Originally written January 15, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Not the G-R-O-I-N! Well, if you were worried about the Canucks second line before David Booth tweeked his groin, you’re going to be $hitting bricks today. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault confirmed today that Canucks winger will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a groin strain. According to the Canucks coach, the strain occurred Sunday morning during fitness testing. Vigneault also stated the injury wasn’t due to lack of training, but rather over training on Booth’s part. The injury couldn’t come at a worse time, the Canucks are already missing second line center Ryan Kesler for a still undetermined period of time, now that two-thirds of the second line is lost to injury for the foreseeable future. You can bet now with this news that Canucks GM Mike Gillis feels pressure to make a deal. Earlier in the week I wrote how I thought Andrew Ebbett would slot in as the number two center in Kesler’s absense, unless the Canucks acquired a center in a trade for goalie Roberto Luongo. The next step? The worst case scenario is that Booth is out six weeks, in a regular NHL season six weeks can come and go pretty quickly, but in a shortened season it could make the 15-17 games Booth will miss between feel like a century. For what it’s worth, at a six week recovery time, Booth’s first game of the season would be February 19th against the Blackhawks in Chicago. So what happens next? Either Mike Gillis rushes and makes a trade,  or the more likely option is that there is some internal competition and we see some players step up and try to grab on to that job as second line winger. If I’m a betting man, I’m choosing the latter. David Booth tweeked his groin…oh great. The Canucks will look internally to fill the spot on the second line, both at center and on the wing now. Who’s going to step up? Zack Kassian If there was ever a time to show that you belong in the top six, this is it. Zack Kassian has had a good start to his AHL season, but battled with inconsistency at times in the 28 games he played. It’s time for him to come in and make that spot his. He needs to make it so the coaching staff has a very difficult decision to make when Booth returns from injury. Chris Higgins Mr. Underrated Canuck. Chris Higgins probably has the better chance at landing the job on the second line, he played on it a lot last season and his versatile style of play makes the transition from third line to second pretty easy. In a perfect world perhaps both Kassian and Higgins make it on to the second line while Mason Raymond drops to the third line in a checking role. Jannik Hansen Hansen scored 16 goals last season, perhaps that and a strong camp are enough to warrant a spot on the second line? Hansen has the speed and skill set, so maybe this is the year he steps up and breaks free from that bottom six role? I could think if a few players who I wouldn’t want to see there and Hansen isn’t one of them. It’s not a now or never situation with these guys, but I think its time at least two of the three grab the bull by the horns and claim that second line spot. Experience wise, I would think Higgins lands it, however I would like to see Kassian take it and make whoever wants it from him rip it from his hands. Season is still four days a way and we’re already missing 2/3 of the second line. Time for some guys to step up. CLICK HERE NOW TO CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSPORTSBEAT!
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