Baertschi Struggling to Stay Positive While he Finds his Offence

Jeff Paterson
November 23 2016 11:00AM

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin - USA TODAY Sports

Sven Baertschi’s biggest challenge these days isn’t putting the puck in the net, although that's certainly near the top of his list.

No, his greatest struggle right now is to convince himself he’s playing well when he has very little to show for his efforts. Stuck on just one goal and six points 19 games into the season, Baertschi does not shy away from the fact he hasn’t had the productive start he and the Vancouver Canucks were a.

Rewarded with a two-year, $3.7 million contract in the summer after netting 15 goals last season – 10 of them after Christmas – Baertschi hoped to pick up in October where he left off last spring. Unfortunately, he appears stuck in the same rut he was 12 months ago when he couldn’t buy a goal.

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U of North Dakota coach not surprised by Stecher; not worried about Boeser

Jeff Paterson
November 17 2016 11:00AM

Dane Jackson admits he’s had to rearrange his schedule a couple of times in the few weeks Troy Stecher's patrolled the Vancouver Canucks blueline. He wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see the young defenseman as he made the jump from college hockey to the big leagues. Jackson, a former Canucks winger in the mid-1990’s, is now an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota where he worked with Stecher for the past four seasons, including last year when UND won a national championship.

He’s managed to catch a couple of Canucks games on television and is delighted to see Stecher looking like the same player he knew at the NCAA level – only Stecher is now holding his own in the best league on the planet.

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Virtanen back with Canucks but not yet ready to get back in the line-up

Jeff Paterson
November 14 2016 03:07PM

After a weekend in Utica, Jake Virtanen was back on the ice with the Vancouver Canucks at the team’s Monday morning practice at Rogers Arena. It may be a while yet, however, before the big winger returns to the team’s line-up.

Sent to the American Hockey League for two games in an attempt to recapture his waning confidence, Virtanen failed to make any noticeable impact in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Lehigh Valley. A night later, Virtanen registered a game-high six shots on goal and while he didn’t figure in the scoring felt he was able to leave his mark on the contest – a game the Comets won 3-2 in overtime.

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Going home: could this be the final time Montreal native Burrows plays in his hometown?

Jeff Paterson
November 01 2016 01:00PM

Don’t be surprised if Alex Burrows takes a moment or two at the end of Wednesday’s game at the Bell Centre in Montreal to soak in the atmosphere. And it’s easy to understand if he does. There’s a strong possibility this may be the last time he has the opportunity to play a National Hockey League game in his hometown. As an aging veteran on an expiring contract in a league seemingly getting faster by the day, the Canucks winger knows he can’t play this game forever.

Now, a trade or another contract may provide future chances to play in the La Belle Province, but there are no guarantees at this stage of Burrows’ career. So expect the 35-year-old to run the gamut of emotions as he returns to the Canucks line-up to start a grueling six game in nine nights road trip. While nostalgia may enter the equation, Burrows insists he’s far more motivated to help his hockey club get back on the right track after five straight losses.

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With Virtanen it's confidence issues, not injuries, holding him back right now

Jeff Paterson
October 26 2016 03:49PM

While there is much concern from the outside about the health of Jake Virtanen’s shoulder these days, the bigger issue seems like a crisis of confidence for the second year Vancouver Canuck power forward. Virtanen has yet to leave a mark on any of the five games he’s played this season and following an optional practice the morning after a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators, Virtanen admitted he’s struggling to find the form that made him effective in the second half of his rookie season.

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