Riding the bus
On Monday, the Vancouver Canucks announced that oft-injured winger David Booth would be sent to their AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets.
While it isn’t a permanent vacation for the overpaid and under-performing winger, one has to wonder if this is really about conditioning, or rather message from the coaching staff and management to David Booth.
The Canucks made Booth a healthy scratch Oct. 22 against the New York Islanders. Canucks coach John Tortorella told the media that he felt like Booth wasn’t doing enough to play. Ouch.
David Booth is headed to the AHL (Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Gety Images).
Two nights later against the New Jersey Devils, Booth left the game in the first with a groin injury; the same injury that has forced him to miss the last four games.
In his absence, we’ve seen Darren Archibald, Andrew Alberts, Yanick Weber and Jeremy Welsh play; even Pascal Pelletier managed to get a game in with the Canucks.
Interestingly enough, the Canucks only lost one of the games that Booth has missed, including the Oct. 22 game against the Isles.
Of course, that’s not to say that the aforementioned players are better or are in any way a suitable replacement for Booth, but it says something about his game currently.
Since coming to Vancouver, Booth has missed 62 games, including four playoff games. What makes this seem so much worse is that he’s only played 79 games with the team.
Sending a Message
Is it possible that this conditioning stint is a warning of the things to come if Booth isn’t able to stay in the lineup and improve his game? That’s hard to say. It should be noted that Booth is the only player who is coming off of an injury this season to get a trip to the AHL for conditioning. Heck, even Jordan Schroeder was thrown back into the lineup quicker than Booth.
If the Canucks are unable to get the most out of Booth, he could be looking at apartments in Utica and the surrounding area. Of course, they could trade him, but who wants to take on an under-producing, oft-injured winger that has a hefty contract?
Booth practiced today with the team, participated in battle drills and told reports he was close to returning.
I suppose at that point he hadn’t heard he would be heading to Utica to dress with the Comets, who have a home game against the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday, followed by road games on Thursday and Friday against the Lake Eerie Monsters.
How long he remains with the Comets isn’t certain, but without putting him on waivers, on a conditioning stint, the longest he can stay with the team is two weeks.
For now, Booth will have to show that he belongs in the NHL and with the Canucks. Enough is enough, it’s time for Booth to step up and stay healthy, also showing why he was signed to the seemingly ridiculous contract he is under for at least this season and next.
Though, if he keeps it up, this will be the last season he makes $4.25 million dollars.
I’d bet money on it.
CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!