[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 (@KMaximick)]
Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
For the first time since February 7th, the Canucks have won two consecutive games. The Canucks swept the California weekend with a 3-1 win over LA and a 3-0 shutout against Anaheim.
Also, welcome back Manny Malhotra!
In other news, Aaron Rome’s 20+ minutes of ice time last night is causing a maelstrom of speculation to brew across Vancouver’s fan base.
Mac (@Meonfire11) asks: What’s up with AV and Rome?
Katie: One word: Bromance, a strong one similar to that between three particular writers on Canucks Hockey Blog… I can see a very special Pyatt-Vigneault relationship sprouting here. In last night’s game in Anaheim, Rome saw a whopping 22 minutes of ice time, the second highest of D-men, while good ole Rubber-Knee Ballard struggled (possibly with a groin injury) just to make it through the game with 14:20 of ice time.
(By the way, Rome is a minus-3 and Ballard is a plus-5.)
Does Rome deserve this ice time? Fans were arguing over this all last night. Whether it’s because he’s earned it, because AV loves him or because the Canucks are resting their blue line for the playoffs, I don’t think we’ll ever know. However, true to Canucks Nation standards, it will be analyzed ridiculously in the meantime.
Jared (@JThompsondesign) asks: When Bieksa returns, do we keep Rome or Tanev in the top 6?
Katie: Rome. If Rome’s ice time and praise speak for anything, it’s that he’s doing a good job and Tanev will be sent back to the Moose. I like Tanev on the team and think he’s done a decent job of filling in, but that’s all it is: filling in.
Sean (@holmes156) asks: What line do you want/expect Higgins to play on?
Katie: I’d like to see him with Kesler and Samuelsson on the second line, replacing Mason Raymond, who hasn’t had a great season for what he’s paid and injured his shoulder last night. For those who don’t know, Higgins already has 23 points in 48 GP this season with FLA and is a plus-5. Raymond has similar stats with 32 points in 55 GP and is a plus-7.
The difference? Raymond makes about $1 million more per year than Chris Higgins.
If Higgins can come back sooner than later, the Canucks won’t have to put Bieksa on LTIR to call up a forward from Manitoba. Let’s hope Raymond’s injury proves to be a help rather than a hindrance.
Adrian (@PatrickTussie) asks: Did you learn any lessons during trade deadline day?
Katie: Me? Personally? Uh, sure. Trust in Mike Gillis. He’s been getting us players for nothing since 2008.
Fiann asks: Now that they’ve won two in a row again, is that the end of their supposed ‘slump’?
Katie: I don’t really think it was a slump to begin with for those fans calling it that. Why? Because even though they didn’t win two in a row for almost a month, they didn’t lose two in a row either. They’re also still sitting at the top of the league with a six-point cushion. The Canucks’ next three games are road games against Phoenix, San Jose and Calgary. Can we win the majority of those? Yes, although the big Sharks might bruise the team up a bit. Our away record is pretty good at 19-9-4 and I think the team is ready to go on a hot streak (see Manny Malhotra).
So to answer your question: I hope so.
And on that bombshell, have a great week Canucks fans.