Fireside chats with Wyatt: Bobby Sanguinetti Edition

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With the Canucks surviving the California trip and flirting with first place in the NHL (I’ve heard rumors first place is seeing other people), what better time than now to have another fireside chat where we can all gather around and share stories of players we hate, players we like, and Lucas Sbisa. 

Also, it got really cold, really fast in Vancouver, so a fireplace is sorely needed. Read more past the jump!

– Rhys wrote a really good piece detailing just what kind of player Bobby Sanguinetti is in the off-season, and I have to admit, I have been keeping my eye on him since I heard the Canucks had signed him. 

You see, I have this strange sickness where I think every failed first rounder is going to turn it around in Vancouver. That they are going to “find their groove” and then before you know it, the Canucks are laughing all the way to the bank as they now have a new star player on their hands.

I did it with Ryan Parent. I did it with Steve McCarthy. I did it with Nolan Baumgartner. I went overboard and did with Kyle Wellwood (I own his jersey. Yep.) I didn’t do it with Cam Barker, because even I couldn’t lie to myself about that one, but my point remains that I love the underdog stories. There is just something about them that I love rolling the dice on.

I have trained myself not to go over the top anymore, but part of me still thinks Bobby Sanguinetti can join the team and maybe bump Weber from that 7th bubble spot on the team. Both of them are right handed shots. Both of them are offensively gifted. Both of them have trouble in their own end. 

The only difference is, Sanguinetti is 6″3 and Weber is 5″11, and that’s only when he’s reaching for the peanut butter on the top shelf.

Now, I don’t believe advanced stats has a direct category for puck battles won along the boards yet, but I want there to be one because that is one of my favorite parts of the game. I love watching guys like Higgins or Matthias go balls out in the corner, digging away and coming up with the puck.

Weber had trouble doing this the last several games. In fact, one fellow in press row watched Weber lose yet another puck battle and shook his head and told me “I bet they call up Sanguinetti.”

So I am very interested to see if Sanguinetti can play up to that size in his own end when he one day gets his chance with the big club, and not get pushed off the puck so easily. I know battles for that elusive 7th d-man spot are not typically front and center for many people, but again, I can’t help but roll the dice on the underdogs.

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– People need to learn to enjoy the small things in life. Case in point, the Canucks were in first/tied for first in the league for a day. 

This is a fun moment, one that fans should take pleasure in.

Does it mean you should taunt other fans, and start planing parade routes? Of course not. You should never go full Bertuzzi.

But after the gong show that was last year, take a moment out of your day and enjoy the fact the Canucks had a pretty good start to the year. The team is playing an exciting brand of hockey, the Sedins look like the Sedins again, and the Canucks have the ability to roll four lines.

Could it all come crashing down? Of course it could. But at least it the season didn’t start off like burning trash, so try and enjoy the wins while you can.

Remember, it could be worse. It could be far worse…

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– Watching Thomas Drance defend Hansen (though to be fair, he enjoys poking people’s Hansen buttons just for the hell of it) has been exhausting. 

I don’t mean that as a dig against Drance, mind you. I quite agree with Thom in that Hansen is a great bottom six guy, and has played very well this year in that role. It’s actually odd to me the amount of hate Hansen sometimes gets.

It’s when Hansen goes to the top line, and then it turns into Drance vs the World that I have to quickly tap out. I think at one point Drance started busting out Steve Bernier scoring rates, which was when I started screaming and ran for the hills.

Hansen on the top line is frustrating to watch because he isn’t Vrbata. Hell, he isn’t Anson Carter and he isn’t Alex Burrows. People have long memories of watching the Sedins struggle to deal with Trent “Dead weight”, Taylor “Look into my eyes” Pyatt and even for a brief spell Brad “Friendly Giant” Isbister.

That is why people will never enjoy watching Hansen on the top line. His inability to score tap ins or breakaways is the leading cause of broken TV’s in BC as it brings back bad memories of previous Twin linemates. There is a reason people fondly remember Jason King as he could was one of the first guys who could actually put a puck into an empty net.

But as a bottom six guy, or a platoon guy with the Twins while Vrbata heals up? Hell yeah, I’ll take me some Hansen. Dude can’t score on a breakaway to save his life, but he back checks like a demon and is working those corners hard. He was also instrumental in the turnover that led to the overtime winner against Ottawa.

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– Shawn Matthias seems like he would enjoy playing shorthanded ALL OF THE TIME.

Everyone of course remembers his infamous shorthanded goal from several years ago, back when people first started banging the “Trade for Matthias” drum:

And while Matthias started off slow this season, the last several games he has really upped his game. He is one of those annoying people you play against that have a long reach, have good speed, and don’t let up when they chase you down.

Matthias is very aggressive when penalty killing, as he keeps his legs moving and forces players into turning over the puck or hurrying their passes by hunting them down without remorse. 

He goes hard after the puck in the offensive zone on the kill, which many players won’t do for fear of being caught up ice if the puck gets past them.

Matthias, though, has enough speed that he can gun for it in the corner, and if the guy pushes the puck past him, he can still get back into the play and back check away.

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– I know Nick Bonino’s shooting percentage is unsustainable at 18.9%, but man alive, if there is one guy I would want to be on a two on one on the Canucks, it’s this guy.

He doesn’t even THINK of passing. He almost looks upset that the other guy is even there with him in the first place. He just picks his spot, and before you know it, there is a laser beam going off and a hole in the net.

His shot is so quick. I love it.

– And what better way to end an article then with Eddie Lack and Ryan Miller wearing Mario and Luigi hats? My only question is, who decided who got to be Mario?

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  • Smithertime

    It does crack me up that Lack is wearing the Mario hat. Particularly because Miller starts with and M and Lack starts with an L. Goalie ranking aside, those two hats really should be switched!

  • Smithertime

    About Hansen, if he has to platoon on an offensive line I think he would actually thrive as a play-maker on a line with shooters (e.g. if in injury he had to line up with Bonino and Higgins/ Burr/ Vey) I would feel comfortable, since that would be a two-way line and each guy would be able to fill in a role. As well, if there’s a power-play unit that needs passing or defensive ability to patch up for mistakes I think he could be a solid option to play on the blue-line since he does have speed and good vision.

    However, I just don’t see him as a fit with the Twins as he doesn’t have the shoot-first mentality or abrasiveness in front of the net to thrive in a complementary role next to them.