We’re halfway through the preseason schedule. Here are some quick thoughts on what’s transpired so far:
- The Canucks will once again ice a rag-tag lineup in tonight’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks before getting down to 6 forward lines and 9-10 defensemen for the remainder of the exhibition schedule. For those who’ve made it this far – Mike Duco, Steve Pinizzotto, Antoine Roussel, Niko Dimitrakos, Ryan Parent, Alex Sulzer, among others – this could be their last chance for romance. [Jim Jamieson, Vancouver Province]
- Among those already sent down to Chicago Wolves include: Anton Rodin, Prab Rai, Stefan Schneider, Alex Friesen, Matt Clackson, Nathan Longpre, Kevin Connauton, Adam Polasek and Taylor Ellington. Kellan Tochkin was sent back to the Medicine Hat Tigers. Manny Legace and Steve Begin, both of whom were on PTO contracts, have also been released. [TEAM 1040]
- Watching Cody Hodgson through the first week of training camp, I can’t help but feel more optimistic than ever on his development. After two injury-plagued seasons, he finally looks healthy; and with that, he looks stronger on the puck and a step quicker. In 3 preseason games, coach Alain Vigneault has placed Cody in every situation imaginable – playing with stiffs, playing with a couple of scoring vets, and playing on both special teams – and he acquitted himself well each time. [Tony Gallagher, Vancouver Province; Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province; TSN]
- One other guy who’s made an impression – good or bad, I’ll leave to you to decide – is Mike Duco. Against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, he went after Taylor Hall and then scored the game-winning goal. Against the Anaheim Ducks last night, he got Ryan Getzlaf to drop the gloves. His style of play has drawn some comparisons to “the little ball of hate”, Brad Marchand, and the last we remember of Marchand was him using Daniel Sedin’s head as a speed bag.
- Speaking of Duco, it appears he got under the Ducks’ skins so much that, as soon as he stepped out of the penalty box, Ducks forward Jean-Francois Jacques beelined straight from the bench and sucker punched him.
If that doesn’t scream supplementary discipline, I don’t know what does. [TSN]
- Finally, there’s been a lot of criticism of the Canucks sitting out most of their regular roster for most of the preseason. To that, I say it’s called preseason for a reason. I’ll agree it sucks to be paying regular season prices for preseason games, but as long as season ticket holders are willing to pony up the money, there’s no incentive for teams to end this practice. [Puck Daddy]