Friday, September 26, 2008

A Brave New World

Mike Gillis is either very smart or very optimistic. Faced with $10 million of unfilled cap space, the freshly minted Vancouver Canucks GM declared via his players that a youth movement was taking place. Francesco Aquilini withheld those $10 million for the sheer, simple reason that the resulting roster space would allow some young shot to fill the boots purportedly intended for Mats Sundin. There's just one problem. No one knows if the youngsters can cut it.
Admittedly, the primary players we're talking about here - Michael Grabner, Cody Hodgson, Dan Gendur and Jannick Hansen have all become known for their offensive prowess but they have a combined 15 games of NHL experience between them. In actuality, Hansen, a former 9th round pick, accounts for all 15 of those games. Whilst unseasoned rookies have made huge impacts in a variety of sports - LeBron James, Sidney Crosby for example, the odds of our crop making aren't particularly high. Ridiculously, this is not for lack of talent, this is simply because Alain Vigneault - whose job was mercifully rescued by Gillis - does not have it in him to hand over the necessary minutes for a selection of the aforementioned players to make an impact. Instead, look for a mishmash of the perpetual grinders Rick Rypien, Mike Brown and PC Labrie on opening night. Viggy may have uttered the old, "if you're good enough, you're old enough" quote but all the same, he is synonymous with dull, defensive hockey the same that John McCain is synomous with dull, defensive politics.
However, this is a 2-dimensional realm of possibility. If it wasn't for the generosity of Gillis, Vigneault wouldn't have a job. At the same time, the new GM has said on several occasions that he will bring up-tempo, offensive hockey back to Vancouver. Gillis doesn't seem to the kind of guy that likes to joke around so perhaps, god willing, Vigneault will succumb to the pressure and take a leaf from Craig McTavish's book and give his talented rookies a chance. The media has been hinting at it for days and pre-season lines have reflected it, so here's to hoping.

This is what I'm talking about:




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