So, it was Sundin’s first game in nine months, how did he perform?? Well, I will leave my answer to this question later.
Ever since Luongo went down with his groin injury, the team has been shaky. If my estimation is correct, I think the team were about .500 during the stretch, losing more OT challenges than they should if the Captain was still in net. However, all things considered, I don’t think they did all that bad, and the goalies who stepped up to play did a decent job giving the team at least a chance to compete.
I mean, yes, by now, most Canucks fans will agree that our goaltender for the future, Corey Schneider, perhaps should still remain our goaltender for the future, he’s just not ready, yet. Curtis Sanford was doing okay before HIS groin injury, pulling out excellent saves when the team most needed him. And the move to acquire Jason LaBarbera may turn out to be another steal from Gillis, winning two games in four and having never lost a game in regulation since joining the Canucks.
As for the team overall, I think we’ve finally found that balanced scoring across our top three lines. The Sedins continue to be solid in some nights and disappear in another, but it sure feels like Demitra is fitting in nicely with the cycling-style of the twins, doesn’t it?
The energy line, like the twins, is always looking for that right-winger, and I think tonight Bernier definitely showed that he can be a much better fit than Hansen. They were just un-believable tonight, and is definitely the best forward line on the ice tonight for both teams. Doesn’t Bernier seem very pumped-up tonight? The only other time I saw him like this was during the last game he played against his old team in San Jose.
Now back to the Sundin line, can I actually call the line that?? I mean although Sundin played +15 minutes tonight, he seems rusty, to be very honest. But I would like to compliment AV for his decision to play Sundin between Wellwood and Raymond. I think it’s a great idea, at least on paper. Wellwood has fabulous hands, and is a smart play-maker, Raymond has speed, and with him flying into the offensive zone, he can really open up the ice for his line-mates. Sundin, in the past, was superb is his positioning, and his finishing. So it does look like that this line has what it takes to very successful, offensively.
I mean this is Sundin’s first game, and despite looking a bit rusty, I think overall, he did a good job. The way that he’s playing tonight showed that he knows his position in this Canucks team. In the past, he was the star in Toronto, he was THE captain, the face of the franchise and everyone played around him, so he has the confidence to take more risks in his play. But now, he knows that this is not HIS team anymore, he is just a member of the squad. He shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be flashy, especially during his first game back. If he’d tried anything tricky or risky and failed, it will backfired and hurt his confidence even more. Not to mention the confidence his new teammates have on him, right?
So, now that the first game is out of the way, with less spotlight and camera zooming in on him, I think Sundin can slowly get back that missing stride, and if he can psychologically work out his position or role in his new team, it wouldn’t be long until we see him lighting it up for Vancouver.
Last but not least, I know that many fans are guessing who Gillis is looking to add to our top six, as he hinted right after the Sundin signing. I don’t think Gillis should add another top-six player, at least not now. We have enough talent in our line-up, and the best thing for the team right now is for Sundin to find his pace back. He has the luxury to slowly get that back, because the rest of the team are very comfortable playing with each other. So unless Sundin can quickly regain his mid-season form, Gillis shouldn’t disrupt the chemistry of the team by trading away a roster player for another top-six forward.