Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/31/13
The Nucks +/- Well, we’re all done the month of January and I thought it would be alright to go through which Canucks players have stuck out and which have maybe stunk out. This is the first and certainly not the last, the Plus/Minus of the month. The Plus Zack Kassian: Whodda thunk it? Zack Kassian in seven games is leading the team in goals with five. One could attribute his production to who his two line mates are, maybe you’re right, but Kass has shown a ton of improvement in all areas of his game. Zack Kassian in seven games is leading the team in goals with five. More importantly: he’s been consistent. Mason Raymond: Don’t bleach your eyes. I put down Mason Raymond. Not only has he scored three times in seven games, but he’s looked solid in a offensive/checking role. I know it’s early, but it looks like Raymond has really turned things around. I know I could be eating a big helping of crow on this, but that’s something I’m alright with. Chris Tanev/Keith Ballard: There may only be one point between the two of them, but you have to look past their contributions (or lack thereof) on the score sheet. They have probably been the most consistent D pairing so far this season. I know, young game, seven games in and they play less minutes, but it’s been refreshing to see Keith Ballard playing well. Jordan Schroeder: What a pleasant surprise Jordan Schroeder has been. He hasn’t been lighting it up, in fact he only has one point, but he’s been a solid player when called upon to play. He’s had scoring chances, and why wouldn’t he? He’s seen power play time and in part I think has helped Mason Raymond get going. Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider: Cory Schneider hasn’t had a great start, I mean his first was a dud, but he made up for it with a 5-0 shutout against the same Ducks that ran him out of the net on opening night. I don’t fault him for his game against the Sharks so much because there were some bad defensive errors and giveaways that lead to goals. So, I think Schneider gets a plus from me. Luongo most certainly does, not simply because of his play this season but because of his attitude and how he’s handled every thing. A+, for both goalies. Controversy? What Controversy… The Minus Kevin Bieksa: Kevin Bieksa has been the least impressive player, or at least on defense. He’s made too many bad reads that lead to odd-man rushes and goals. He hasn’t seemed like himself and to an extent I think it rubbed off on Dan Hamhuis a little. While I’m not worried about Hamhuis bouncing back (which he will), but I’m worried about Bieksa. Chris Higgins: Chris Higgins has been the biggest dud for me so far. I know, he’s not just there to score goals, I’m not one of those “he isn’t scoring, so trade him!” guys. This is more than his offensive output, or again lack thereof. It’s about the play in the other two zones which has me a little down on Higgins so far. His play in his own zone hasn’t been top notch, he has shown flashes though. His reads and coverage in the D-zone has been very “meh”, in my opinion, he isn’t winning puck battles or first on loose pucks like we’re accustomed to seeing from Higgins. But, I think he’ll rebound, it’s seven games in and I think he’ll make out OK once he gets going. For now though, he’s a minus. Jason Garrison: I’m not going to trash Jason Garrison, maybe my expectations were a little lofty but I think I expected a little more. Him and Alex Edler haven’t been the best pairing and at times Garrison has looked really weak on D. He’s also had a few costly turnovers that resulted in pucks going into the back of the Canucks net. However, it’s still early and I think, or I hope at least, he can turn it around and not be a minus when we do this again in February. Special Teams: Perhaps the most inconsistent part of the team this year has been their special teams. The power play gets hot in Anaheim, lays eggs the next night. I know all teams have bad nights with their special teams, but when you’re gifted chances with the man advantage you need to capitalize on those chances. The same goes for the penalty kill: it needs to be better, it needs to find a rhythm and stay with it. Last night was a great night for both units. The Nucks killed off all their penalties and were able to score one with a man up. Hoping it turns around once some bodies come back, or sooner. Even Alex Edler: I’m going to give Alex Edler an “even”. While his play in his own zone hasn’t been top notch, he has shown flashes that it’s there with big hits, some solid plays and of course having six points in seven games. Edler gets an even this month, lets hope he makes it into the plus column next month. Henrik and Daniel Sedin: The twins haven’t been in typical Sedin form, but they haven’t stunk either. Maybe they need to get warmed up so we can see some consistent offensive zone cycles, beautiful no look passes and goals that make you want to slap your momma. I’m not down on them at this point, I think they’re going to come out of it, that’s why they’re even. They’ll get going. After all Henrik Sedin + Daniel Sedin = Sedinery…right? CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN THE CLUBHOUSE TODAY!
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