(Please forgive me for the cheesy headline, but any chance you get to drop a Top Gun reference there is no way you can pass it up – kinda like taking pot shots at the Calgary Flames for instance.)
If you’ve been watching the Canucks over the past couple of weeks, you’ve likely noticed a few players find a third and fourth gear in their skates. Heck, the only Flames worth watching last night were coming from Raymond and Tambellini as they lit the ice up. In fact, it seems that Tambellini’s insertion into the Canucks second line provided Kesler an upgrade in hustle department considering his play as of late. Arguably, you could say the current edition of the second unit would be the first line on close to half of teams in the league at this point.
And in this humble wonk’s opinion, this has to do with speed.
That’s right. Speed. But it’s not just the ability to burn past opposing players that has impressed me the most, but the fact the team seems to be open to the idea that an offensively-gifted team with one of the top netminders in the NHL and a relatively solid blueline can play a “run-and-gun” style. In a generation where the smartest system utilizes words such as lock, trap, and defense-or-death, it’s refreshing that the Canucks have decided to open it up from time to time. I just wish that they would use this particular style more often.
Think about it. Give me another team that has the same qualifications as the Canucks, but an equivalent level of speed to keep up with the wilder side of hockey? The Kings? Sure they might be able to keep up, but I don’t believe Quick has the ability to make that one save when it counts the most. You say the Caps? Please refer back to exhibit one and get back to me after that.
And if such a style were to generate wins the same way the good ol’ defensive shutdown, strangle the flow, watch the paint dry systems have, why would we as fans complain?