the shelf with a variety of ailments, the Manitoba Moose needed someone to carry the mantle as the go-to guy.

It was expected they'd have to do it by committee but Michael Grabner has ascended to the throne.

The Austrian speedster scored for the fifth consecutive game -- this time netting a pair to give him 13 on the season -- to lead the Moose to a 5-1 victory over the Rochester Americans before a crowd of 7,557 at the MTS Centre last night.

There have been the expected growing pains for the first round selection of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, but Grabner seems to be figuring out that he can have an impact every game with his strong skating and heavy shot.
In fact, in the seven Moose games since Christmas, Grabner has seven points (6G-1A) and a plus-one rating. His play has earned reviews and there's talk around Winnipeg that he could represent the team in the AHL All-Star game at the end of the month:

Ken Wiebe again:

The emergence of Michael Grabner as a primary scoring option has been big news around these parts.

And in the coming days, we'll find out if the rookie winger with the Manitoba Moose will take his place among the rising American Hockey League stars in Binghamton, N.Y., at the end of the month for the annual AHL All-Star Classic.

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The Austrian speedster is a high profile first round draft pick (14th overall, Vancouver Canucks, 2006), who has moved into the team scoring lead and is among the Top-5 rookie scorers in the AHL.
Grabner's recent stretch -- the 20-year-old saw his five-game goal scoring streak end last night -- has been a thing of beauty to witness.


The man who scored 55 goals and 105 points with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League the past two seasons has been using his speed and shot and the results have been impressive.
And what about the criticism's from last year? Scott Arniel chimes in:

"He's battling to make plays and that's all I ask of him," said Moose head coach Scott Arniel. "We knew he had the skill and we knew he had the speed.

"He's a guy that is dangerous when he has the puck in the offensive zone, but he's also doing a nice job of playing within the system."

Grabner has been focusing on improving his play away from the puck.

"I'm a first-year guy and I'm just trying to play well in my defensive zone and not make any bad mistakes there," said Grabner. "That's more important for me right now."
A lot of Canucks fans questioned Grabner's early selection - 14th overall when he was ranked in the later rounds - but the early returns in this, his first full season as a pro, seem to be just fine. So far so good.

(Photo credit: moosehockey.com)

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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, 8:19 AM

2 Comments:

At January 07, 2008 11:26 AM, Anonymous clammy said...

yay! JJ's back and giving me my daily fix of Canucks stories! Thanks for this, I had not even thought about Grabner at all since last year.

 
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