As the Canucks prepare to take on the Dallas Stars, it’s time for our annual reminder of how former Vancouver General Manager Dave Nonis didn’t draft Victoria’s Jamie Benn in 2007. It’s okay though because the Canucks drafted Patrick White. But I digress…
The Vancouver Canucks kick off their first road trip of the season Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. Now “The Star” of the Stars, Jamie Benn and his trusty sidekick Tyler Seguin will be looking to continue their dominant offensive prowess against a Canucks squad that has struggled defensively at times this season. So right off the bat that’s a terrifying proposition.
Game Time: 5:30 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet Vancouver
Coming into their first real game of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning, confidence was riding high for the Canucks. Unfortunately, Steven Stamkos still exists and quickly reminded Vancouver that the standard of competition in the NHL is a little higher than what is offered in Alberta. Despite not being able to adequately handle Stamkos, the Canucks did manage to hold their own against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference which is a positive sign moving forward. However, things will only get more challenging as Vancouver embarks on a three game road trip with the first stop in Dallas to face the aforementioned Jamie Benn and the Stars.
But I mean, it’s not like Dave Nonis was alone in not drafting Benn. Every single General Manager in the National Hockey League passed over him multiple times before Dallas won the lottery.
I really need to get over this…
After every game this season, we will be giving away a $10 gift card to the Charles Bar for the ‘tweet of the night’. All you have to do is tweet something interesting and/or funny during the game. Use the hashtag #VCBCanucks to get noticed. Then read the post-game SixPack to see if you’re a winner. It’s just that easy!
1. Contain the Stars offence (P.S. Good luck with that)
It’s no secret that the top unit of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin (Just named 1st Star of the Week. Goody) and whoever else they are carrying is what drives the Dallas Stars. Since coming over from Boston in 2013, Seguin has been dynamite and currently sits fourth in league scoring with eight points over five games. If the Canucks are to stand a chance against Dallas, they will have to focus on shutting down Benn and Seguin.
Benn: “See that net? Put the puck in there”
One problem though; The Stars second line, anchored by Jason Spezza, is almost as potent as the first. This is a horrifying proposition for the Canucks defence and (presumably) Ryan Miller who will have their work cut out for them on Tuesday night. Let’s hope Ryan Miller is feeling good about himself and his 3-0 start to the season.
More importantly though, Jamie Benn was right in the Canucks backyard the whole time. He was drafted from the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL. That’s an hour and a half ride on BC Ferries. Grab an All-Aboard Breakfast, play a round of Gauntlet Legends in the arcade, and go scout some local products!
2. Radim Vrbata
Radim Vrbata is quickly turning into one of my favourite Canucks free agent signings off all time (Mikael Samuelsson still holds the title. I loved that crusty old guy). While on paper the Sedin-Vrbata combination looked good, no one could have expected Vrbata to instantly gel with the Sedins the way he has in such a short amount of time.
That being said, I feel like the trio needs a bit of a bounce-back game, at least on the defensive side of the puck as they were responsible for the initial Stamkos onslaught that put the team behind the eight ball early on. While they did settle down and did their best to produce some offence, they were stymied by Ben Bishop and his best friend, Mr. Goal Post.
With the way they have played so far this season, it’s probably unfair to already be calling them out for a bad couple of shifts. After having to sit through last season, I just really enjoy watching Vrbata score on feeds from the Sedins and would like that to continue as much as possible. This picture sums up how I feel about Vrbata when he snipes one:
It’s that beautiful.
3. Welcome Back Willie…and I guess Glen too
Tuesday will mark the first trip back to Dallas for new head coach Willie Desjardins. Desjardins served as the Stars associate coach under Glen Gulutzan, who is now the assistant coach to Desjardins. Not confusing at all.
That’s it Willie. Climb the ladder.
Dallas is where Desjardins really cut his teeth in the pro game. It was his experience in Dallas that landed him the head coaching job for the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, which ultimately led to his appointment with Vancouver after capturing the Calder Cup this past June. Although Willie doesn’t strike me as the sentimental type, it must be a cool experience to go back to your old stomping grounds and you can imagine his desire to beat his old team that passed him over in favour of Lindy Ruff.
Coach Willie had some interesting lineup changes at practice on Monday morning. Linden Vey has been relegated to the fourth line with Derek Dorsett and Jannik Hansen while Shawn Matthias gets the promotion to the third line with Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson. It appears Desjardins is still looking for the best fit for his bottom six and if experimentation is necessary, now would be the time to do it. On an unrelated note, Bo Horvat can’t get here soon enough.
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Vrbata|
I am unfortunately going to have to be pessimistic about this one because I am not convinced the Canucks defence can stand up against the Benn-Seguin line. I think Dallas takes this one 4-1.
Bonus Prediction: Win or Lose, Tyler Seguin continues to dominate life:
Professional athletes, always wanting more.