As happy as the Canucks and their fans were with Alex Edler last season, he’s been even better than most people expected this season.
Edler sits second among rookie rearguards with a +9 rating, and his seven points have him tied for fourth among freshmen defencemen. Edler is logging more than 18 minutes of ice per game and looks more comfortable at this level than many NHL veterans.
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Though he’s certainly not as physical as Kevin Bieksa, Edler’s emergence affords the Canucks the luxury of not rushing Bieksa back from that ugly calf laceration.
•Following the team’s fifth suspension of the year in just two months of play, Gary Bettman has apparently put the Philadelphia Flyers on notice with regards to potential ramifications should another transgression occur.
But what kind of repercussions are we talking about?
If the NHL is content to simply dole out fines in the case of another over-the-line play, I’m betting that’s not enough of a deterrent. So what would scare the Flyers and other future offenders?
The stripping of draft picks.
If an organization thought it might lose out on a first, second or third round pick, it would be less willing to sign borderline players with questionable reputations.
• As Wally Buono continues to negotiate a new deal with Jarious Jackson, it’s worth noting a difference in philosophy between the B.C. Lions and other franchises.
Most pro-football organizations are satisfied with having a good backup quarterback; a guy who can keep the team at least competitive should the starter either become injured or falter in some way. But with the Lions, recruiting a good 4th string pivot is as important as finding a capable No. 2.
In 2005 Jackson came to camp with Buck Pierce, both vying for the third string spot behind Dave Dickenson and Casey Printers. Jackson was hurt in the preseason, but Buono kept him around anyway. That decision has paid off in spades over the last two seasons.
The same scenario could play out with Gino Guidugli, who will now enter next season with some experience should he be called on to lead the Leos at some point. Is it any wonder that backups on other teams have struggled given the revolving door policy that those clubs employ with the most crucial position in football?
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