Tough Choices to Make

Mason Raymond

The Vancouver Canucks got back into action on Thursday night with a 5-3 victory of their Northwest Division foes from Calgary.

Among the goal scorers for Vancouver was rookie Mason Raymond, who notched a goal and added an assist on Taylor Pyatt’s ninth goal of the season.  Since Raymond was re-called from the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League on Dec. 11, he has contributed six points -including three goals- and has given the Canucks some much needed secondary scoring along with linemate’s Pyatt and Jason Jaffray.

Tonight against Calgary, in a game that can only be described as fierce, Raymond added a dimension to the Canucks game that has been absent at times this season.  The former Camrose Kodiak star was a threat just about every shift he and his linemates took to the ice and was rewarded with some power play and five-on-five time late in the final period that saw Calgary fire 11 shots at Roberto Luongo.  The fact that Raymond, Jaffray and Pyatt were trusted by Alain Vigneault enough to be put out in a key time in the game speaks volumes of just how good and how much better Raymond and Jaffrey are both getting.

Another player that was called up by the Canucks from the farm team in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is Mike Brown.  The rugged forward has played in 10 games for the big club and has netted one goal.  Okay, he isn’t a goal scorer.  He is a fighter though.  If the way he fought could be described as a spaghetti western film, he would be said to have the “fastest hands in the west.”  Not only is he fearless when it comes to dropping the mitts, Brown is a quality skater and his speed and strength allows him to get in on the forecheck and punish the oppositions defence.

That is a part of the game that Vancouver needs.  A big winger who can skate, hit, fight and pop in the odd goal. 

So far, all three call-ups have played well enough to stay at this level.  That being said, what will the Canucks coaching staff decide to do when Ryan Kesler, Jeff Cowan and Brendan Morrison come back?

Not to knock Cowan because he still has a lot to offer the Canucks, but the NHL is a performance-based business and so far this season, the bra-barian hasn’t played enough or had the results that Brown has. 

If those three, Raymond, Jaffray and Brown continue to play as well as they have been, the Canucks coaching staff will have a decision to make.  Do we send these guys back down to Manitoba or do we keep them up with the big club and give them shot after shot?  Ah decisions.

If there is a positive out of all of this, it is that there will be some healthy competition for playing time on this team as the season rolls on.

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2 Responses

  1. AV will definitely put Kesler and Morrison in when they come back, and would rather drop players like Isbister and maybe even Linden.
    Mike Brown is a good fill in for Cowan, and if Cowan can’t find his form back, then AV will use Brown. Raymond and Jaffray are playing well, but Kesler’s role on the team is far greater then those two players. As for BMo, he probably won’t be back until the end of the season, just before playoffs. If the line of Raymond-Jaffray-Pyatt can keep contributing offensively, then it can provide a much needed second line for Vancouver, while Kesler will anchor the checking line.

    Hosea C

  2. Hosea C, I was merely trying to start some controversey! Good call though, I totally agree.

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