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Canucks Watch: Reasons for optimism

Rory Boylen
By:
The Hockey News
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Canucks Watch: Reasons for optimism

Rory Boylen
By:

There are a lot of negative points to the start of the Canucks season that’ll make fans legitimately second guess how good this team actually is and to make the players feel the grip of pressure take hold.

But it’s a long season and all is far from lost.

While the bragging rights of the Canadian west coast currently lie with the two Alberta cities – who are a combined 3-0 against Vancouver – the Canucks have plenty of time to snag them back. Even though it’s been a slow start, there are a few things Canuck fans can take solace in that’ll eventually start contributing to a climb up the standings.

Mason Raymond: Take one look at his stats – one goal, minus-1 in eight games – and you might call me crazy for labeling his play as a reason for optimism. But the 2005 second round pick is taking his speed and lanky frame to the front of the net with the puck more often and is screaming into corners to force decisions by opposing defenders. While it hasn’t paid off yet, Raymond’s 26 shots are third on the team and tied for 18th in the league. If he keeps going to the tough places on the ice, the results will come.

The power play:
Even though it was snake-bitten in a 2-1 loss at Edmonton when they really could have used a boost, the Canucks rank eighth in the league with an extra-man efficiency rating of 26.5 percent. As the year goes on, the Canucks will get Pavol Demitra, Sami Salo, Mathieu Schneider and Daniel Sedin back, which will only improve what has already been a successful advantage.

Roberto Luongo:
No matter what numbers Luongo has posted in the past, it seems the first part of this season has erased all memory of what the face of the franchise is capable of. Sure Luongo hasn’t started very well, but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think he’ll be at the top of the list for team MVP nominations in April. He was impeccable in wins over Dallas, Montreal and Minnesota and can’t be blamed for the loss against Edmonton. He’s Roberto freakin’ Luongo folks and any team would be lucky to have him between the pipes.

This article also appeared in the Vancouver Metro newspaper.

Rory Boylen is TheHockeyNews.com's web content specialist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog will appear regularly in the off-season.

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Canucks Watch: Reasons for optimism