Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Every Goal, Defenseman Edition: Alex Edler & Kevin Bieksa

Last year's Canuck defense corps scored 42 of the team's 268 goals, an impressive total good for second among team scoring by defenseman to the Phoenix Coyotes. Offense from the blue line was preached all season long, and the offensive abilities of a newly-acquired Christian Ehrhoff and a still-developing Alex Edler were allowed to flourish. With this year's acquisitions of Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis, as well as, hopefully, a healthy Kevin Bieksa, these numbers could be even higher. But why are we looking ahead? Let's take this week to revisit each and every one of the 42 goals scored by a Canuck defenseman. In bold, you will find each goal's chronological standing among the 42. Up today: Alex Edler's 5 goals and Kevin Bieksa's 3.

As we get into the guys with lower totals, I'll start pairing them together so you're not left feeling short-changed. I figured Edler and Bieksa would be a good pair because, unlike the Canucks' other defensive goal-scorers to come, these guys will wear the Orca next season as well.

Alex Edler

Edler's first goal of the season is a power play tally from the point, but what makes it special is the little bit of patience he shows when he thinks about slapping it, then pulls it back to avoid a defender and goes with a clever little wrist shot instead. I've been touting Edler's power play intelligence all through this series, and this is just another reason why I'm right. A lesser power play quarterback might try to force that shot through, and if it's blocked by Tom Gilbert's shin, it's nothing except for maybe a 2-on-1 the other way.

2. Dec. 2 vs. the New Jersey Devils (14)
It's no wonder Edler's often talked about with superstar potential. The guy's got a wicked wrist shot, the hardest slapshot on the team, incredible passing ability, size, mobility, and so on, and so on. Here is another example of that great wrist shot, as Kesler puts him in a prime opportunity to score and he wires a wrist shot past Marty Brodeur.

3. Mar. 7 vs. the Nashville Predators (32)
Edler's third goal of the season is also on a feed from Ryan Kesler, but the real wizard here is Pavol Demitra, whose determined soccer kick starts this play. Demitra disappointed overall, but he had some flashes of brilliance. He could surprise you, and I think he surprised everyone with this. Again, Edler scores with a wrist shot and not a slap shot. I remember his fifth goal of the season being an empty-netter, so if his next goal isn't a Howitzer it means he didn't score once with his booming slapper last season. That would be a major surprise.

4. Mar. 18 vs. the San Jose Sharks (35)
There's the slapshot I was looking for. Edler has a cannon, and while it only got him one goal last season, you have to imagine he's got more goals like this in him next year. I'm amused at how often Kyle Wellwood is the net presence in these clips. I liked him in that role, but I want someone who goes for loose pucks as desperate as Kesler or Burrows, not lackadaisical Welly. Think it'll be Raffi Torres next season?

5. Apr. 4 vs. the Minnesota Wild (38)
Edler's fifth goal of the season is an empty-netter to seal a win against the Wild. Nice draw weight. I'm surprised Edler only got 5 goals last season. Expect that total to increase as he develops his confidence with the puck.
Edit: I originally yawned at this, but commenter OPAQUE reminded me that, after this goal, the Wild scored two goals out of nowhere to send it to overtime, where Salo won it with this goal. Thanks for the reminder! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Kevin Bieksa

1. Oct. 1 vs. the Calgary Flames - Kevin Bieksa (1)
Bieksa's first goal of the season is also the Canucks' first goal of the season, cutting into the Flames lead in last year's season-opening loss. While we were wrong in assuming it was the start of a career year for Juice, it's a nice reminder now of what he might be capable of this upcoming season, provided he's with us all year. I've soured on Bieksa a bit, but he is a good offensive catalyst, even if his defensive lapses drive me nuts.

2. Apr. 10 vs. the Calgary Flames (41)
Did you know that Kevin Bieksa's three goals last season were all against the Calgary Flames? I didn't know. I also didn't realize they came in the first and last games of the season. I know his season was buggered by the lacerated tendon, but that's still quite odd. Anyway, Bieksa's second goal of the season is an easy one, as the Sedins do all the heavy lifting here with a give-and-go and a drop-pass before finding Juice wide open, breaking to the net. Good on him for going there, although we learned last season that even Brad Lukowich thought he was Brett Hull when the Sedins were on the ice.

3. Apr. 10 vs. the Calgary Flames - Kevin Bieksa (41)
I remember this goal. Bieksa was kind of choked to score it, because the team was trying to get Henrik touches and pad his lead in the points race. Bieksa looks even more grim than usual, primarily because of the irony. He was just trying to get it on net so Henrik could get a stick on the rebound. Instead, he scores. After the season Bieksa had, you can see why he wasn't expecting to.


  1. Not sure if this is where i should be writing this, but this is the best canucks blog in the history of canucks blogs. i especially like the fact that you offer an unbiased opinion on the team, which is a welcome change from other blogs i've found. keep up the good work. also, since you cant really have an "Every Goal Andrew Alberts Scored" column, maybe an "Every STUPID Penalty Andrew Alberts Took" column. just my two cents though!

  2. Thanks, Booyah Chicken! The Kurtenblog might disagree with your take on best Canucks blogs, but, you know, they'd be wrong. We rule.

    As far as bias goes. it's hard to have no bias when you love the Canucks as much as we do. Frankly, I don't think I'm unbiased. I just try to be aware of my bias and think critically in spite of it.

    And finally, I don't think anybody wants to relive Andrew Alberts' dumb penalties.

  3. Edler will get more than 5 goals this year. Bieksa - it doesn't matter cos he'll be gone.

  4. Just wanted to remind you - for Edler's 5th goal against the Wild, it wasn't the goal that won the game. After he scored the empty-netter, the Wild miraculously came back to score 2 more goals... The Canucks won it in OT from Salo's booming shot. Other than that, great article and keep them coming, please!

  5. Holy crap, OPAQUE, you're right! I completely forgot about that! I'm making an edit right now.


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