Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/23/13
John Tortorella is assembling the puzzle pieces that are his Vancouver Canucks and he still doesn’t know just where Zack Kassian fits. It’s clear he’d like Kassian to slide in alongside the Sedin twins on Vancouver’s first line and develop into the type of power forward many project him to be. So far that Kassian puzzle piece hasn’t exactly snapped into place. The 22-year-old has had a rather ordinary pre-season to date. Kassian is scheduled to play with the twins again tonight when the Canucks 0-3 in the pre-season after Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Edmonton play host to the Phoenix Coyotes at Rogers Arena. “I’m not sure where it goes” Tortorella said of Kassian after Sunday’s practice “I think that is a big part of my job trying to figure out players as I get to know them. I think he has done some good things he has worked on his conditioning here in camp. “From all players we want more how I get to him and where it goes between him and I and the team we’ll attack that each day as far as how responsible he is and how he continues to try and improve his game.” Kassian played without the twins in Edmonton and was not particularly effective. He did not register a hit or a shot on goal in his 16 minutes of ice time and faces a league disciplinary hearing Monday morning for his careless high stick late in the second period that broke the jaw of Edmonton centre Sam Gagner. Where Kassian ends up in the lineup affects how the rest of the lines are assembled. “You are talking about a guy that could be playing with the Sedins and then it trickles down to what the other lines look like” Tortorella said. “But if he can’t do it and I’m not sure if he can or can not then you are robbing for that line and then where do the other lines fit? It’s like any situation within our lines we’re trying to see who fits and he’ll play with them (the Sedins) tomorrow if everything goes OK with his hearing and we’ll continue to assess it.” Kassian was preaching patience on Sunday. “There are things we did better as a team in the last game” he said. “We were better on the forecheck I think guys are starting to get their legs back and now it’s just a matter of making plays creating plays holding onto the puck. We are not getting much time in the offensive zone right now. That’s going to come.” Perhaps sensing the need for a pre-season win Tortorella is dressing a veteran-laden lineup Monday night against the Coyotes. The Canucks did not take the Sedins Ryan Kesler Alex Burrows Roberto Luongo Kevin Bieksa or Jason Garrison to Edmonton. All of them are expected to play Monday night.
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