Every Goal, 2012-13: Alex Edler

Alex Edler has become a surprisingly polarizing figure in Vancouver, with seemingly as many detractors as fans. The problem, essentially, is that he’s not as good as he looks. Really, that’s not that big a problem, because he looks like a combination of Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger with his smooth skating, big body, booming slapshot, and slick passing.

Fans have been waiting years for Edler to develop into a dominant, all-around, number one defenceman and lead the Canucks to glory. His skillset and calm demeanour seem to suggest that every season could be the one where he breaks out and it all comes together, but it never quite happens. He looks like he could be one of the best defencemen in the league, but he falls just short every year.

For any other defenceman, falling just short of “best” would be good enough, but fans tend to expect a lot more out of Edler. Every giveaway is magnified, as his puck control is too good to give up the puck so easily. Every missed slapshot is a disappointment, as his shot is just too good for him to miss like that. Every defensive miscue is heightened in the eyes of Canucks fans, as the best defencemen in the league simply don’t get beat like that.

Perhaps it’s time to let go of those hopes and dreams and accept Edler for who he is. He’s not a number one defenceman in the conventional sense, like Shea Weber or Zdeno Chara. That’s something I’ve been saying for a couple years. He is, however, a very good defenceman, who is capable of putting up points, playing big minutes at even-strength and on the powerplay, and occasionally throwing a big hit or two. And that’s okay. With quality defencemen like Dan Hamhuis, Jason Garrison, and Kevin Bieksa on the team, along with quality youth like Chris Tanev and Frank Corrado, the Canucks don’t really need Edler to be a number one defenceman. They just need him to contribute as best he can.

Last season, he contributed eight goals, which isn’t too shabby. Here they are:

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Alex Edler among four Canucks invited to All-Star Game; was he the right choice?

On January 11, 2011, Alex Edler was left off the All-Star ballot, and he took it hard. Edler channeled his secret rage into a major production increase, scoring 7 points in his next 8 games, but the rage, like Tony Stark’s arc reactor, ate away at his body from the inside, and a week later, he had to undergo surgery to repair damage in his back. Tru fakt*.

In any case, there will be no rage-induced hot streak/back explosion this year, as Edler, along with Henrik and Daniel Sedin, has been named to the 2012 All-Star Game. Cody Hodgson’s been invited as a rookie representative as well. That sound you heard is Tony Gallagher loading up the typewriter for a piece criticizing the management of Hodgson’s All-Star weekend icetime.

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Just as we predicted, the Canucks followed up an ugly game in Minnesota with a slightly less ugly game in St. Louis. It’s amazing, however, how a one-goal game can seem so lopsided. When the Blues were in the offensive zone, it constantly seemed like they were on the verge of a gorgeous scoring chance, while the Canucks seemed to have trouble getting the puck towards the net with any regularity. In their post-game comments, however, the Canucks seemed positive, saying that they played a more complete game and stuck with their process, which brings to mind a game from last season.

On November 21, 2010, the Canucks lost 3-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes. It was the second game of a back-to-back following their worst performance of the year, the infamous Voldemort Game. In the IWTG for that loss to the Coyotes, we bemoaned the absence of Sami Salo, the shoddiness of the defence, and the lack of cycle to the Sedins game. The players, however, felt like they had performed well and stuck with their system. This should sound familiar for anyone who watched this game, and it therefore sounded familiar to me, because I watched this game.

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Canucks 6 – 1 Oilers I don’t think there was ever really any concern that the Oilers might win tonight. There was, I guess, a nagging concern that the Canucks might lose, but seriously, this Oilers team isn’t built to win hockey games. It’s built to accrue picks, like Questlove’s hair or Tenacious D. My [...]

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On a recent visit to snopes.com, I noted that the hockey section of their website is woefully underpopulated by hilariously fake urban legends, crazy rumours, and weird myths. Indeed, the site only has three hockey-related entries, with two of them boringly true. This is incredibly disappointing and, frankly, a disgrace. It’s especially disgraceful when a [...]

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