|Kesler gets more confident
Jason Botchford said that amongst the team’s disappointing start is Ryan Kesler who has improved greatly, taking on a new role as a Canuck.
“Ryan Kesler is developing into the surprise story for the Canucks. He has been widely considered their most-effective, most-consistent and most-versatile forward this season,” said Botchford.
“He is averaging more ice time than any Vancouver forward -- 19:11 -- and has a regular spot on the power play for the first time in his NHL career.”
Botchford said, “Kesler has been criticized in the past for skating like he had blinders on, seemingly oblivious to his wingers. It wasn't exactly a characteristic you would want in a top centre.”
"It's interesting, because growing up it's something that people really complimented me on -- how I saw the ice," Kesler said. "But for the past couple of years I haven't been in a role where I needed that or where they wanted me to use that. I've just put my head down and forechecked and backchecked.”
"That's the way I was told to play, so I played that way. It's taken me a while to get back to the way I can play, the way I know how to play."
"He's way more confident," Naslund said. "He wants the puck and he uses his speed much better than he has in the past. With that confidence, he's trying new things and he's been able to make more plays."
|It’s déjà vu all over again this fall
Jason Botchford said that the news headlines this year are very similar to last year and wonders if the come back will happen in the New Year once again.
“Is there any way the Vancouver Canucks can recapture the magic that allowed an amazing 32-8-6 second-half run last year, which they needed to end the season with 105 points and a Northwest Division championship?” Botchford asks.
“The stories and the story lines to start this year have been so similar to last season's mediocre beginning it's eerie”
Botchford said, “From the coach questioning his top-six forwards, to the depleted defence decimated by injuries to the struggling star goalie.”
“The Canucks go into Thursday's game, their 15th, looking for their seventh win (they are now 6-8). Last season after 15 games, they were 7-7-1.”
| ‘Leaks’ and ‘coincidences’ becoming part of case
Tony Gallagher said that there’s a leak on the Todd Bertuzzi case that a letter that was intended to be private was filed as public.
“Now we have an alleged leaked document -- wink-wink, nudge-nudge -- on the meeting between the Bertuzzi legal camp and the lawyer for Steve Moore at Gary Bettman's office at which time the NHL commissioner tried to broker a settlement between the parties,” said Botchford.
“We are told from this document, which curiously enough just happens to be a letter from Moore's lawyer Tim Danson of Toronto -- where the trial will eventually be held if it gets that far, that the Bertuzzi camp first verbally offered or suggested $1 million to Moore and then in the Bettman meeting offered just $350,000.”
Botchford said, “The overall effect of this "leak" is to cast the lawyers for Orca Bay and Bertuzzi, particularly the latter, as first being deceitful and then laughably uncaring about the long-suffering, angelic Steve Moore.”
“In this document, Danson claims to be shocked and dismayed at the fact Bertuzzi didn't want to shake his hand in New York. In fact, it would have been totally hypocritical of him to have done so.”
“Remember, Danson's client wouldn't accept Bertuzzi's tearful and heartfelt apology after the incident and wouldn't take his calls or face Bertuzzi in any way afterwards,” Botchford said.
“What this letter really shows is the relative weakness in the Moore case, the lower offer tendered by the Bertuzzi-Orca Bay camp a reflection of this. The fact Danson says in this document that he accepted the initial $1 million offer from the Bertuzzi people at the earlier meeting as a serious attempt to begin settlement discussions gives you some idea of the changing ground in this affair.”