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Canucks Hit Quarter Mark With Mixed Results

BY JESSY DHILLON

JESSYDHILLONThe Vancouver Canucks are almost at thequarter mark of the 2013-2014 NationalHockey League season with a record of11 wins, 7 losses and 3Overtime/shootout losses. The Canuckshave already played 13 away games whichincluded a seven game Eastern road tripthat saw them go an impressive 5-1-1.Their only loss came on the second nightof a back to back against Columbus. Theteam currently sits 5th in the Pacific divisionwhich is considered the best divisionin hockey.The division features four strong teamsSan Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim andPhoenix. Calgary and Edmonton areboth in the division also but are strugglingand look to not be a factor to makethe playoffs.Positives: The twins are having anotherstellar season proving that age has notgot to them yet. They were awardedbrand new contracts two weeks ago thatwill keep them in Vancouver until theyretire. They are benefiting and embracingthe extra minutes they are getting underJohn Totorella. The twins along withRyan Kesler have one of the most dangerouslines in the NHL.At the start of the season I called outMike Santorelli and Brad Richardson hasplayers who I thought would not make animpact for the Canucks this season, boywas I wrong! Mike Santorelli has been asteal of a deal for Mike Gillis, the hometownboy is relishing the opportunity hewas given playing for Vancouver. He iscurrently centering the second line withChris Higgins and Alex Burrows.Roberto Luongo finally had an Octoberwhere he has not struggled and postedpretty good numbers.He has been a team player and has notshown any ill-will towards the team inregards to him still being a VancouverCanucks player. Roberto’s backup: EddieLack has shown that he is a viable backup for this team and has looked impressivein his starts. Now I know that I bashMike Gillis a lot but he has done a decentjob this season.The hiring of John Totorella has lookedto given this team an edge that was lackingunder Alain Vigneault. The pick-upof Mike Stanton has looked like a geniusmove on Gillis’ part. Stanton has fit innicely on defense for the Canucks.I must hand it to the Canucks; they arebeating teams they should beat and notgiving up ground in the standings.The alarming thing is that they are under.500 against teams in their division. Theycannot afford to lose too much groundwithin the division games or they willhave a tough time making the playoffs. Atthis point I feel that the Canucks do nothave a team to compete with the Sharks,Kings and Ducks.Negatives: The Canucks have no depth atthe forward lines, even though Santorellihas been a pleasant surprise as the secondline centre, I feel the Canucks musttry to upgrade at the 2nd line centre position.That would push back Santorelli tothe 3rd line and then Canucks wouldhave good depth at the centre position.In order to get that 2nd line centre, theCanucks must look to make a tradebecause I feel Ryan Kesler is better onthe wing than he is at the centre position.The Canucks have a lot of money tied upon their defense; they would have to bewilling to part with one of their coredefensemen in order to acquire a secondline centre.The season is still young, but it will go byfast. The Canucks must continue beatingthe teams they should beat and also competewith the top teams in their division.Unlike the days of being in theNorthwest and just cakewalking over therest of the division, they will be in a dogfightto even make the playoffs.So buckle up Canucks fans, you’ll be infor one hell of a roller coaster ride of aseason!

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