Ask Katie About the Canucks: Secondary Scoring Slumps, Unsung Heroes and Why I Like NKOTB

[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and gives her take on the Canucks in her own cantankerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@canucksgirl44)]

Mikael Samuelsson, Raffi Torres

Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

Everyone put on their blue and green hardhats! Because after last night’s 4-0 shut-out loss in Minnesota, the sky is falling for a percentage of fans who sit on the tailgate of the Canucks bandwagon.

Yes, the team got its butt kicked, and yes, the Canucks now have three injuries in addition to Salo (Bolduc, Rome and Alberts), but hey, here’s the silver lining –- at least at this rate we won’t have to worry about making room for Salo when he comes back! In fact, many of us are ready for his return riiiiighhht about now.

But, aside from the injuries and last night’s sky-is-falling loss, there are a couple other questions floating around there in Canuck Nation.

Will the 3rd line score again?

This was asked before last night’s game against the Wild, so I was hoping for some positive reinforcement to answer this with… and then nobody scored. To be brief, if the 3rd line’s January record says anything, it’s looking dismal.

The last time the line produced any goals was the week from December 23rd to December 31st; they had 10 points that week. Samuelsson last scored on December 26th, and only has one assist since. Torres had a 2-goal night on December 23rd, hasn’t scored since December 31st, and has had 3 assists since. Malhotra last scored December 28th and has only 1 assist (onTorres’ goal on the 31st) since.

So what the hell happened, and why has it been so long since any member of the 3rd line has scored a goal? Is it a line slump? (Wait, am I asking Katie questions now?)

Who knows. The fans’ guesses are as good as mine, and Canucks fans are pretty smart. I just hope the 3rd line breaks their slump soon. With 3 d-men and Bolduc out, we can use all the offensive help we can get.

Tanner Glass or Jannik Hansen – who has surprised you more and why?

I’m going to give this one to Jannik. I’ve always known Hansen had the potential to be a great player, reminding me a bit of Mason Raymond three seasons ago: a young playmaker whose hands haven’t quite caught up to him yet (I think I’ve heard “hands of stone” thrown around on Twitter). But he seems to be progressing  and maturing very nicely this season, which has surprised me and a lot of Canucks fans. Halfway through the season he’s at 15 points and is a plus-8 (despite the loss in Minnesota). His career record is 21 pts in 55 games, which he’s definitely on pace to meet (and pass) and he had a very strong game against Washington, earning first star for the game. He’s the underdog and, like Tanner Glass, doesn’t get as much recognition as he deserves for his role on the ice.

Hansen has the ability to move between lines rather smoothly at the whim of Vigneault’s line juggling, and he consistently generates smart plays for whoever he’s on the ice with. He works tirelessly when he’s on the ice, forechecking, hitting (he leads the team with 99 hits) and isn’t too bad in the faceoff circle either.  If he could just find his hands and grow a bit more confidence (he tends to hesitate in front of the net a little), I think we could see a 25-to-30 point season from Hansen, and thus a lot more #36 jerseys around Vancouver to give @mozy19 some company.

J.J. Guerrero (@canuckshockey) asks: What’s up with all the New Kids tweets?

How is this related to the Canucks again, J.J.? The New Kids on the Block was the most amazing boy band to come out of the 90s (no offense to your precious Backstreet Boys, J.J.). My roommate and I like to youtube New Kids videos over a glass of wine and talk about the god ole days of fluorescent fanny packs and crimped bangs… Wait, was I supposed to reveal that information? And five bucks says Shane O’Brien knows all the words to “The Right Stuff” and the dance moves to go with it.

By the way, I was tweeting way more about BodyBreak commercials lately than New Kids. Who doesn’t like a great push-broom ‘stache and big hair in 80’s tracksuits? I rest my case.

Have a great week, Canucks fans. And don’t worry about the loss. We can’t win all 82 games. No one’s that good.

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