In the 2007 playoffs — when Jannick Hansen made his NHL debut with the Canucks — there was a pulse to the Danish rookie that hinted at a sort of Kierkegaardian positivism . He never scored, and the Canucks lost the series, but the talk of the town for a few days was — who is this Danish kid?
The same was once said of Alex Burrows. Undrafted, he came into the league on a tryout with the Moose. Then he scored a hat-trick against the Los Angeles Kings on one of his first call-ups for Vancouver. Who is this French kid we asked?
We are learning identities quickly. It was all about the “checkers” tonight. Burrows and Hansen, along with Ryan Kesler, actualized — tonight — all the potentiality they have been harnessing for the past few years. All three had points and Alexandre Burrows now leads the team in goals, points and shots.
This trio looked positively top six. Kesler the aesthete. Hansen the ethical. Burrows the religious. Stages on games way.
Ravaged by injury last season, Hansen didn’t make one trip to the big club. Burrows, on the other hand — after struggling the year before — found his place on a shut-down line with Ryan Kesler. The two haven’t looked back. Easily the two best Canuck performers down the stretch, the most promising third-line in hockey has gotten better. With the addition of Hansen, the line has combined for 6 goals and 11 points in the first 4 games of the season. While still early these guys looked dangerous tonight in another scrappy effort tonight against Detroit.
The Sedins/Bernier, on the other hand looked impotent. They were not only pointless, they were invisible. Last year, when the Sedins went absent, the Canucks usually went without a win.
The second line pitched-in again and Mason Raymond looked dangerous off the rush throughout the game. There is obvious chemistry between Raymond and Demitra, but Pyatt looked present for about one-quarter of his shifts. Look to see a healthy scratch for Pyatt in the future if he doesn’t start using his god-given size. I’m calling bullshit on Pyatt right now.
Sorry, but it might be time for him to go.
The Vancouver scouting department has gotten a bad rap in the past. All Gillis has done is tinker, but most of this team still belongs to Burke/Nonis years. We’ll never know now what could have been, but we can be thankful for the likes of Alex Edler (drafted 91st overall), Burrows (undrafted), Kesler (drafted 23rd overall), Rick Rypien (undrafted) and Hansen (drafter 287th overall). This is the nucleus of fortitude and moxie, not to mention goals, that will carry this team for the next few years. Some deft moves were made by both administrations, equally contributing to tonights victory. They could easily contribute to more.
Next Up — Buffalo
Note — As I mentioned in my last post this team is going to win on grit and determination; timely goals by tough competitors. Tonight Coach Vee took my advice and subbed Wellwood for Hordichuk. Wise move coach. All Darcy has to do is frown and the other team backs down.