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Marc Crawford


C - Mark Messier, Dave Gagner, Harry York, Dave Scatchard, Peter Zezel, Darby Hendrickson, Steve Washburn, Josh Holden. LW - Todd Bertuzzi, Brad May, Donald Brashear, Peter Schaefer, Bert Robertsson. RW - Markus Naslund, Alexander Mogilny, Bill Muckalt, Trent Klatt, Steve Staios. D - Adrian Aucoin, Murray Baron, Ed Jovanovski, Bryan McCabe, Mattias Ohlund, Jason Strudwick. G - Garth Snow, Corey Hirsch, Kevin Weekes.


Mark Messier, c (knee, couple more weeks), Todd Bertuzzi, lw (leg, indefinite), Steve Staios, rw (knee, out for season).


Signed Kevin Weekes, g, to a three-year contract; recalled Peter Schaefer, lw, from Syracuse (AHL); recalled Josh Holden, c, from Syracuse; assigned Dana Murzyn, d, to Syracuse; traded Jamie Huscroft, d, to Phoenix for future considerations.


2/22 at Colorado  T 4-4
2/24 at San Jose  T 1-1
2/26 Carolina     W 1-0
2/28 Buffalo      L 2-0
3/03 San Jose     L 4-3
3/05 Calgary      L 5-1
3/07 Chicago      T 2-2


Northwest Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA  
  Colorado          64  32  24   8    72  177  159  
  Edmonton          64  25  29  10    60  178  168  
  Calgary           63  23  30  10    56  165  178  
  Vancouver         64  19  35  10    48  154  200


by Jeff Dubois, Vancouver Correspondent

Needless to say, us LCS Hockey writers are always in the public eye. As a result, we tend to get a lot of comments and questions from the general public. Now usually we either ignore or throw out any such correspondence, but in those rare cases where it's very late at night and a deadline is looming, they magically change from crap to valuable journalistic tools. This is such a case. If your letter wasn't chosen, don't fret, it just probably wasn't good enough!

Q: I am a Vancouver Canucks fan. At the moment, it is a very embarrassing experience. The season began with promise, but it all of a sudden went downhill! What happened and why are you so incredibly attractive?

A: A very good question! The downward spiral in the Canucks' level of play is due to a couple of difficult circumstances. The first is that they were simply playing over their heads at the start of the year. The likes of Mattias Ohlund and Adrian Aucoin were producing a point a game each from the blue line. That type of output simply could not be sustained for any long period of time. Alex Mogilny, before his injury, was contributing offensively as a first line right winger. Since his return, his production has dropped sharply. The early surge brought with it unreasonable expectations, and the Canucks realistic level of competitiveness has now caught up to their on-ice results.

Q: It is now obvious that the Canucks will not make the playoffs. Does this mean that the Canucks will get rid of some of their bigger salaries and veteran players?

A: You'd think that would make sense, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, I suspect that Brian Burke will not trade the likes of Dave Gagner, Peter Zezel and Murray Baron. This would add up to an admission that the team is done for the season, and that's a statement I don't think Burke will ever make, especially with eight more home games to sell tickets for. There's usually a demand for experience and leadership at the trade deadline, so while Zezel may not fetch much, Gagner and Baron might bring back a decent prospect or draft pick. I don't see any of them making an impact on the team next season, so lets give the younger guys some quality ice time now.

Q: Will next season be any better ?

A: Only marginally, if at all. The team will get even younger next year, as Josh Holden and Peter Schaefer will be every-day players in a line-up that already includes Dave Scatchard and Bill Muckalt. The defence will probably average 23 years of age once Bryan Allen is in the fold and Kevin Weekes will probably take the starting job in goal. It could be ugly again, but at least there will be some development.

Q: What is the team's biggest need?

A: Keeping in mind that this team will not reach it's peak for another five years, and Mark Messier will be 60 or so at that point, the Canucks need to find someone who will be a number one centre. Josh Holden will probably do a good job at No. 2, and Scatchard at No. 3, but who will play in the middle on the top offensive unit? I doubt it will be someone currently in the system, so let's start looking!

Q: Are there any positives on this team? Any reason for optimism?

A: Yes, and lots. If Kevin Weekes develops into the number one goalie that Brian Burke says he will, he will combine with an excellent blue-line core to form on of the top defences in the league. Bryan McCabe, Ed Jovanovski and Mattias Ohlund may all be All-Star defencemen in a few years time, and Adrian Aucoin and Bryan Allen very well could be. The offence is young, but has tons of potential. Alex Mogilny (trust me, he will again be a force), Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Bill Muckalt will be an excellent group of wingers. Holden, Schaefer, World Juniors hero Artem Chubarov, feisty Finnish winger Jarkko Ruutu and rugged but talented Mike Brown (picked up in the Bure trade) all have great potential. Not right way, but in a five seasons, the Canucks will be contender.

Q: When will you announce this week's Wayne Axford Award winner?

A: Right now!

This week's winner of the Wayne Axford Award for Sporting Excellence goes to defenceman Bryan McCabe. With Ohlund and Jovanovski out of the line-up for much of the last two weeks, McCabe stepped up his play while logging over 30 minutes most nights. His play didn't translate into much on the score sheet, but he redeemed himself after a long string of lackluster play. Congratulations, Bryan, you're my kind of hockey player. (Bryan was an editorial choice for he award, as he fell short of Markus Naslund's 1,308 votes. He did pick up 764 votes, and the most important one, mine!).

Please place your vote for the Wayne Axford award by sending me your selection at:

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