[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and answers them in her own cantankerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@canucksgirl44)]
In this week’s edition of “Ask Katie about the Canucks”, Katie responds to your questions on fan altercations, veteran leadership, secondary scoring, inconsistent play – *ahem Kevin Bieksa ahem* and the Canucks’ goaltending controversy waiting to happen.
Merina asks: Do you think that the NHL should implement a rule where arenas need to build protective barriers between fans and players as they come on and off the ice? Who’s responsible for fan/player issues: the player, the fan or the NHL?
Katie: I don’t think there are enough fan/player altercations in the NHL to enforce some sort of barrier regulation across the league. The Oilers’ arena, Rexall Place, has a large, retractable tube for the away team to get to and from the locker room, but it seems like it’s to protect them from thrown objects more than physical confrontations. Maybe if incidents begin to multiply they should look into it, but even when there is glass, it doesn’t always stop fans (ie. Tie Domi’s incident in the penalty box).
Who’s responsible? I do think that it’s up to the players to act professionally at all times, but that being said, fans who are in the vicinity of the player should also be respectful and/or smart enough to realize that players are still men, and men can have tempers. Just like Manny Malhotra said, I believe that once fans make any physical contact with a player FIRST, they have made themselves a part of the game. It should be common sense for both parties, and I don’t think the NHL has anything to do with individual actions.
Mark (@marktgledhill) asks: Do you think that the Canucks’ secondary scoring everyone is worried about is really such a big deal as it’s made out to be?
Katie: It’s still early and some players have yet to find their hands, to be honest. I’m not worried about it. Kesler now has two goals and we will see him start to take off from this point on, and Mason is slowly finding his groove again. Vigneault keeps juggling the lines, so I’m not sure who will fill in a permanent position with those two. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s rather early for anyone to be panicking about, well – about anything, really. LOL.
Alia asks: why are the Canucks taking so many dumb penalties?
Katie: Two words: Kevin Bieksa
Michael (@rethcork) asks: Are there any trades that the Canucks could make that might “help” the team win?
Katie: See answer to above question.
Mike asks: The Canucks finally have a legitimate backup goalie. With the consistently inconsistent play of Luongo over the past couple seasons, how does management deal with this ‘Goalie Controversy’ that has barely even started to percolate? Do they play the hot hand with the risk of upsetting their keystone player? Giving our backup the nod in consecutive home starts, while leaving our star out to dry on the road, doesn’t seem like the most calculated strategy...
Katie: I don’t think there is much of a “goalie controversy” except among bandwagon fans or those who dislike Luongo. Everyone knows Luongo is the starter goalie, he’s making $10 mill this year, and Schneider is being trained to BECOME a starting goalie (not Vancouver’s). We also know it’s early and that Lu starts slow. That being said, Luongo’s had two bad games, but he also didn’t have the offence that Schneider had in his two starts. In both Schneider’s game the team had 5 or 6 goals each. Luongo had three as a total in both of his bad games. How can a team win with no goals? (That takes me back to our 2006 problem).
Do they play Schneider (the hot hand) over Luongo? No. As Vigneault said last week, Luongo is still their starter and is one of the best in the NHL and they’re standing by him.
Devon asks: Vancouver fans always have high expectations. This year we are looking deeper than ever. Are we missing anything or should we stay pat because Burrows will be back soon?
Katie: The Canucks do have what it takes to go all the way this year in terms of their roster. When our injured players come back, fans will see there isn’t much to worry about. Vigneault is still trying to find the right lines (as he always seems to be doing with his incessant juggling), and the young guns are still finding their wheels. Once lines are chosen and chemistry is built, the team will be great. Luongo will return to his all-star form and for once we’ll have a back-up goalie we can trust to fill in. The only thing that’s missing is shoot-out practice, which takes me to another thing that’s missing — good coaching, but that’s another story…
Andrew asks: Malholtra seems to be growing into his leadership role very smoothly. Having to already overcome obstacles inside the locker room and on the ice, and also being very comfortable in front of the camera after every game do you see the choice of Henrik giving Malholtra an “A”, a decision that will have a big impact on him and the team throughout the whole season?
Katie: I think it was an excellent idea, and great insight on Henrik’s part, to give Malhotra an A right off the bat. It says a lot for what other veteran players think of Malhotra, despite being new to the roster, and thus probably gave Malhotra a boost of confidence to start the season.
As a veteran, player and leader, Manny’s going to be a big part of the team’s success this season. He has immediately grown into a fan favourite, which isn’t typical this quickly for a new player on the Canucks, and says a lot for Vancouver. His face-off success is absolutely mind blowing and very important to the team’s play on the ice, and he’s really coming into his scoring, even on the third line. Getting Malhotra was the best move Gillis made in the off season. He deserves the A, and additions like him are another reason why the Canucks are surrounded by Cup buzz.
I’d like to say that this week’s “Ask Katie” has been very impressive in terms of intelligent, well-thought-out questions. Thanks, Canucks fans, for reinforcing the NHL players’ poll that named Canucks fans the most knowledgeable in the NHL. Great questions! – K.M.