Yes, this picture is from the future. Don't ask how we got it.
Earlier today, news broke that the Canucks had recalled Manitoba's leading scorer Sergei Shirokov, likely in response to my goading. Shirokov becomes the thirteenth forward on the Canucks' active roster, a spot that opened up when Alex Bolduc went down with another shoulder injury. Despite joining a team with twelve healthy forwards, however, Shirokov will immediately draw into the lineup in Colorado.
This is wisdom for two reasons: first, the Canucks are having a wee bit of trouble scoring goals lately. Vancouver is suffering through a perfect storm of scoring slumps right now, as half the forward corps seems suddenly incapable of bringing offense. Fans in Minnesota and New York would be forgiven for thinking Jonathan Roy is more likely to beat a goaltender than this team's forwards. Second, Shirokov is in the midst of a 12-game point streak. He's hot now. You don't call a guy like that up just to sit him; good on the Canucks for rewarding his strong play with an immediate spot in the lineup.
But who's sitting if Shirokov isn't? Gord McIntyre speculates that it might be Jeff Tambellini, and while it may well be, it's not that cut and dry. There are five guys who might find themselves sitting next to Derek Jory tomorrow night. After the jump, PITB examines who they are and why they might be in line for a benching.
Why he might sit: He can't seem to find his Magic Shooty Spot. After potting 4 in 5 games, the tiny winger has gone 10 without a point, and if we wanted an Italian leprechaun that never scores, we would have signed Paul Giamatti.
Why he might not: Alain Vigneault likes Tamby's defensive play, and might see fit to start him as the 4th-line center. Vigneault has gone on record saying Tambellini's doing everything but scoring which, while true, is a dangerous ice of rhetoric. Coincidentally, Brian Burke announced today the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing everything but winning.
Why he might sit: Apart from a well-timed fight in Minnesota that briefly stalled Minnesota's strangehold on the momentum, Volpatti rarely stands out.
Why he might not: It's hard to scratch a guy when you forget he's even on the roster.
Why he might sit: Shirokov likes to hit too, so Torres's greatest asset might not be as missed as you'd think. Furthermore, Torres has gone 9 games without a goal, and worse, he's been suspect without the puck. In Minnesota, rather than check his man, Torres made like a kid in his a Christmas pageant by completing losing his focus, facing the wrong way, picking his nose, then waving at his dad.
Why he might not: I can't be the only one who lives by the don't piss off the guy with the crazy eyes and the tattoos code. Plus, this is the third time this season he's had a 9-game goalless streak, so he's totally due.
Why he might sit: After scoring in his first game back since missing a month with a wrist injury, Raymond has gone cold, going eight games without a goal and six games without a point. He's lost his permanent spot on Ryan Kesler's wing, isn't burying his chances and put himself in an awkward position: he suddenly appears replaceable and his contract is sizable enough to be happily moved.
Why he might not: Of the slumping forwards, Raymond's goalless drought is the most jarring. He remains a vital part of the Canucks' top six, and curing him of his struggles is paramount to the team's offensive game. But this slump didn't come from nowhere; he's coming off an injury and may still be suffering from it. Is sitting him the best option, or are his issues something he needs to play his way out of? It's like when your cat gets herself stuck in a plastic grocery bag. She could suffocate without your help, but she also needs to learn how to get herself out in case this happens again. There's no right answer.
Why he might sit: Samuelsson has gone 11 games without a goal, and only has one assist in that span. Though he played a strong individual game in New York, he's not clicking with his linemates and has looked disinterested at times this season. If we wanted an intelligent but often enigmatic and alienating Swede, we would have signed Ingmar Bergman.
Why he might not: While he responds well to getting snubbed, nobody on the coaching staff wants to tell him he's sitting out. You're never too old or too mature to have your feelings hurt when someone tells you to go [forget] yourself.