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Fans unlikely to be patient with Sundin

Mats Sundin’s first three games in Canucks’ colours could quite easily be labelled the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, though not in that order.

Mats Sundin’s first three games in Canucks’ colours could quite easily be labelled the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, though not in that order.

The good came on Saturday night when Sundin potted his first goal against the Sharks and was unlucky not to score on a pair of other chances. That offence produced both cheers and a collective sigh of relief from Vancouver hockey fans as Sundin (the bad) was nowhere to be found in a 6-4 loss to the lowly Blues. Check that — he could be found in the penalty box, which is where the ugly comes in.

Sundin watched from the sin bin on consecutive nights as the opposition scored game-winning goals at GM Place. His lack of discipline came at critical points in each game, and his teammates were not able to cover up his mistakes. That said, Sundin has given fans reason to believe he will improve both the 5-on-5 offence and the power play, but how long will it take for the positives to outweigh the negatives?

It’s safe to suggest that it will take until after this month’s all-star break to expect a consistent effort from the big Swede, as that will have given him the length of regular NHL training camp to get up to speed. Though realistically, that time frame is problematic for the supporters of this team since their expectations are in mid-season form.

Fans accept such errors during exhibition play and the first couple of weeks of the season. But when they can see rival teams winning while their club loses in part due to mistakes that should have been made three months ago, their patience runs thin.

• The Canucks have their fingers crossed that Roberto Luongo won’t exhibit many signs of rust upon his return to the ice, which could come as soon as this weekend. Luongo has been participating in most parts of practice for nearly a week now, and appears cautiously optimistic that he’ll have game action under his belt before jetting off to the all-star game in Montreal.

Given Vancouver’s sub-.500 record during his absence, the Canucks can’t afford a lengthy wait for Luongo to round into form. He is a traditionally slow starter in October, but there is no history of mid-season injury on which to base any type of prediction.

• It looks like this may be the week in which Cam Wake’s future employer is revealed. The CFL defensive player of the year in each of the past to seasons is said to be close to inking a deal that will put $500,000 in his pocket in the form of a signing bonus. The Tennessee Titans are rumoured to be the frontrunner for Wake’s services with up to twelve NFL teams interested in the former Lion.

 
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