Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/29/13
You would be inclined to look at the lineup the Vancouver Canucks put out at Rogers Arena Monday night and point out the obvious, which is to say there is absolutely no depth on this team. And you'd most certainly be accurate. Sure they have some of their top nine forwards out of the lineup in Jannik Hansen, David Booth and perhaps even Jordan Schroeder, but even with all hands on deck they're a couple of forwards short. Thing is, if you took a moment and looked around the league, you'd quickly realize that even among the better teams in the league, depth of any quality is in massively short supply. Detroit Red Wings' and Canadian Olympic coach in Sochi Mike Babcock who was at Monday night's game noted the fact there were a lot of teams around the league with the same problem in a private little chat. And when you take a look at the Wings, a team which develops players as well as any in the league -- and is said to have an army of solid prospects, despite its traditional drafting position -- you see what he means. They are led in scoring by their traditional stars Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, both of whom have 12 points so far. Next is Daniel Alfredsson, the youngest of which is Z at 33. After that, their scoring falls off a steep cliff, just like a lot of other teams. There are simply too few good players to go around, or at least, too few who can make plays at the high level of speed at which the game is now played. The few teams that have a couple more players than the rest are likely to be the ones around when the Cup is being contested at the end, and they know it. And that's where the Canucks find themselves with the injuries they have, in arrears, with two lines they hope will succeed and two in which the rest of the bench prays when they go out. And just as was the case in most games in the recent road trip, those prayers were answered when goals from their loaded Sedin line with Ryan Kesler were enough to overcome the difficulties experienced by their other two lines, with both Tom Sestito and Brad Richardson coming up minus-2 but still contributing to a positive outcome. For a team which appears to have nowhere near enough firepower, what's particularly interesting about this run of good fortune is that it is getting no help from its power play. Despite six man-advantage opportunities and some pretty decent zone time Monday night, the Canucks still came up bagels, totally blowing out the window their longstanding excuse of insufficient opportunities. Given it's early in the season, some teams with the high-end types like the Canucks may not be concerned, but this is now a long-standing problem with no end in sight. The Canucks have now wallowed among the worst power plays in the league over the last 60 games played and it's likely to take more than just positive talk to change that.
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