horvat

Forget the Maturation Process, the Canucks Need Goals

Travis Green needs a wake-up call. He lost his top center, one of his top wingers, he’s been without his third line center for some time and the rest of the Canucks are struggling to score. Putting in 4th line grinders in place of budding scorers is not a smart way to keep the team competitive. Once again, Henrik Sedin will be asked to shoulder the load on a team that has no clear sign of keeping up. It’s kind of getting heavy.

Save Brock Boeser (seriously, save him), there aren’t many other options to score right now. Loui Eriksson has receded into a winter slumber after going on a mini point streak, Thomas Vanek has 2G in his last 16 games, and the rest of the goals are on IR. Daniel Sedin isn’t the goal threat he once was and Jake Virtanen is only getting opportunities when the lines seem to cross over.

Couldn’t agree more, Blake.

The Canucks have called up Nikolay Goldobin because he is a…scoring…winger. He’s not going to learn much sitting in the press box in favor of Nic Dowd. This is Jayson Megna/Michael Chaput syndrome all over again. Green has made many of us believers with his slightly different style of coaching and it has paid dividends early. He can’t regress now.

He’s hit a rut, a pretty significant rut and the goals aren’t going to magically appear. Even with stellar goaltending, which the Canucks currently are not getting, they can only afford to allow 1-2 goals per game. Not a recipe for winning. Green is quite clearly playing the media he greets every day at practice, pre-game and post-game pressers, so he isn’t about to show his hand.

What many of us would like to know is: are the Canucks a playoff team or a development team? It can’t be both and properly grow; the Oilers may be a good example of this.

Goldobin isn’t the answer by any means for Vancouver but leaving out a goal scorer like they did with Boeser to start the season doesn’t build any trust. This team isn’t matured yet and players need to learn lessons but sometimes the best possible player available needs to play. That may translate to Reid Boucher getting a call-up as well, who knows?

I try to be a good parent. I discipline when necessary and I don’t give in because one of my kids wants a cookie, or both usually.  But you know what, SOMETIMES I give in and give them a freaking cookie or buy them the smoothie at the mall.

You know why?

Because it’s for the greater good of the parents, ME and my WIFE. We get peace and quiet, they behave and there’s no yelling. That’s a parenting win from time to time. Doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do or that it will happen over and over but in a pinch, it’s a win. They don’t mature any quicker but it buys us time.

Travis Green has a problem that for the immediate future needs addressing. Goldobin is the best player not playing every night. There may even be another trade on the horizon which could involve Alex Burmistrov and maybe more.

For now though, kick the maturing to the curb, coach. This team needs wins in a bad way and if they don’t start building a .500 record at the very least, Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter returning will be all for not.

Throw em a bone, Travis!

 

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

photo – nhl.com

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Canucks Should Draft Kelowna Rockets Nick Merkley

As stated in my article on Two Pad Stack about how the Canucks should try drafting local, here is a perfect opportunity for Vancouver to redeem themselves; Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets is a sure thing. Well, I should clarify; with a growth spurt and a few extra pounds on his frame, he has the ability to be a huge part of the Canucks future.

In 2013, Merkley arrived during the playoffs to try and help the Kelowna Rockets beat the Kamloops Blazers. It wasn’t meant to be, but what everyone saw was that they had the makings of a star. He racked up 3 assists in 7 playoff games but to his credit, he probably should have had 4 goals too. The puck just finds his stick and he is one of the few players in hockey that knows exactly how to be in the right place at the right time.

His hockey IQ looks like it should be off the charts and his ability to stay calm and make smart plays in a fast paced environment is evidence that he can control the game. Merkley is a great setup man, something Ryan Kesler never was; and his smooth hands have goalies looking behind their back in the net when he skates by with his arms in the air. Just as a quick example, take a look at this past Saturdays hilites in Kelowna, he’s #10…..don’t miss the dirty move on the Brandon Wheatkings netminder at 2:05 mark.

http://www.kelownarockets.com/videos

With the Canucks failing to see the gems that exist in British Columbia, save Alex Edler, they can get these guys on the cheap and they have the best access to see them. What they will get in Merkley is a Gretzky-like, ya I said it, playmaker, a savvy shot and moves around defenders that just make you look at the guy next to you and do this:

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Photo courtesy: vansunsportsblog.com

Vancouver is going to need a new breed of hybrid forward in the next few years once the Sedins are gone, Burrows starts tailing off and the kids (Horvat, Fox, Shinkaruk and Virtanen) need help. Merkley has the potential to be a 2nd line center, maybe higher on the right team. If its in a Canucks jersey, sitting second fiddle to Horvat isn’t exactly bad.

Nick Merkley aka @merkdaddy4 doesn’t have an attitude, loves to feed his team mates the puck and all he does is win. He was the 2014 WHL Rookie of the Year, CHL Rookie of the year finalist, 2014/15 U-18 Ivan Hlinka Gold Medallist with Team Canada and after this season, possibly the WHL scoring champion and World Junior Championship Gold Medallist after Christmas.

The Canucks have a chance to do something right this year at the draft regardless of where they pick. As of right now, he is ranked 30th which is a deal for anyone making the playoffs….wink wink Canucks. Check out his real good stats too eh?

If you live in any of the cities the Rockets play this year, check out how good this kid is. If we’re lucky, we may get to see him suit up with the green and blue before we know it.

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