October 16 2009 04:06PM
Michael Grabner - your window of opportunity is open, but only a crack. You had better grab that window and throw it open quickly before it slams shut on you.
The Vancouver Canucks have bestowed a wonderful opportunity on 22-year-old Michael Grabner. With Daniel Sedin out 4 weeks with a broken foot, Grabner has been placed on the top line with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. Henrik is a quintessential playmaker and Burrows blossomed into a bona fide goal scorer last season.
Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault have both made it abundantly clear that Grabner had better make the most of this chance. If not, he will likely find himself with the Manitoba Moose permanently this season, or he'll find himself in another organization. Grabner's window of opportunity is open, but closing rapidly.
There are many fans who think that Grabner needs to pay his dues before his gets top-line minutes. They feel that he has to earn his spot on the first line after proving himself through hard work on the third or fourth line.
That is utter horsesh*t.
Michael Grabner is a goal scorer. He is not a fighter. He is not a checker. He is not a shut-down player. There is absolutely no point in letting Grabner toil on the bottom two lines, where he cannot do what he does best. As a goal scorer, in order to see his full capabilities, you need to surround him with the quality players that will help him do his best. If he cannot shine in the next three to five games playing alongside the team's best playmaker, then he will not survive on this team.
The other fact that should put pressure on Grabner is the fact that Sergei Shirokov is waiting in the wings to get another shot with the Canucks, to prove he can shake off his rust and stick around in the big show.
So Michael, your time is now. Your coach and manager have both told you so. And you have a teammate just chomping at the bit to take your place, if you fail. It's time to put up or shut up.