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Fitting Linden in lineup a tough task

<p>Given the time of year and what’s at stake for the Vancouver Canucks, it’s interesting to note that Trevor Linden has been press box bound for all but one of Vancouver’s six games this month.</p>




Given the time of year and what’s at stake for the Vancouver Canucks, it’s interesting to note that Trevor Linden has been press box bound for all but one of Vancouver’s six games this month.





The rationale behind resigning Linden was that he was the Canucks’ best forward in the playoffs last season and would, therefore, be a fixture in the lineup for the crucial games this spring. It was common thinking that Linden would play 60-65 games this year in order to be fresh for the biggest games of the season. But given the way Alain Vigneault has structured his lines, where does Linden fit?





Taylor Pyatt still appears to be a better option with the Sedins, and the line of Burrows/Kesler/Isbister has too much chemistry to break up. Speedsters Mason Raymond and Matt Pettinger have been good enough to remain in the lineup, and Byron Ritchie provides more grit. That leaves Ryan Shannon as the player Linden would replace, although Shannon’s averaged nearly a point-per-game over the past month.





To Linden’s credit, he hasn’t publicly whined about his inactivity, but you know it’s just killing him to be a paid spectator on a nightly basis. Based on how well he performed in last year’s postseason, he deserves another chance to prove he can clutch up once again, but it looks as though he’ll have to wait a little longer for the opportunity.





•The early returns on making Carey Price the starting goaltender in Montreal have been outstanding. Price is 5-2 since Cristobal Huet was jettisoned to Washington for a 2nd round pick, and has the Habs atop the Eastern Conference with just over three weeks to go in the regular season.





The 20 year-old from Anahim Lake, B.C. has allowed just 15 goals in those seven starts, with six of them coming on a rare off night.




scott.rintoul@metronews.ca





Mix equal parts college athlete, sports fan and broadcaster. Shake vigorously. Serve chilled Monday-Friday on the TEAM 1040 from 6-9 a.m. or online at thetoulbox.blogspot.com

 
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