(Editor’s note: Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Ask Katie About The Canucks”. Every week, Katie Maximick – some of you know her as @canucksgirl44 on Twitter or as the Cantankerous Canuck on her personal website – will take questions from you and answer them in this space. We hope you enjoy her sass as much as we do. – J.J.)
First question from @BobSongs: “Who will wear the mantle of goat this season? Sundin, Welly and Alberts… who’s next?”
Katie: Honestly, Bob, this year’s scapegoat may be Andrew Alberts again. Last season he was everyone’s favourite person to yell at near the end of the year, replacing Shane O’Brien who, surprisingly, ended his season with a +15 and 8 points. If Bieksa plays similarly to his 2009/2010 season, he may also become the new person to hate or blame for horrendous giveaways that lead to goals. Bieksa not surprisingly ended his season with a -5 rating. I can also see Raffi Torres becoming targeted. The announcement of Torres as an addition wasn’t received very well, and he’s known to be quite injury prone, so if he doesn’t contribute and gets hurt soon after, he’ll probably become the Goat pretty quick. Torres will have to work extra hard extra early to avoid this.
Photo credit: Vancouver Sun
@NatashaCarpio asks: “What would you say to Darcy Hordichuk before training camp?”
Katie: I’d probably tell him not to HulkSmash any of the rookies at training camp. I would also thank him for routinely fighting Flames players last season, which made me happy, even if he got owned by McGrattan (who’s like a foot taller than Hordi). He also took on George “the Stache” Parros a few times and really held his own against the Anaheim Titan, who I’ve met and is also four inches taller than Hordichuk. I’d like to see Darcy keep this up this season. To me fighting is a strategic part of the game that Darcy and Rypien have mastered. They stir it up, entertain the fans and hold their own, despite their lack of size. Sure, they don’t score a million goals (Hordi only had 2 points last season) but they contribute in other ways that, to me, are pretty important to the game. I would also ask him if he did any more MMA training in the off season, a question not many other Canucks would be asked before training camp.
Jandee asks: “Do you think the Canucks like the Sedins and Raymond, etc., will have career years again? Out of the new Canucks, who do you expect the most from and why?”
Katie: I would like to hope that the majority of the Canucks’ roster would continue to improve year-by-year, but it’s never really that easy nor is it predictable. Raymond, for example, just signed that 2 year $5.1 million deal, much higher than the Canucks wanted to pay for him, and so as Canucks fans, we would hope that Raymond would play up to his pay, right? But it’s not that simple (look at Luongo’s last season). Burrows and Kesler both had an amazing record season as well, Burr with 67 points and Kesler with 75, and for those two, I can only see room for improvement out there on the ice. They get better every year. The Sedins, on the other hand, are eventually going to plateau, so it’s hard to say if Henrik will have another award-winning season as amazing as 2009/2010, considering a lot of his success in the points race was caused by his brother’s injury. If they happen to surpass last year’s success, consider my mind blown.
For the second part of your question, a lot of people are expecting the most from either Hodgson (if he even plays) or our new blueline additions, like Hamhuis and Ballard. Personally I would like to see Manny Malhotra strengthen Vancouver’s offense, seeing as he’s a good-sized centreman with an average of 34 pts in the last two seasons. I’m also excited to see what youngster Jordan Schroeder can do. We have a stacked blueline, even with the loss of Mitchell and Salo (the former to LA and the latter to off-season injury), so it’s important to keep our offensive punch in tact and have more than two scoring lines. If we’re looking for depth, I think our blueline is covered, whereas we can never have enough scoring.
Alain (no, not Vigneault) asks: “Who’s the better video gamer between cover athletes Hank and Dank (EAS Swedish Covers) and Kesler (2KSports)?”
Katie: Well I’m not exactly a gamer myself, so I have no idea who would outplay the other in front of a TV with game controllers in their hands. From what I’ve seen in the media, Ryan Kesler is a lot more involved with the promotion of NHL2K11 than the Sedins were with the EA Sports Swedish edition, which means Kesler is getting in a lot more practice. It also seems like he loves playing video games at home, whereas the Sedins probably spend their time in saunas eating knäckebröd. Personally I’d say Linden would whoop them all, since I saw his multi-tasking abilities shine in an interview with Global BC’s Squire Barnes. Trevor not only answered Squire’s questions, but did this while playing NHL10 at FutureShop. Then again, it’s Trevor Freaking Linden. He’s the best at everything. So my answer is Trevor Linden.