December 8, 2006

Obligatory Canucks rant

For years, I knelt at the temple of Brian Burke, in awe of two things:

1) He assembled a marvelous nucleus of great in-their-prime players -- par exemple, Naslund, Morrison, Jovanovski, Salo, Ohlund, Carter, Cooke and the pre-Steve Moore Bertuzzi -- and promising youngsters such as the Sedins. He did this with a reasonable budget before the salary cap was forced upon everyone by that ugly lockout.

2. With all his team-building moxy, Burke for some strange reason decided to stand behind perennial loser Dan Cloutier.

With management's brilliant decision to oust Burke (and hey, what a surprise, Anaheim's where in the standings now?), the new guy had to show everyone he could play with the big boys. Dave Nonis displayed major-league stones by getting Roberto Luongo, but now he needs to buck up for a few scorers. Need a couple of ideas, Dave? Put those cojones aside to read this:

Tell Vigneault to bench the Swedes for a game or two. And hell, sit Sami Salo, too. Every blonde is playing like bonkers right now, and they're the only ones who are finding the net (even if it is only once a game). Not since Thomas Gradin have the Canucks seen so much Swedish stickhandling with so few goals to show for it. Shame them into scoring more, and embarrass the hell out of the rest of the crew when they play 55 minutes in the Canuck end of the rink without Markus, Daniel, Henrik and Mattias.

How about grabbing John LeClair off the wire? He may not be in his early 20's, but now that he cleared the first round of waivers, you'd only have to pay half his salary, with the Penguins grabbing the other. That's less than $800K for a proven veteran -- this guy has scored in the regular season and the playoffs (should we get there, we might need that experience), has killer power play instincts, and could teach a few guys how to hit the freakin' net on a 2-on-1.

Make a promise and keep it. Let fans know you actually care if there are ticks under the W column. If the Canucks don't make the playoffs, offer ticket refunds, or at the very least, reductions for next year. Hell, give out a few concession items at less than a 700% markup; something.

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