A commenter in the game thread capped it perfectly: The Canucks aren't in bad shape. They have God at one end (Luongo) and the Pope at the other.
The Ducks came out strong to start the game but Roberto Luongo had an answer for everything as he completely shut them down, allowing the Canucks to slowly take over the game and win 3-0. As this preseason goes along, heroes are emerging. Guys that are trying to crack the lineup once the real season starts.
Sergei Shirokov stole the show against the Islanders with 2 goals. Cory Schneider and Andrew Raycroft also looked great in that game.
Last night against the Ducks, another player emerged.
Defenceman Aaron Rome, acquired as a free agent this summer had a monster of a game, scoring once while pinching in deep on the rush, registering 6 shots (more than any other Canuck), and playing 20:33. He finished a +2. The 26 year-old has put up some decent numbers in the WHL and NHL (including a few fighting majors here and there), but has only managed 3 points in 26 career NHL games. Given more minutes he really showed us what he can do. Can he keep this up?
I thought Alexandre Bolduc put in a gutsy effort as well. He didn't manage any points, but showed a lot of determination, faceoff skills, and..well..Steve Bernier owes him one after Bolduc stepped in and fought a Matt McCue in place of Bernier. Tanner Glass also did the same thing for Ryan Johnson.
Speaking of Bernier: he looked great didn't he? So did Kyle Wellwood and Mason Raymond. Those 3 look pretty decent as a unit, continuing on from last season. Is it worth breaking them up? I don't think so. They combined for 4 points.
I wasn't overly impressed with Michael Grabner or Mikael Samuelsson. Neither player really stood out. Grabner's speed is evident, but he's just not getting many quality chances. Samuelsson hardly stood out at all until the 3rd and even then it was sporadic.
But the positives far outweigh the negatives with the Canucks right now. 2 games 2 wins. Only 1 goal against. Luongo looks poised and possessed. I don't think we will need to worry about him. Ryan Johnson is an animal. I don't remember him skating like that before. Kevin Bieksa looks like a guy that can anchor this defence. Brad Lukowich isn't recognizable because he's not flashy, but he's a steady defenceman that keeps it simple.
All this and Cody Hodgson hasn't even played yet.
Mind you, it's still early in preseason, but some of these guys must have management scratching their heads on what to do with them. I mean that in a good way. In the end, some of these guys are either going to the minors, the waiver wire or traded. They will either help the Moose greatly or bring the Canucks more return value in a trade. There are some guys who were considered potential locks to stay on the Canucks that maybe are not anymore. It's just a question of who.
May the best man win so that management ices the best team possible this year. This is going to get very interesting.