How's this for a good morning message?
The shortest summer in franchise history unofficially ended Monday when a group of eight returned to the ice and began structured workouts ahead of main training camp opening on Sept. 16. The Canucks’ National Hockey League season begins in 37 days.
Make that 36 days as of this morning. So no use bitchin' about
game three four six seven the Finals anymore right now, let's get to the meet and greets. (These links are covered in the morning links as well, but I thought I'd extract a few for closer examination.)
First up is Alex Edler who admits he had two broken fingers in the finals and one isn't even healed yet. He'll be re-evaluated next week. If you're keeping track at home, that puts Edler on the mend along with Kesler and Raymond.
"First of all, every time you step onto the ice for the first time in summer, you feel stiff...It doesn't feel any worse, any different, from the other years, so that's a good sign. I feel stronger in the area I had surgery on."
Better still is that Samuelsson, who watched the Canucks lose their footing in the Finals from the sidelines like the rest of us, was pressed about the perceived lack of team "toughness", notably from the loss of not just Raffi Torres but also perennial fourth liner Tanner Glass and 46 career NHL games Alex Bolduc. In a summer where the likes of Chicago and Edmonton willingly gooned up, Samuelsson's answer was, in my view, spot on:
"Me as a Swede and coming from Detroit before, no it’s not really an issue," he said of toughness. "What do you mean for team toughness? Is that fighting or battling for pucks? When I was in Detroit, we didn’t have too much toughness. It was hard battles. To me, that’s toughness. Drop the gloves? Yeah, I wish I could drop the gloves once in a while, but I can’t....Don’t get me wrong, but there wasn’t too much to add (to the roster). I think Gillis has a plan, and the rest of the management. Last year they showed it and stuck with that. If it’s not the right fit, they’re not going after them. If I was a GM. . . I like that approach. Maybe sooner or later it pops up, a good player, or maybe not. He believes in this group and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t."
We're going to be subject to a slew of tired narratives again this season, most of which will require a stiff upper lip. But this "lack of toughness" one really is piss poor. I'll be the first to admit the Canucks are a bit too brittle with Sturm and Salo, but shelter them properly and it is what it is. Could the Sedins battle more? Probably, but then again for the amount of slashing and hooking they put up with on a regular basis I'm content when they are still standing and not taking retaliatory penalties. But the idea that guys like Burrows, Kesler, Sammy, Juice, Higgins, Edler, Hammer and above all others Malhotra don't battle is absurd.
There's no shame in being beaten by a better team unless you use that loss to go digging around for problems that aren't actually there. The only thing better than Sammy's answer is if he grabbed the reporter by his collar, stared him dead in the eyes and made him melt a la Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Back to reality, Samuelsson, Edler and Germany's proud son Marco Sturm were the only regulars skating on Monday, joined by hopefuls Anton Rodin, Kevin Connauton, Adam Polasek, Sebastian Erixon and Darren Archibald. The rest of the team should start trickling in over the next few weeks.