The new Canucks will rely heavily on Brendan Morrison he will no longer be the small guy hidden behind Naslund and Bertuzzi, but are the articles such as “Morrison looks to Increase Scoring” and “‘Mo’ Production Expected this Year”
"When you play with those guys, the tendency is just to get them the puck," Morrison said after skating with some of his teammates at a local arena. "Now I might have the puck a little more, get the chance to create a little more and definitely shoot the puck more. That should lead to more production."
So is he right? That is hard to answer on its own, but Morrison has a few times when he played with out Bertuzzi simply because Bertuzzi has a habit of being suspended. The first time occurred early in Morrison’s Vancouver Career when Bertuzzi was suspended 10 games leaving the players’ bench to join a fight. During these 10 games Morrison got 4 goals and 6 assists, which put him on pace for a point a game compared to the 0.611 ppg1 in the other 72 games.
Bertuzzi was suspended another 13 regular season games when he sucker punched Steve Moore. During these 13 games Morrison scored 5 times and assisted another 7 times for 12 points in 13 games for 0.912 ppg1 (again very close to 1), but scored a mere 0.637 ppg1 in the other 69 games. Note this is very similar to the results 2 years prior. (Now whether their line improved is a more complicated question).
In the playoffs after the 2003-2004 seasons the Canucks matched up with
I should state that these differences between Morrison with and without Bertuzzi are not statistically significant (at the 95% level). The differences are large, but the sample size is too small to make any real conclusions, but I will say this is promising, although it only really indicates Morrison will score around 30 goals (as apposed to his usual 20). Naslund should be able to get 40 goals and Cooke/Bulis/No-name should be able to get another 20-30, which results in a net goals for the top line of under 100, but then again that’s not different than what happened last year.
Maybe Morrison is driving this lines bus. If so Nonis made a good decision here. It would be hard to tell because Morrison is always healthy.
. PPG = Points per game.