Thread: Injury Report: Bernier out 4-6 weeks
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03-12-2010, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by roddy View Post
You mention that guys like Madden, Grier etc justify their ice time with stellar defensive play - obviously it's a bit different, and it's particular to his situation here in Vancouver but I think it's worth stating that Bernier's strong physical play is of special value to the Canucks considering the rest of the forward group.

If he'd played 65 games at the pace he's gone this season he'd be top 50 in the league for hits among forwards - the only other Canuck in that group is Tanner Glass and we're probably best off with him on the fourth line.
I agree that his strength and physical play is useful. The problem is, I don't think we have the team to take advantage of it properly. Bernier looks best when he's along the boards, digging the puck out and feeding it to somebody else. But we don't have many guys who can sit in front of the net effectively, so he gets stuck doing that. And he just doesn't have the hands for it. I think his awful PP numbers (he actually gets fewer points per minute 5-on-4 than 5-on-5) bear that out, because he's pretty much always in front of the net in that situation, where with 5-on-5 he's on the wing and in the corners a lot more.

So where to put him so he plays his best? Burrows, Samuelsson, and Grabner fit better with the Sedins and/or Kesler-Raymond, both in theory and from what we've seen in actual play. Third line, then - but none of the other guys we have for that line now and in the near future are really what Bernier needs: a big body that can park in front so he doesn't have to.

So Bernier is going to continue in a less-than-optimal role if he sticks around here, and he's a little expensive for the kind of production that results from that. We're probably better off moving him - and he may well see a jump in his production if he winds up on a team that can use him better - and replacing him with someone who's cheaper or at least can finish effectively from the slot.

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