The Canucks’ offseason quest to completely remodel their fourth line personnel continued this weekend, as they dealt the rights of Sergei Shirokov to the Florida Panthers in exchange for little-known left winger Mike Duco.
At first glance, this seems like a curious move. Shirokov led the Manitoba Moose in scoring two seasons in a row, made the Canucks out of his first training camp, and showed decent hands in his lone callup in 2010-11. He was a player that could have cracked the NHL lineup. However, Shirokov was as aware of this as we were, and after two years of failing to do exactly that, Shirokov said nuts to the minors and signed a deal with CSKA Moscow to return to the KHL. Rather than lose a prospect for nothing, the Canucks gave him away for yet another bubble guy in Duco.
Duco is in keeping with the prototype the Canucks seem to be after this offseason. He’s a gritty, hard-nosed, proven AHL scorer that has, as of yet, failed to break into the NHL, where he’d likely be a third or fourth line guy. Duco’s on the smallish side, but he’s no pushover. On top of his 20 goals and 11 assists with the Rochester Americans last season, the 5’10″, 190 lb. winger also racked up 126 PIM. And, in the NHL, he has half that (60) in only 12 games, for an average of 5 PIM a game. He’s a scrapper. Even his Twitter profile photo can attest to this: it’s a shot from his last NHL fight, a bout with Toronto’s Mike Brown.
You read that correctly, by the way: Mike Duco’s been on Twitter since April (@duco87), and considering our struggles to get interesting Canuck personalities on Twitter (Ryan “Verify me so I can officially tweet about nothing” Kesler doesn’t count), we should be rejoicing: Duco speaks his mind. Unfortunately, he’s one of those guys that Ryan Whitney was talking about: he’s not so into the Canucks.
Upon learning of the trade, Duco went the diplomatic route, showing Jeff Carter how it’s done by announcing his excitement to be joining a new franchise. It’s an innocuous tweet, which may be a sign the Canucks have already gotten to him. I was sort of hoping he’d indicate whether or not he planned to snatch up the “Duker” nickname vacated by Alex Bolduc. Is there a grace period for nicknames or can he step right into it?
In any case, this is the first pro-Canucks tweet Duco’s ever made. One could infer from the rest of his timeline that he’s not exactly a fan.
Duco can probably be forgiven for picking Chicago to win game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal versus Vancouver. Outside of Vancouver, everybody was. I’m sure his new teammates will forgive this, considering the circumstances.
That said, I don’t think he was picking Chicago because of the circumstances leading up to game seven. I think he was picking them because he’d rather not pick the Canucks. See, for instance, the next Canucks-related tweet, made during game 6 of the Western Conference Final versus San Jose.
Okay, Duco is actively rooting for the Sharks. This tweet, in which he criticizes Luongo’s decision to charge out at the Sharks as they got past Alex Edler, 2-on-0, won’t be the last time he criticizes one of his future teammates.
Two weeks later, Duco gives us this tweet, which is difficult to spin in a positive light.
Ouch. The cosmic irony here, of course, is that watching the Sedins dive and lay on the ice, the very thing Duco is sick of, has now become his full-time job. Also, those guys he just slagged are his captain and assistant captain.
Well, maybe Roberto Luongo will vouch for him.
Okay, maybe not. This tweet, in which he laughs at and mocks Roberto Luongo, comes after game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Yikes.
Past experience tells us Luongo doesn’t take kindly to guys that aren’t in the business of pumping his tires. (That’s why he’s so nice to gas station attendants.) That said, Luongo forgave Kesler for doing effectively the same thing during the Olympic gold medal game, so Duco could take his chances and appeal to history. Or he could delete a few tweets before training camp.
Anyway, the last tweet we’ll look at isn’t particularly Canucks-related, but still it’s of interest to me.4th line, Canucks, duco speaks his mind, featured, Mike Duco, Shirokov, Twitter