A day before the Canucks started a brisk two game home stand that welcomed the Flyers and later tonight the Penguins. The Canucks were going over some game film. Willie Desjardins was criticizing the Canucks newest rookies– Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann.
Both have had good starts to the season, Virtanen has added a physical presence that the Canucks have been lacking for quite some time. McCann has added offensive potential as Vancouver’s secondary goal scorer that is much-needed considering the aging Sedin twins are not the same players they were in 2009-2011.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with hockey, NHL players get drafted in the NHL at age 18 and are able to play in the NHL if ready. The way it happens is the high majority that most aren’t ready to play at the professional level at 18. This then allows them to get sent down to a Junior team that owns them in a U-20 league. For those who are unaware of Junior Hockey, it is the equivalent of something in between High School Football in the States and D1 College Basketball. Attendance can range from 3,000 to 18,000 depending on how big the city is and how good the team is. In McCann’s and Virtanen’s case, 19 year olds that encompass heaps of potential will be impactful on the team considering where the Canucks are in the organization. Therefore, Desjardins and the front office made a bold move to keep the two youngsters on the team. For the sake of a viral video, here’s a YouTube of the two making the team.
18 months removed from the John Tortorella experiment, the Canucks made a commitment to get younger and faster. After hiring fan favorite Trevor Linden as President of Hockey Operations, the Canucks quickly made it known that the team was “re-tooling and not “rebuilding”.
After surprising the hockey world last year with an 101 point season with help from last year’s rookie Bo Horvat and after most hockey annalists wrote the team off this year. The Canucks continue to prove critics wrong with an impressive 6-2-4 start.
Despite blowing four 3rd period leads, Canucks fans have to be happy with what has transpired in the early part of the season. McCann has tallied five goals and zero assists well in contrast, Virtanen has popped home his first NHL goal in Monday’s 4-1 win over the Flyers and has also dished out two assists.