Monday, December 10, 2007

Who'd have thought it?

Really, who'd of thought it? My beloved Canucks are 11-3-2 since that "apocalyptic" early November match-up against the Nashville Predators. For the uninformed, the Nucks lost key blueliners Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo to freak, potentially career-threatening injuries. Yet through the red haze lurking around the Canucks forum after that encounter, seemingly with the Grim Reaper, several heart-warming storylines emerged.
Numero uno is the play of Alex Edler, native of Ostersund, Sweden. The rookie defenseman has been Vancouver's most consistent and is drawing rave reviews from Canuck fans. TSN (Canadian ESPN) has lauded him in their rookie rankings, and deservedly so, most Vancouver fans would argue. Then we've got the resurgence of Markus Naslund, who has recovered that laser wrist shot that escaped him in his prolonged post-lockout slump. Of course, Roberto "Luongod" Luongo has figured in his team's recovery, posting 4 shutouts in November after an unsightly October, drawing a NHL.COM 1st Star in the process. Yet what would we expect from ol' Bobby Lu?
Perhaps the most refreshing storyline has been the development of Ryan Kesler. The 23 year old had struggled since being drafted in the 1st round in 2003, but has carved out a niche for himself on Alain Vigneault's defense-first team, taking Marian Gaborik, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Jarome Iginla and...Sidney Crosby off their games, thus taking a huge amount of pressure off the aforementioned Luongo. All this for a guy who suffered two serious injuries and a family illness last year. The fire must be burning in his belly.
Yet my unsung hero is most certainly Curtis Sanford. The Owen Sound, Ont. native was establishing himself as St. Louis's starting netminder, but took a pay cut to back-up All-Star Roberto Luongo. Yet this brave decision has paid off. Through 3 starts, Sanford has picked up a 100% win record and a career-high .911 save percentage. Not bad for the undrafted 28 year old who just 8 years ago was languishing in the United Hockey League.
Oh and did I mention? The Canucks are 2nd in the West going to tonight's tilt with the Kings. Not bad for a team given little hope waaaaaay back in October.

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