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Plan 9 From GM Place

Well, credit where credit is due, folks.

Since November 17, your lovable Vancouver Canucks have put up an impressive 16-10-5 record, collecting 37 points along the way. That’s good enough for a 0.597 points percentage, which would have put them 12th overall if they had been winning at that pace all season.

So it’s great to see that Jim Benning’s hard work finally paying off with on ice results.

It’s during this time that you can really see the value of character guys like Derek Dorsett. His contribution has been felt both on and off the ice, as he shows the kids how to win and really carries the culture of this team on his shoulders.

Speaking of their young prospects, it’s great to see Virtanen really developing as a professional in a winning atmosphere like this. It’s clear that there was nothing more to be learned in the minors and he’s now an invaluable piece of this winning roster.

But all of this pales in comparison to the beefed up blue line. You can see now how opposing forwards skate tentatively through the neutral zone with their heads up, cringing as they scan the ice for Erik Gudbranson’s hulking figure. And their power play has never looked better, now that it’s being run by Philip Larsen. Nobody walks the line better than Larsen, and the results speak for themselves.

Up front, Brandon Sutter has been nothing if not spectacular as a foundational player, really leading the way and carrying the load both offensively and defensively, giving Horvat the time to develop slowly into that defensive role that he’s destined for. By the same token, Jannik Hansen is really showing why it makes no sense to trade him for draft picks that won’t be making this kind of impact for years, if at all. I mean, where would they be without the speed and scoring he has provided over the last two months?

Finally, I cannot understate how important it was for Benning to go out and acquire [veteran 20-goal scorer]. He paid a steep price, giving up picks in the next two drafts, but there’s simply no way that the Canucks would be sitting just one point out of a Wild Card spot with two games in hand had they not taken the bold move to bring in [veteran 20-goal scorer].

So good on you, Jim. I know I’ve been one of your harshest critics, but even I can’t argue with the way everything has worked out just the way you said it would.

The results speak for themselves.

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