David Booth likely to play, not hunt, rare game Saturday

It’s not often that Mike Gillis shares actual news during his radio appearances, but Thursday morning on the Team 1040, the Canucks’ General Manager stopped by that weird new tangentially sports-related morning show and did just that. Asked about David Booth’s status the day after Booth was made available to the media — a sure sign that he’s nearing a return date — Gillis disclosed by Bro Jake and Dave Pratt that Booth’s first game would likely come quite soon.

“David has been cleared to play, so I think he’s good to go,” Gillis said. “I expect him to play on Saturday.”

John Tortorella echoed the expectation Friday.

 

Booth in a game? Weird. I didn’t think you were allowed to do that.

And so it begins. Here’s hoping Booth can stay healthy and finally begin to re-find his game. For one thing, the Canucks need him. For another, we, like everyone else, have grown weary of hearing exclusively about his off-ice shenanigans.

Speaking of which, a quick aside: check out this headline and deck from the web version of Elliott Pap’s article on Booth from two days ago:

I mean, look at that! David Booth SHOOTING for NHL season-opener. He KILLED us in Florida. That’s some quality story packaging right there.

The best thing about this, though, is that it was by accident. I spoke to Lionel Wild, who edits the Vancouver Sun sports section for the website, and he told me that this was a genuine accident. He didn’t even realize he’d done it until I pointed it out. Amazing.

Anyway, back on track. Like I said — the Canucks need Booth in a major way this season. Honestly, a healthy Booth would be the Canucks’ biggest summer acquisition.

As Daniel suggested on Tuesday in his post about Hunter Shinkaruk’s outside shot to stick with the team while Booth was recovering — a post that was relevant right up until Booth participated in his first practice the next day, so thanks for nothing, Booth — it appears that John Tortorella is considering a second line of Burrows, Kesler and Booth. If healthy (which is a lot to ask of the line, considering two of its three components), this trio could be a major headache for the opposition.

The last time Kesler and Booth were paired together for a stretch, which came all the way back in the halcyon days of 2012, they controlled possession an absurd 60.4% of the time. If they can rekindle that kind of ice-tiltery – I dare not say chemistry, since most people feel they didn’t have any – the Canucks will benefit greatly. That relief teams feel when the Sedins leave the ice will diminish greatly if the next line is even tougher to contain. Add Burrows, one of hockey’s best defensive forwards, to the mix, and you’re looking at a line that could be one of hockey’s most difficult to win a shift against.

The Canucks are counting on it.

“Our expectations are really high,” Gillis continued on the Bro Jake show. “[Booth is] a good player, and unfortunately he has had a rough go of it with injuries the past few years. We have high expectations for him, and he has high expectations for himself. We’re just hopeful he can stay healthy and contribute.”

No kidding. I don’t want to alarm you, and maybe you should lie down for this, but in order for the Canucks to have a good season, David Booth will have to do the same.

s/t to Chaz Miller for that headline joke.

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9 comments

  1. Frank N.
    September 20, 2013

    Well, enjoy it while it lasts. With all this BS emphasis on shot blocking that Tortorella is trying to instil, look for the injury rate to go up. And who are the ones who always get injured first? Right!

    Really annoying this shot blocking stuff. Stiffer to play against would mean something as battling harder along the boards, being more competitive. That kinda stuff. But no, our genius new coach wants our players to blocks shots rather that trying to put sticks in the way or trying to regain PUCK POSSESSION! Yeah, gonna make for a successful season.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      September 20, 2013

      You haven’t been paying any attention, then. Tortorella has repeatedly said in press conferences that when he says stiffer, he means exactly what you’re saying. He’s talking about battling along the boards and doing the little things to, yes, regain puck possession. You’re arguing against a strawman. It’s other people, including the media, that simplify “stiffer” to mean “shot-blocking.”

      Incidentally, the Rangers have been around league average when it comes to injury-rate under John Tortorella. They were the team least-effected by injuries in 2009-10 according to CHIP analysis. People keep saying that Tortorella’s shot-blocking philosophy will lead to more injuries, but I’ve never seen anyone actually provide evidence to prove it.

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  2. Steeeve
    September 20, 2013

    Brilliant headline.

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  3. Brent
    September 20, 2013

    “a healthy Booth would be the Canucks’ biggest summer acquisition.”

    What about a healthy Kessler?

    Also what about the AMEX line (Kessler, booth, Higgins). I seem to remember some drance numbers (Oh how I miss those) about this line about how they killed possession and racked up points, and then AV broke them up, and didn’t put them back together for the playoffs. Why not try that out? I doubt Kassian will stay on the top line anyway, but they have to try it.

    And yes, that is an excellent headline. You guys are in mid season form, wish I could say the same for the Canucks.

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  4. Aaron
    September 20, 2013

    It was a good line but Kassian and the twins were doing good although the twins were not scoring. Kesler/Burrows/Booth could be a line that could move up to first line and allow the twins/Kassian to move down when they are not performing. From what I understand the Richardson/Higgins/Hanson Line had some swagger to it as well.

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  5. akidd
    September 20, 2013

    “… in order for the Canucks to have a good season, David Booth will have to do the same.”

    absolutely untrue. booth has no hands or vision. sure that trio could keep the puck out of the net but so could kesler and burrows without booth. kesler stated that he intends to score lots of goals again. well, he’d better stay the heck away from shooting % suppressing booth then.

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  6. TubaNat
    September 20, 2013

    I’ve always liked Booth and the way he plays, a full healthy season from him would be excellent! Here’s hoping…

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  7. Lunchline Chuck
    September 20, 2013

    Now you have had some chuckle-inducing story headings over the last 3 1/2 years I’ve been following you fellas, but this one is up there with any of your best. I applaud you, good sirs. Much love from the mitten and from an annually disappointed David Booth slappy.

    If, perchance, you see Mr. Booth, please inform him he’s been wasting a roster spot on my fantasy squad since 2009. If he doesn’t pick his performance up right meow, he’s going to end up on waivers for good, because nobody else wants his 10 goals, 6 assists, and 2 broken legs a season.

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  8. Colby
    September 21, 2013

    With his speed and size and all the patience shown by management I think he is going to have a big year.

    I think he would be worth keeping long term too, we have some smaller skill prospects he could gel with and some young bruisers that could learn from him.

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