Give us a kiss goodbye, luv.
Mired in a two-game losing streak, the Vancouver Canucks decided it was time for some bold moves Wednesday. To that end, they announced that Aaron Volpatti has been placed on waivers, and I say good. Volpatti’s done nothing in three of the last five games. Total no-show. I mean, sure, you can say he’s been a “healthy scratch”, but if injuries aren’t an excuse, then neither is health, am I right?
That was a dumb joke.
The move makes room on the roster without risking a defenceman on waivers, a wise course of action considering the team’s early good fortune when it comes to injuries on the backend appears to be normalizing. Kevin Bieksa has recently gone out with the first Vancouver blueline injury of the year, and if this team’s history is any indication, others are likely to follow. That in mind, they can’t just be waving their NHL depth defenders around, willy-nilly, asking if anybody wants one.
Of course, the question is, for whom are the Canucks making space? The recently-waived Andrew Ebbett made the most sense, until Bob McKenzie mentioned a different name in explaining the roster move:
Aaron Volpatti on waivers for 2 reasons. 1. Get him icetime. 2. Open roster spot for Steve Pinizzotto, coming off injured non-roster status.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 27, 2013
Oh riiiiiiiiiiight, said everyone in Canuck Nation. Steve Pinizzotto exists.
Speaking of good fortune when it comes to injuries, Pinizzotto’s never heard of it. The 28-year-old has yet to play an NHL game, largely because his body is clearly subject to a curse that has yet to be detected. The man can’t catch a break. Separations and strains, on the other hand, are right up his alley.
In fact, his most recent strain actually was right up his alley. During the lockout, Pinizzotto suffered a groin strain, and he’s been out ever since, marking the second year in a row that the Canucks’ plans to use him have been scuttled by his human frailty. Last year, Pinizzotto won a job in the preseason, only to separate his shoulder before opening night. That led to an extension of the Victor Oreskovich era and the acquisition of Dale Weise. This time around, it led to a continued look at Aaron Volpatti.
This could finally be Pinizzotto’s Rebecca Black moment, but don’t get too excited just yet. He’s healthy, but he’s yet to get into NHL game shape, so there’s still time for him to fall prey to another infuriating setback. Waiving Aaron Volpatti allows the Canucks to put Pinizzotto on the active roster, which then allows them to protect him from waivers as he goes with Volpatti to Chicago for a conditioning stint. If and only if he can survive a week or so in the American Hockey League, he’ll get his shot.
If he does, I suspect you’ll like him. He’s a similar player to Volpatti, but he has an edge in every category, edge included. He’s peskier, nastier, and with more skill, speed and versatility — a fan favourite in the making.
A word on Volpatti: regardless of the reasoning, this roster move is going to upset those who
overvalue toughness, many of whom didn’t like the fact that he was tagged the thirteenth forward over Dale Weise in the first place. Volpatti is second on the team in hits, with 42, and is a much more effective hitter than Weise.
That is, however, the only thing he does more effectively than Weise. In fact, it’s sort of the only thing he does. Volpatti’s been a good fourth liner, but that’s his ceiling, and the Canucks aren’t just looking for a grinder to fill out their dozen. They’re looking for twelve players that can move up and down the lineup as need be. It’s an optimistic goal, but when Volpatti came out of the lineup to make room for Dale Weise, it was Weise’s versatility that gave him the edge. Weise can do what Volpatti can do — hit and fight — but he’s also shown an ability to move up the lineup and take the odd penalty-kill shift. Volpatti, on the other hand, is the only Canuck that doesn’t see the ice in any special teams situations.
That’s a secondary reason Volpatti’s headed to Chicago, as long as he isn’t claimed (which I doubt will happen). He’ll be able to work on that there. “We would like Aaron to go down and play more, particularly kill penalties,” Laurence Gilman told Elliott Pap.Tags: Aaron Volpatti, Steve Pinizzotto