Time to sip and savour that 5-2 triumph in Montreal on Sunday.
In the all-consuming coffee culture that is very Vancouver, a good cup of java comes in a variety of sizes and strengths, depending on the location.
There’s short, tall, grande and Venti sizes. There are also extra shots to start your day.
First serving: Small Garland with big buzz
If Conor Garland was on a drink menu, he’d be a short with two extra shots of espresso.
Think about it. Small coffee. Big buzz.
The diminutive Vancouver Canucks winger had permission to broker a trade this season because he could see how it was going to unfold here. He wasn’t going to play in the top-six mix, unless there was an injury, and his production would likely come from sparse seconds on the second power play unit.
So, why not see if somebody would bite? The Canucks have tried to move Garland in the past.
The problem is nobody has and it’s because a third-liner with his price tag — two more seasons at a US$4.95 million cap hit — isn’t going to attract suitors unless the Canucks eat some of that sum. And that’s not going to happen.
So, what do you do if you’re Garland?
You suck it up and just play. And Garland, 27, has done that lately and it showed Sunday to cap a 2-1-0 road trip and increase a franchise-best start to 11-3-1.
Garland scored a highlight-reel goal by bolting to the net and getting his blade on a J.T. Miller cross-ice pass. And he hustled and ragged the puck before circling high in the slot and finding Dakota Joshua for the winning goal.
Garland finished with six shots and nine attempts.
“We stuck to our structure and we’re hard to beat when we play like that,” he said.
And that’s why it’s hard to beat down on Garland. He has but five points (2-3) in 15 games, but he hasn’t quit. He’s had 20 shots and plenty of scoring chances in the last six games.
“The last five, six or seven games, he’s been one of our better forwards and has done a nice job,” summed up coached Rick Tocchet.
Second serving: A bold cup of Blueger
It became ‘The Teddy Blueger Watch’.
Tocchet knew what the centre would bring, once he got over a pre-season ankle injury and missed the first 14 regular season games. Blueger blocked a shot in the final pre-season encounter Oct. 6 against the Calgary Flames.
He would grind Sunday. He would help the penalty kill. He would be noticeable.
“A little bit of rust but you’ve got to get him out there because he did a solid job on the penalty kill and he’s only going to add stuff,” said Tocchet.
Blueger was sharp in his first two shifts Sunday on a line with former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Sam Lafferty and Anthony Beauvillier. The free-agent acquisition won a faceoff, worked the boards, kept the forecheck going and picked off an outlet pass by reading the play. He logged 14 effective minutes.
Final serving: Warm up Beauvillier cup
What to make of Beauvilier?
In the second period Sunday, Lafferty drove hard to the net, went wide, and slipped a sweet dish to Beauvillier in the slot. But he couldn’t convert. However, two shots and eight attempts offer some hope that he might find his way offensively.
Still, six points (2-4) in 15 games aren’t going to cut it. A streaky scorer by nature, he’s at his best with speed through the natural zone and making something happen. You can’t be a perimeter player and getting to the inside has always been his challenge.
Beauvillier’s contract is up and he could be a piece to dangle at the trade deadline. But his stock would have to rise and you don’t want to lose him for nothing in free agency.
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