Friday, February 8, 2013

NHL Snap Shots: Nikitin, Mrazek, Vancouver and the West

Nikita Nikitin was activated from injured reserve by the Columbus Blue Jackets and played in his first game since January, according to espn.com and Yahoo! Sports.  The defenseman who scored 32 points in 54 regular season games for Columbus last year, had 2 hits and a blocked shot with 7 shots on goal against the Flames.

Petr Mrazek made his NHL debut with the Detroit Red Wings, and led them to victory over the St. Louis Blues.  Mrazek stopped 26 shots in giving Jimmy Howard a break after he started the first nine games for Detroit.

Iain Macintyre reports for the Vancouver Sun that the Vancouver Canucks are looking to recruit with a focus on the West.  According to Macintyre's article, assistant GM Laurence Gilman stated:
“We felt we had been systemically undervaluing players in the western region. The moves that were made were not done specifically to draft more players from the west. It was done after an analysis of where players (to the NHL) were coming from and where we were devoting our resources. We felt we needed to improve our coverage in the west. It is our backyard, but it's also a very big yard and we needed to scout it more efficiently.”
It's reported that the Canucks haven't drafted a player from the WHL since 2008.  The current thought is that if the Canucks focus on drafting players from the West, they will want to stay with Vancouver for the long run, where their roots are.  

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