With all the talk about the recent struggles of the Vancouver Canucks, it’s interesting how little Brandon Sutter‘s name has come up.
Sutter has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. The Canucks are 0-3-1 in the 26-year-old center’s absence. Before then, he’d been one of the team’s most reliable defensive players.
In a related story, young Bo Horvat is a combined minus-6 in the past four games.
Coach Willie Desjardins knows full well that Horvat is being asked to do a lot for a second-year NHLer.
“You put a centerman there to kind of anchor the line. You’ve got to remember, Bo’s 20.”
Without Sutter, Desjardins has limited options at center. Henrik Sedin, obviously, gets the first-line spot. That leaves Horvat, plus two guys who weren’t even supposed to make the team this season, rookie Jared McCann and career bottom-six forward Adam Cracknell.
This is the lineup the Canucks had Wednesday in Winnipeg:
So let’s see here:
— A 19-year-old rookie center (McCann)
— A 20-year-old sophomore center (Horvat)
— A 19-year-old rookie winger (Virtanen)
— A winger playing his first NHL game (Grenier)
— A d-man who was playing college hockey last year (Hutton)
Shockingly, Vancouver lost.