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.
“If Booth is healthy enough tomorrow, he will play in Edmonton.” – Torts
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) September 20, 2013
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.Tags: david booth