It was Roberto Luongo who topped TEAM 1040′s poll this morning of issues which worry Canucks’ fans most.
If the team’s biggest issue to start training camp is a goalie who was a Vezina finalist last year, it should qualify under “rich people’s problems.”
Luongo was the runaway pick by 62% of the respondents while 32% chose replacing Christian Ehrhoff and just 6% were worried about the second line. That’s a second line which will be without Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler. They are both out indefinitely, head coach Alain Vigneault said in his Friday press conference.
The Canucks weren’t exactly worried about any of this as they arrived Friday for their physicals. They universally claimed the short summer didn’t faze them, and no one is expecting a Stanley Cup final hangover. Oh, and the offseason news that Ehrhoff had turned his 50-point season into a $40-million deal with the Buffalo Sabres isn’t a worry at all.
“I don’t think we lost anything,” Henrik Sedin said, bluntly.
Wait a minute. Doesn’t Henrik remember Ehrhoff’s 24 minutes a game and his 28 power play points? How could Henrik just dismiss the loss of the $40-million man?
“He was in a spot where we have other guys who can step up and play in that role,” Henrik continued. “Alex (Edler) is going to get more responsibility. We have a healthy Sami Salo now. We have a lot of guys who are going play a few more minutes.
“We have Chris Tanev who is coming up and he played great when he played last year.
“I think on the back end we were very deep last year and we are as deep this year.”
Daniel said he was actually looking forward to life without Ehrhoff.
“I’m excited for it,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to see who is going to step up and take that roll.”
We’ll see how long the excitement lasts. The Canucks struggled when Ehrhoff hurt his shoulder during the San Jose series. In the Stanley Cup final, Ehrhoff could barely shoot the puck and the unit suffered, going 2-for-33.
One of the key players in helping fill the Hoff void this season should be Dan Hamhuis. He is almost fully recovered from offseason sports hernia surgery. Hamhuis has been cleared for contact and will be skating with his teammates during this weekend’s training camp. But the team is expected to ease him in slowly during the preseason to ensure he’s ready for the start of the regular season.
“The defencemen who are coming back will need to step up,” Hamhuis said. “Christian put up a lot of points for us back there that we’re going to have to make up.
“We have forwards who can play the point. We have a lot of D who are capable of doing that too. A lot of the guys who are coming back look really fresh, ready to take on a big role.”
Hamhuis could find himself on the point on the second power play with Kevin Bieksa if, as expected, both Edler and Salo quarterback PP 1.