Image via The Stanchion
There has been very, very, very little to get excited about or provide reasons for optimism moving forward from the Vancouver Canucks in 2014 thus far. They’ve gone 5-16-3 in the new year, having been outscored by a 73-39 margin. That’s 1.63 goals/game for those of you that don’t have a calculator handy. To put that figure into context: the Buffalo Sabres, ranked 30th in goals/game on the season, are at 1.95 on the year.
Every which way you look at it, things have been bad; the best goaltender in the franchise’s history was dealt, one of the two best players on the team asked out and after not being traded is now forced to play out the remainder of the season with this giant cloud looming overhead, and there have been intimations that both the GM and coach are lame ducks at this point. That’s atop all of the losing and mind-numbingly boring play every time they hit the ice.
Maybe they’ll be slightly more palatable now that they’ve finally given in to the cries and pleas from their fans, and called up their ’11 1st rounder and highly regarded offensive prospect, Nicklas Jensen.
This is an interesting development on a couple of fronts. First off, just two days ago, the team’s Assistant GM Laurence Gilman said that Jensen wasn’t “ready” yet. But with Zack Kassian now out of the lineup with a suspension, and the team playing a couple of home games in a row, it certainly makes sense that they’d try to appease the fans and try to sell some tickets.. because those Flames, Islanders (sans Tavares, Vanek) matchups on the docket look pretty irredeemable.
Beyond the hype and PR stunt, there’s also the very real possibility that Jensen could actually help the team out by putting a couple of pucks into the net while up here, as well. He only has 15 goals in 51 games down in Utica, but keep in mind the context. As I write in length for the Prospect Midterm Report a few weeks back, Jensen has done a fine job of turning his season around and salvaging it after an abysmal start.
It’ll be interesting to see how he’s used. I figure that they wouldn’t be giving in and calling him up at this point just to have him play a couple of minutes on the 4th line and sit on the bench for the rest of the time. Hopefully he’ll be given at least a sniff of a scoring line (next to Henrik Sedin, please) but I can’t help but shake this terrible feeling that he’s going to fall through the cracks on a line with Matthias (/Richardson) and Sestito. I attribute that skepticism to all the years of watching the Vancouver Canucks.
@Thats_Offside beggars can’t be choosers.
— Jordan Clarke (@yyjordan) March 7, 2014
Regardless, the #JensenTrain is coming to your television sets on Saturday night. Even if he doesn’t make an immediate impact, at least this news provides something that has been difficult to come by around these parts lately: hope, and a reason to watch.