Why Jordan Schroeder should fear David Booth’s groin

“Wait, what does that headline say?”

On Monday, Canuck nation got some bad news, as David Booth missed the second day of the abbreviated post-lockout training camp with a sore groin. Tuesday, the news regarding Booth’s groin got even more grim: not unlike an elusive Albertan mountain goat, Booth killed it. He’ll be out 4-6 weeks with a strained groin.

Thus, if you were already somewhat disillusioned to learn that Andrew Ebbett and Jordan Schroeder would be battling it out to see who centred Mason Raymond and David Booth in the absence of a rehabilitating Ryan Kesler, consider that they’re now battling to see who centres Mason Raymond and… someone.

And frankly, while Booth’s strained groin was bad news for the entire Canucks organization and their fans, I’d argue that it was especially bad for Jordan Schroeder’s chances to win that battle.

One of the reasons that the Canucks might have been comfortable handing the second-line centre job to the inexperienced Schroeder is that he would have been playing between two veterans in Booth and Raymond — veterans who have shown an ability to drive possession into the offensive zone and get back on defence, at that. They’re players that Alain Vigneault trusts to work with a rookie centre as he tries to find his bearings at the highest level.

But Booth’s injury scuttles that plan. His empty spot on the second line will go to one of Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins, and Zack Kassian, but the Canucks seem set on playing Higgins and Hansen on the third line with Maxim Lapierre. That means that Kassian will likely get the first chance on that second line, and if that’s the case, expect Vigneault to be a lot less comfortable handing the middle of the ice to a youngster when the right side of the ice features a similarly raw player. Alain Vigneault may not be the young-player-hater some claim (he doesn’t hate the player, he hates the game, defence-wise), but I doubt that he’d ice a line of two untested saplings unless he absolutely had to. Vigneault treats his young players like dogwoods; they need the shade of larger, older trees to grow.

He’s already gone on record as saying that he won’t be experimenting as much in this shortened season as in seasons past, and for Alain Vigneault, icing two rookies in his top six on opening night is akin to trying to assemble a human centipede.

That in mind, David Booth’s strained groin may signal the end of Jordan Schroeder’s bid to open the season in Vancouver. If Zack Kassian is on the second line come opening night, expect Andrew Ebbett, who has already shown the ability to drive possession in the right direction and who has NHL experience as a second-line center, to be lining up next to him.

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9 comments

  1. Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
    January 15, 2013

    It makes sense, though. Ebbett may have a lower ceiling, but as an NHL second-line center he has a higher floor, and that’s going to be important for the first part of the season.

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  2. D to the W
    January 15, 2013

    “Wait, what does that headline say?”

    Hah! We’re 9 years old, and loving every minute of it.

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    • Brent
      January 16, 2013

      Yes I am a little disappointed harrison didn’t manage to slip in a reference to soap and showers. But then I am 9 years old according to my wife.

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  3. Taco
    January 15, 2013

    Ahh human centipede.. The holy grail of primate insect cross breeding. If that line ever comes to pass then I think you just revealed its true name. Beware NHL, don’t poke the human centipede or it may rear up and bite off your head. Grarrglll…

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    • J21 (@Jyrki21)
      January 17, 2013

      You may not be familiar with the film to which that moniker alludes…

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  4. Brent
    January 15, 2013

    I am totally fine with Ebbett on the second line. He has scored some big goals. Only problem is he seems to get injured (part of the reasons we have not seen so much of him), so lets hope he doesn’t follow in Booth’s footsteps. Was Ebbett hunting in the offseason?

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  5. Mathew
    January 15, 2013

    I see no reason why Shroeder shouldn’t get a good look at 2nd line C. I know it’s a 48 game season but this kid will have fresh legs having played all season in Chicago. This ’09 1st rd pick can give us much needed secondary scoring, sorry Ebbett can’t.

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  6. Frank N
    January 15, 2013

    I think you’re probably right in that Av will play Ebbett, Raymond, +1 as the 2nd line. Another more distinct possibility would be to have the Sedin Sedin Kassian line, the Raymond Schroeder Burrows line while the 3rd and 4th line are left intact. Is still 2 “rookies” in the top 6, but a bit more spread out, and with the 2 of them learning hopefully rapidly. I wouldn’t mind the Canucks giving these lines a try in some of the early games.

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  7. Drew
    January 15, 2013

    I hereby motion to call the Lappy, Higgins, and Hansen line the SECOND line.

    Don’t know if there are statistics on the subject, but I would rather have Higgins, Hansen, and Raymond together considering the injuries to Booth and Kesler. While none of the aforementioned players are natural centers, it doesn’t make much since to split up your forth, fifth and sixth best offensive players (without Kesler and Booth). Plus I would love to see Kassian and Lapierre play together on a feisty checking line.

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