Fun fact: the Vancouver Canucks' last three games have all been 5-2 losses.
Actually, that's not a very fun fact. Let me try again: the Vancouver Canucks' last three games have all been 5-2 losses; meanwhile, their AHL affiliate Utica Comets' last three games have all been 5-2 wins.
What an odd coincidence; what a fun fact.
It goes without saying that most fans would prefer things the other way around, with the Canucks doing all the winning instead. It's not that anyone wishes ill of the Comets -- it's that, most of the time, no one in this time zone is thinking about them.
That's changed of late, though. Maybe it's because there's not much going on in Vancouver. Or maybe it's because the Canucks actually have a few prospects in Utica having some real success this season. Whatever the case, fans are well aware of what the likes of Hunter Shinkaruk, Brendan Gaunce and Jordan Subban are doing for the Comets, and many have begun calling for these players (and their coach) to join the big club.
To that I say: no. No, no, no. Leave the Utica Comets alone.
Did you miss the part where everything is going swell in Utica and horribly here? The Canucks are in a state of complete dysfunction right now. They can't score. They can't win. Why take a young player on a real roll with the farm team and throw him into this dysfunctional mess? It just seems unnecessarily disruptive. Hunter Shinkaruk is flirting with a point-per-game pace right now, and that's without a true first-line centre feeding him passes. He's blossoming into a real star player. Respect the process. Leave him alone.
Plus it's not like he's run out of stuff to learn, as Travis Green explained to Ben Kuzma in a recent Province article:
“There’s no need to rush players if they’re not ready,” stressed Green. “Hunter is on the right path. His point totals are up and he’s not playing with a true No. 1 centre, and not to be offensive to anyone on our team, but Vey got recalled and made things for skilled wingers a little bit different. Hunter needs to get stronger, which will come with age. He’ll get better with his board work and holding pucks and when there’s time and space to get a puck out. And he’ll get quicker and faster in the corners to get away from guys.”
Same goes for Jordan Subban and Brendan Gaunce, who appear to be finding another gear in their pro careers as well. Back away. Do not touch. Don't call them up -- let them keep it up. (Here it should be noted that the Canucks appear to agree with me, which might explain why Alex Friesen got the most recent call-up over the superior Gaunce.)
Even Green, with whom many fans would like the Canucks to replace Willie Desjardins, is probably best left undisturbed. He's in a groove. His team is rolling, and you want him to come in and take over a Canucks team that, simply, doesn't have the personnel to be a contender right now? He's a coach, not a miracle worker. Unless he can turn water into wine, which is to say, Matt Bartkowski into Drew Doughty, why toss him into a no-win situation? I can't get behind that.
Granted, there will probably be a few call-ups after the trade deadline, when the Canucks jettison a few veterans and need to fill the holes they create. And if Shinkaruk gets the call then, that's fine. He definitely deserves another taste of NHL action before the end of the year, just as a reward for his strong play this season. But unless the Canucks have a real need for him, there's no need to rush Shinkaruk or any of these guys.
There's not much for them in Vancouver right now anyway.