[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]
1 GP, 0-0-1, 1 point (2nd in Northwest Division, 9th in Western Conference)
After a slow start against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canucks showed heart coming back from a 3-1 deficit to later lose in the shootout. There were a lot of positives to take out of the first game of the season, including solid outings by Keith Ballard and Chris Higgins.
The Canucks head out on the road for the next week which is perfect for team bonding and getting back into the swing of things.
It’s no secret that Keith Ballard was in AV’s doghouse last year; however, we have to commend him for his professionalism and positive attitude. He got a lot of playing time in the preseason and showed a lot of jump against the Penguins. He used his great skating abilities to score a beauty of a goal. I truly hope that he continues to get opportunities to show his skills and contribute offensively like he did in his days in Phoenix and Florida.
Since the Canucks have only played one game it’s hard to pick someone who is playing badly. So I will dedicate this section to Mr. Cody Hodgson. We have recently learned that Ryan Kesler will be back in 5-6 games, so Cody has a limited time to show what he has and to prove that he is ready to stay in the NHL full-time. He had a solid preseason and seems to be a step quicker, which can be attributed to his off-season training with Gary Roberts. He has never looked better or sharper on the puck, so this is the perfect time for him to stick with the club.
Monday, October 10, 2011 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (4:00 PM start, away)
Columbus added some depth this off-season with the acquisition of Jeff Carter, who will hopefully complement their leader Rick Nash. Although he hasn’t played a game yet this season, young prospect Ryan Johansen, from Vancouver made the roster. Maybe he will see his first action in the big leagues against his hometown Canucks.
Vancouver took all four games last season in their season series with Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider each in net for two wins.
The Jackets lost their first two games of the season. On the bright side, newcomer Jeff Carter has 3 assists to lead the team.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 vs. Philadelphia Flyers (4:30 PM start, away)
The big bad Flyers did a total overhaul this off-season. They lost captain Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Dan Carcillo, Kris Versteeg and Ville Leino, just to name a few. However, they did finally add a big-name goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov, up-and-comer Wayne Simmonds, Maxime Talbot, and they took the risk of signing Jaromir Jagr hoping he will take a time machine back to the early 2000s when he was putting up 120-point seasons.
The Flyers went 9-5-4 last season against Western Conference teams, which included a 6-2 loss to the Canucks. The new season brings a new team to Philly but with their additions they seem like they could, once again, be contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Thursday, October 13, 2011 vs. Detroit Red Wings (4:30 PM start, away)
Perennial Western Conference contenders, the Detroit Red Wings are the definition of consistency. Even Canucks GM Mike Gillis admits that he tries to emulate the Red Wings when building the Canucks.
Some of the Canucks most exciting games last season were against Detroit. The season series ended tied at 2-2 with Jimmy Howard and Roberto Luongo getting the call each time to backstop their respective teams.
Saturday, October 15, 2011 vs. Edmonton Oilers (7:00 PM start, away)
The Edmonton Oilers already have young guns in Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi, but because they were, yet again, the worst team in the league last season, they were able to add stud forward, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They also added toughness in Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk. Let it be known that Hordichuk has already challenged the Canucks players; we shall see if he can put his money where is mouth is… that is if he’s actually on the ice long enough to start a fight.
The Season of Redemption
With the wounds of June 15th, 2011 still fresh and in every Canucks fan’s mind, we all need to prepare ourselves for the questions that we will hear all season long: Can they go deep again? Have they addressed their weaknesses that led the Bruins to outplay them in the final series? As hard and gut-wrenching as it is to hear these questions and see replays of the Bruins hoisting the Cup, if this doesn’t motivate the boys in blue, nothing will. We were one win away, and although I will never get over the game 7 loss, I am ready to move on. A new season brings a clean slate, but the same expectations. Until we have our hands on Lord Stanley, we will never be satisfied. Buckle up folks, this is going to be a LONG season!