Nov 082010
 

[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)]

Vancouver Canucks beat Los Angeles Kings, 2010 Playoffs


In this week’s edition of “Ask Katie about the Canucks”, Katie Maximick responds to your questions on player surprises and lineup changes, and looks ahead to the playoffs. (We know it’s only November, but hey, we’re allowed to get overexcited sometimes.)

Kayli (@KayliDiebel93) asks: Who is your favourite current Canucks player?

Katie: I would have to say, like 90% of Canucks fans right now, Manny Malhotra. He’s a beast. Amazing faceoff statistics, great SHG chances, scoring ability, and veteran leadership. Who wouldn’t love Manny? But I’d still get a new Kesler jersey over a Malhotra – loyalties, after all, lol. Kesler was here first.

Calvin asks: From the opponents we played so far, who would be the toughest first round opponent?

Katie: I think the LA Kings. They’re getting a lot of hype, and for good reason, with Kopitar, Brown, Smyth, Doughty and even our former D-man Willie Mitchell and a pretty good goalie. They’re going to be really dangerous this year, and if Vancouver can avoid them in the playoffs at all cost, the better. Let’s hope that someone else can take them out first before the Canucks have to face them because it’s not going to be easy.

Thomas asks: Do you think Torres can be the Burrows from last year and put up 35-40 goals?

Katie: If he keeps his recent play up, I think so, yes. He plays with a lot of heart, grit and drive, and a lot of Canucks fans are hoping that this will be his consistent style rather than a streak that will burn out or fade away. But wouldn’t it be better to have both Burrows and Torres scoring 30+ goals each this season? Talk about offensive depth. I gotta say, I’m liking Torres killing other teams for once. Nice to have him on our side!

Todd (@Toddske) asks: When Hamhuis returns, who will be bumped? Rome or Alberts?

Katie: Rome, hands down. He seems really slow out there on the ice and has been pretty much invisible. Alberts, on the other hand, has been using his size out there, finishing checks, making big hits and is at least TRYING to stay out of the penalty box so far.

Andrew asks: The West Conference is looking extremely competitive as always with 9 teams within 5 points of each other after approx. 13 games played. What are your thoughts on the Canucks success, and what will be the key factor(s) that will take them into the playoffs?

Katie: Not since the West Coast Express era has the Canucks had this much depth, which is why Vancouver is practically trembling in anticipation to see what this season brings (hopefully a Cup, obviously). I think the potential is there, but it’s been there before and we still don’t have a Cup in this city (aside from the Millionaires). First of all we need to stay healthy, although that’s hard to guarantee. We’re already having issues. Last year our injuries killed us in the playoffs, in addition to Burrows and Kesler playing injured. Second, we need solid goaltending. We’re still waiting to see Luongo at his best, but at least we have consistent and stellar backup goaltending with Cory Schneider. Third, offensive consistency.  Vancouver has a few players that tend to disappear during the playoffs (the Sedins are the worst at this, but not quite so bad last playoffs) and others who get taken out by our first issue, injuries.

Steve asks: Taking off from Andrew’s question, I am wondering what strategies during the regular season will help them when they are in the playoffs. Last season they seem to fade as the playoffs progressed, as they did the year before.

Katie: Maybe look to the coach? Don’t sit on leads then have to fight back in the third period as result (typical of AV’s defensive style of play) and use timeouts and your backup goalie when the team is struggling. Don’t keep players out there just to punish them and prove your point. Get them off the ice and give someone else the opportunity to help the team.  I hope that if Luongo does blow a tired during the playoffs again, that both Lu and Vigneault will be comfortable and confident enough to put in Schneider to help the team get to that next step. I’m not saying count Lu out, I’m just implying that having Schneider in for a game or two during the playoffs would boost the team’s confidence a bit if Luongo is struggling.

We could always just fire Vigneault and solve most of these problems. Just a suggestion for MG to mull over…

  • Garfunkel&Oates

    Anybody who thinks that Gillis should consider firing AV, that Aaron Rome has been invisible or that Raffi Torres is going to score 40 goals should not be fielding questions from the public.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    I don’t know, Katie. I actually think that Aaron Rome being “invisible” is a good thing. As a 6th/7th defenseman, not being noticeable on the ice means that, in the limited ice time they’re getting, they’re not fucking up. I agree that he’ll most likely be the one bumped out when Hamhuis returns, but it’ll because of the numbers game, not because he hasn’t done his job.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    I don’t know, Katie. I actually think that Aaron Rome being “invisible” is a good thing. As a 6th/7th defenseman, not being noticeable on the ice means that, in the limited ice time they’re getting, they’re not fucking up. I agree that he’ll most likely be the one bumped out when Hamhuis returns, but it’ll because of the numbers game, not because he hasn’t done his job.

  • http://twitter.com/canucksgirl44 Katie Maximick

    “Garfunkel” – Take a bitter pill recently? Anyone who thinks AV is a great coach hasn’t been watching hockey these past three seasons, but fans would need a whole other forum to argue this issue. He didn’t win the Jack Adams, by the way, Luongo did.

    And, you’re clearly one of those fans who is refusing to acknowledge that Torres has been a good addition to the team for a reasonable cost. He’s on the roster. Get over it. And if you can READ, I wrote “IF he keeps up this pace” he’s on for a 30+ goal season. Just think about math there – he’d easily hit 30 goals if he does. IF. Don’t be such a negative nancy.

    And if you think you can do better, where’s your column?

  • http://twitter.com/canucksgirl44 Katie Maximick

    True JJ – better than being in the box all the time, lol. Nothing against Rome – he just doesn’t stand a chance when Hamhuis is back.

  • http://twitter.com/33to22 Bart Byl

    “Not since the West Coast Express era has the Canucks had this much depth”? The problem with that era was that we had no depth. In 2002-03, when Naslund and Bertuzzi finished second and third in NHL scoring, our fourth-highest scoring forward was … Matt Cooke with 42 points. There was no playoff scoring once the top line was shut down.

    The only Canucks team that compares in depth are the 1994 heroes, and I’d say this team may be even deeper.

  • Garfunkel&Oates

    LOL. So anyone that disagrees with you is bitter? Maybe you shouldn’t invite comments if you can’t take criticism. I’m not bitter at all. The question that was asked of you was whether you thought Torres will score 35-40 goals like Burrows did last year. You answered yes.

    The question wasn’t whether it was mathematically possible for you to extrapolate over 82 games and figure out whether someone who currently has 7 goals is on pace for 40 (it’s actually 44 at the moment). The question was do you THINK he’ll keep up that pace, and the obvious answer is no.

    It’s foolish to think that Raffi, who has a career high of 27 when he was a top-six forward in Edmonton is going to hit 40 playing on the 3rd line on a significantly deeper team in Vancouver. No 3rd liner in the league will score 35-40 goals. It’s simply a product of ice-time, pp time, and linemates. Comparing Raffi to Burrows means you still don’t get it. The minute Burrows became a first line winger alongside 2 of the best playmakers in the league instantly made 35 goals a possibility. With Kesler, Burrows and Samuelsson taking all of the shifts with the Sedins, Raffi won’t see anywhere near the prime ice time/linemates that allowed Burrows to hit 35. The fact that Burrows didn’t get a lot of PP time last year was offset by his large number of SH goals, but of course Raffi doesn’t kill penalties so that possibility is out.

    As for your AV comment, AV is the reason Burrows had 35 goals last year. All you bloggers were outraged when AV split Burrows and Kesler up saying AV had no idea what he was doing seperating those two and why would you ever play Burrows with the Twins. Well, 35 goals and fantastiic chemistry later, AV was right and the bloggers were wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/canucksgirl44 Katie Maximick

    Now you’re being a hypocrite. You said I don’t deserve a column because you don’t agree with my opinions, so how is that different from me calling you bitter for disagreeing with mine? Canucks fans are NEVER going to agree on anything (check the CDC boards from hell if you don’t believe me), and us “bloggers”, as you label us, have opinions like everyone else and trust me, we expect that people will not agree with every word we write. It’s Vancouver. Lots of fans are fickle and get fired up easily, but don’t tell me I shouldn’t have a forum because YOU don’t like MY answers on a column that clearly states my ‘cantankerous’ view on things. If you don’t like my answers, it’s simple – don’t read them.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    Okay folks… Let’s all play nice here.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    This is true actually. I’ll be curious how the Canucks’ depth this year stacks up against other versions of this team, and also, other Stanley Cup contending teams.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    Point well taken on Raffi’s ice-time. One thing he has over Burrows though is PP time. I agree that 40 goals is a stretch, but if Raffi can produce a decent amount from the 2nd PP unit, it’s not inconceivable for him to reach 20+ – maybe even 25+ – goals.

    As for AV… To be fair, it’s not just us bloggers that were outraged about splitting up Kesler and Burrows. I don’t think anyone – not the fans, not the mainstream media, not even AV – predicted or could have predicted that Burrows would score 35 goals, even when placed with the Sedins.

  • john

    I kind of agree with the first comment….about the players, not whether or not you should comment in a forum about your opinions.

    By mere numbers, Torres will not hit 40 goals, unless the Burrows Effect happens. I am totally willing to be proved wrong here, though. I hope he nets 40 in a cinderella year.

    Rome has been solid and very visible because of his play. he is playing his best hockey. Dependable is what is asked of him and he is delivering with the ocasional first pass that must crack a smile on AVs face.

    Finally, AV should bot be fired. He’s quite the good coach and gets the best of his players. They all buy into his system and back him. (except OB and we know where he is) Perhaps the one critical quality a coach must possess, is the ability to bring people together around a cause and ignite chemistry. He’s done a bang on job of this and you’ll find that teams short in the talent department (not that the nucks are) have gone on to accomplish great things because of this.

    mix the talent and depth we have with the evident chemistry this year and you have the reason for all the optimism in vancouver that we are all enjoying

  • john

    I kind of agree with the first comment….about the players, not whether or not you should comment in a forum about your opinions.

    By mere numbers, Torres will not hit 40 goals, unless the Burrows Effect happens. I am totally willing to be proved wrong here, though. I hope he nets 40 in a cinderella year.

    Rome has been solid and very visible because of his play. he is playing his best hockey. Dependable is what is asked of him and he is delivering with the ocasional first pass that must crack a smile on AVs face.

    Finally, AV should bot be fired. He’s quite the good coach and gets the best of his players. They all buy into his system and back him. (except OB and we know where he is) Perhaps the one critical quality a coach must possess, is the ability to bring people together around a cause and ignite chemistry. He’s done a bang on job of this and you’ll find that teams short in the talent department (not that the nucks are) have gone on to accomplish great things because of this.

    mix the talent and depth we have with the evident chemistry this year and you have the reason for all the optimism in vancouver that we are all enjoying

  • http://twitter.com/canucksgirl44 Katie Maximick

    John you make some really good points, esp. about Rome, and I like your optimism about Torres. I’d also like to clarify that by no means do I think he’ll hit 40 goals. 30 MAYBE (hence 30+, I’m not going to give him that much credit, lol). No one expected Burrows to get 35-40 either, as J.J. said, so you never know. I just hope he keeps this streak up. He’s a beast right now.
    About AV though, I just don’t like his defensive style of coaching. Sitting on leads doesn’t work in the new NHL – the team is often fighting back in the 3rd it seems. I also hate how he rarely uses timeouts, doesn’t pull Luongo when he asks to be, and only very recently started practicing the shootout (he was the last coach in the NHL to start practising them I’ve been told). I also heard Naslund didn’t get along with him, which floored me. Who doesn’t get along with Markus Naslund? Anyway, he’s not my cup of tea – I like offensive-minded coaches, and I’ll concede that AV’s gotten better (since MG told him upon his contract extension to become more goal-oriented). But I don’t like him, and there’s a reason he’s never gotten a team past the second round of the playoffs.

  • john

    fair comeback and good points Katie. Tring to sit on a lead has bothered me. I think Tony Gallagher got it right in his recent column about how the canucks will succeed if they keep their foot on the gas.

    About AV, I like that he was willing to change – for me, another sign of a good coach. But at the end of the day, isn’t it fun watching this town go mad over the canucks this year?

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