Pavol Demitra is the favourite whipping boy of Vancouver Canucks fans.
Canuck Nation is quick to acknowledge that the Slovak is a proven NHL scorer, but he isn't the toughest fellow, nor the most defensively responsible, and like a lot of even-keeled Europeans, his desire has been questioned by the Rock'em Sock'em crowd.
Well, with news that Daniel Sedin will miss the next four to six weeks with a broken foot, Demitra would sure look good in Vancouver's lineup right now. But that won't be happening. Not anytime soon anyway.
Head coach Alain Vigneault said Sunday that Demitra's recovery from off-season shoulder surgery "is not going as well as we had planned." Demitra was supposed to miss at least the first three weeks of the season, but it now sounds like he'll be gone even longer.
"It's not going as quick as he wanted," Vigneault said.
The injuries to Sedin and Demitra have left the Canucks looking fairly impotent on paper. Steve Bernier and Mason Raymond, who started as third-line wingers, have been bumped into the top six.
Tanner Glass and Guillaume Desbiens, both minor-league journeymen, now flank Kyle Wellwood on the third unit. The fourth line offers very little offence with Ryan Johnson, Rick Rypien and Darcy Hordichuk. Vancouver's bottom six forwards have accounted for 108 career goals, with Wellwood responsible for 49 of them. That's paltry.
The Canucks are 1-3 and have five games against Northwest Division rivals over the next month. So, unless they can score some goals here in the early going without Sedin and Demitra, expect a much more defensive posture from the Canucks. Time to lean on Roberto Luongo and a deep defence corps.