Canucks Are Down, But Not Out

With the Canucks still searching for the key to success, it is easy to forget about and not realize the milestones many of the players have passed already this season. Often Canucks fans jump off the bandwagon as soon as their team starts playing poorly. However, the Canucks have a lot to be proud of, and the fan base needs to recognize that.

Since the first game, the Sedins have made it clear that they are not finished surpassing past Canucks in multiple areas; points, goals and assists included. It is not a one man effort either. With their insane passes and possible telepathy, it is doubtful that they would be successful without each other.

“You’ve got to be aware of it because they throw stuff behind their back,” said Jason Chimera of the Washington Capitals. “It’s just one of those things; you’ve got to be aware of the unexpected at all times.”

The home opener on October 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins was Henrik Sedin’s 500th consecutive game, a huge and impressive milestone. It is rare that players go through their hockey career without injuries or without being a healthy scratch. Henrik has played every game in eight of the ten seasons he has been with the Canucks. His “Iron Man Streak” continues as, if he plays 24 more consecutive games, he can pass Brendan Morrison who holds the Canucks’ record with 534 games.

Henrik has already passed Stan Smyl for third place in All-Time Canuck Career Points with a goal and an assist on October 20 against the Nashville Predators. He currently has 675 assists, and twin brother Daniel Sedin is close behind him with 666. While these milestones are big, the Sedins say little to nothing about them, remaining focused on the important task at hand – winning games and making it to the playoffs.

There is a possibility of the Sedins passing more markers this season, as Henrik could break into the top 100 NHL All-Time Assists list. Also, Daniel is currently tied for third place in the Canucks All-Time Goals with Pavel Bure. Both Daniel and Bure have 254 goals with the Canucks.

Luongo is thriving as well, despite what some may say. With only 14 more wins he can overtake Kirk McLean who holds the franchise record of 211 wins. Luongo is currently placed 21st in the NHL All-Time wins and 18th in the NHL All-Time Shutouts among hockey greats such as Turk Broda and Dominik Hasek. In fact, he already holds the Canucks franchise record for shutouts with 28; he has 55 career shutouts.

Within two years the Sedins and Luongo could hold almost all the Canucks’ franchise records for forwards and goalies. That is very impressive – it proves that these players have done a lot for their team and have worked extremely hard over the past couple of years to get to the place they are in right now.

The Canucks are currently struggling with their defense.  However one of them, Sami Salo, who has sat out the last two games because of his groin, is one of the best and most solid defensemen the Canucks have ever had. He brings experience to the ice and contributes to the scoring. The October 22nd game against the Minnesota Wild was his 700th career NHL game, having played 505 with the Canucks and the rest with the Ottawa Senators. He is also third in All-Time Canucks Goals for defensemen.

With veteran players flourishing, newcomers are as well. Dale Weise recorded his first career goal and first career assist on October 20 and 29, as the fourth line of Weise, Lapierre and Volpatti has been one of the most effective lines for the Canucks. Even so, head coach Alain Vigneault has juggled his lines and those three are not playing together at this point – hopefully Weise can find a position and teammates he is comfortable with and can keep racking up the points.

Cody Hodgson is also starting to show signs of gaining confidence on the ice. Over the past 14 games he has recorded five points, three of which are goals. This is already a vast improvement over the three points he had in 20 games with the Canucks last season.

“He’s been good,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. “He came to camp with a real strong focus and a real strong attitude, and everyday he’s been getting better. We’re real happy with his progression.”

Hopefully these statistics can bring into perspective how hard the Canucks are working to grow as a team and win some games. While numbers are not everything, and there are other aspects of the game of hockey to take into consideration, they are a good indicator of the way the team and its members have played. As the Canucks 41st season in the NHL continues, there are sure to be many more milestone-breakers and amazing individual achievements – but to succeed individually, the Canucks first have to succeed as a team.

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