So, what are we talking about here? Just a quick glance at the title might suggest a return of Brian Burke, and his murderous level of BS to Canuck land. Or perhaps I’m completely of the rails, having not written anything about the Canucks all summer, switched my interest to a study of the danger of genetically altered bees.
Luckily, it’s none of the above. It’s the classic "good news/bad news" scenario. The Canucks, at least on paper (God, how many titles would the Canucks have by now if they just started playing this damn game on paper?), are positively teeming with talent. The bad news, it seems almost exclusively to be of the "B" level variety.
What kind of player is Ryan Kesler? Would it be fair to compare him to Jonathan Toews? If so, he’d probably be considered a "B" student compared to the "A" Toews would get. You see where I’m going with this . While Dan Hamhuis has bee a revelation during the preseason, how does he compare with his former teammate Shea Weber? Compared to other players of a similar style, age, skill and grittiness, wouldn’t we all feel comfortable giving players like Mason Raymond, Mikael Samuelsson, Alex Burrows, Alex Edler, and Christian Erhoff a "B" grade? Even newcomers like Manny Malhotra and Raffi Torres should probably considered at that level compared to the best third and fourth liners on other teams.
Of course we can’t leave out the former Captain. After four seasons in Vancouver, most Canucks fans should, I repeat should, be comfortable labeling Roberto Luongo a "B" level goalie. Putting him there is going to get me grief from Luongo Lovers and Bashers alike. The lovers get there panties in a bunch if Luongo is anointed to a position somewhere south of Messiah and the haters hate the player and the game. But, come on! He’s sometimes brilliant, often times inconsistent and periodically awful. As a student who received a fair share of "B"s, these are the hallmarks of a "B" student.
Now I don’t want this article to come across as negative. I’m excited to see if a truckload of this kind of talent can beat a team like the Blackhawks, with their collection of a couple of "A" level guys, a few "B"s and a bunch of "C"s, "D"s and "F"s everywhere else. Plus, there’s been talk that a couple of guys may skew the Canucks grade point average just a little. A couple of guys who may have made the jump from perpetual honour rollers, to top of the class, even working on some sort of advanced placement kinda stuff. Brothers, I think.