utica comets

I Wrote About Hunter Shinkaruk

Clever name for a title hey? At least you know this will be a goalie controversy free article. There will be no talk about how the Sedins aren’t producing yet or how Sven Baertschi is close to losing his job. Ok that last one may get mentioned. Hunter Shinkaruk is having an other worldly start to his Utica Comets season. The skinny is as follows:

12 GP, 9G, 3A, 4PP and a 34.6 SH%

Translation = NHL bound.

Shinkaruk now has 2 hat tricks to start the season and he is becoming a true pro. He’s healthy, he’s producing and he’s doing the things that got him drafted back in 2013. It’s no surprise that when touted future stars get the proper time and space they need to succeed, they usually do, unless you’re Alexandre Daigle or Patrik Stefan. Hunter has been given a challenge and he’s taken it and ran with it.

It will only be a matter of time before he gets called up to the Canucks and if he does anything like he already has in Utica, he won’t be going back. It would have been nice if Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk could have cracked the lineup together but with Hunter’s inability to be a true 200 foot player, he was sent down and had to hone his skills in Utica.

This season again, he didn’t crack the opening night roster but that only seemed to push him harder. He’s getting top line minutes right now and as I said before, the goals are aplenty. Here’s a recap of his 2nd hat trick of the year:


For Shinkaruk to get called up however, would require an injury or a brutally slumping winger to create that position. Sven Baertschi is a possible candidate but not for lack of trying. Willie Desjardins has failed to get him the same opportunities that maybe Jake Virtanen may get. Putting the puck in the net doesn’t happen every shift and Baertschi has sure tried to stay relevant, which can’t be said for many Canucks on a nightly basis.

If a trade is in the works for say Radim Vrbata or Chris Higgins, that could spell the end of Shink’s AHL stint. His gift for goals and his flare when he celebrates them are all things Canucks fans have yearned for since the good old days (2009-2011). The youth movement has grown steadily in the last season and even more so this year with 3 rookies making the club.

The Canucks need goals, speed and a bit more grit. Shinkaruk is proving he can bring all those things and put on a line with either Horvat or Sutter along with wingers Virtanen or Hansen would really give the budding star a big boost. You can’t put a star on the 4th line. It just doesn’t work. Dropping Shinkaruk with Horvat, whom he has great chemistry with along with Hansen would really pack a solid punch and give Hansen an opportunity to distract more and create chances for the kids.

Here’s an article from 2013 that dives into Bo and Hunter’s chemistry.

How Hunter gets called up has yet to be seen but it’s coming and when it does be ready. We might just be seeing the full transition of the Canucks and more losses because of that is a by product of letting them blend in. When it clicks, it’s going to be life changing.

I’m predicting Shinkaruk is called up within the next month and that might be a little bit shy. What we saw of him in his first preseason was enough for me. He can score goal scorers goals and he drives the net. We currently have maybe 2 guys, nay 3 that do that(Horvat, McCann, Burrows…Hansen?). They aren’t the Sedins.

Hate to go all homer but with Connor McDavid out, the Canucks could really take the rookie spotlight by storm and what a time to do it! You have to think Don Cherry is a fan.

I wrote about Hunter Shinkaruk. He’s coming.


cover photo: Utica Comets


So The Canucks Are Old, Big Whoop Wanna FIght About It?

The Canucks recent woes are fueling the critic’s flames; no stone left unturned to find the magic elixir that will cure the teams problems. After former coach John Tortorella left, he said the Canucks were stale and needed a younger core. Well, they seem to be getting a bit younger but the ones everyone is relying on are of the biggest concern. That shouldn’t worry anyone though, right? We’ve all known where this team has been headed for some time now so why bring it up? So the Canucks are old, big whoop wanna fight about it?

Henrik and Daniel Sedin have led the charge in Vancouver for a number of years up front; when Roberto Luongo was here the goals stayed out so many of the team’s current problems were allowed to be swept under the rug. The Sedins are now 34 and beginning the gradual home stretch of their careers. The addition of RadimThe StareVrbata has helped them become relevant again but not relevant enough to get an All Star nod. Sure, it doesn’t mean a whole lot but the twins at the mid season hoopla is usually a given.

I’m an All Star, try and fight me.
credit: vancouversun.com

Between the pipes, the team isn’t any younger with Ryan Miller, 34, inking a 3 year deal. Of course, his recent slide and convenient sickness has kept him out of the starter’s role. Ya, I know he was sick, lay off. When Eddie Lack was given the keys to the car after the Luongo trade, it looked like this was the way things were going to be. Jacob Markstrom came over in the Lu deal and his play down in Utica, (12-2-0, 1.85 GAA, 4 SO, .936 SA %) SHOULD have GM Jim Benning and Trevor Linden considering their options. Is Eddie Lack the true backup? Is Ryan Miller the true #1? Can Markstrom overtake either of them? Nothing surprises me anymore with the Canucks but giving Markstrom a chance isn’t the worst idea.

Bringing up age is about as useful as talking about Vancouver’s goal scoring drought; nobody’s saying anything new, the facts are there. You can look up and down the NHL and see old age thriving. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks (that’s what they are, deal with it) retired Teemu Selanne’s #8 on Tuesday evening and he JUST hung them up. When he first started, Big Shiny Tunes 2 was on EVERYBODY’S Christmas list. To be honest, it was a few years later but would you really have said anyting? How about “aging” forwards Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr and Shane Doan? Age becomes a factor when you can’t cut it anymore.

I’m sure if they knew how it was going to pan out, letting grandpa Willie Mitchell go wouldn’t have happened, he would fit great in Vancouver’s old folks lineup. But he’s 37 so he’d get criticized when our PK stayed at 3rd in the league for longer than a month.

We can all slam the Canucks for being older than the milk in my fridge which I’m pretty sure is bad but unless its chunky, its good right? Vancouver needs to deal with what they have before the roster gets chunky, er, too old. Utica is bangin right now and it’s only a matter of time before the Virtanens, Jensens, Forslings, McCanns and Subbans take over. These kids are on their way to the pros real soon and the next wave is about to hit.

If Benning wants this team in the playoffs, if he wants this team to compete, there needs to be a move made. Sometimes the best decisions are the hardest ones. Ok, I’m done with the cliches. This new app just keeps churning them out and quite frankly, I’m impressed.

So what if the Canucks are old, if they aren’t productive anymore, it doesn’t matter HOW old they are.

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