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Torts doesn’t trust Kassian to play with Sedins

Dec 13, 2013, 12:24 PM EDT

Zack Kassian AP

To all the Canucks fans who want Zack Kassian to get an opportunity to play with the Sedin twins, here’s what coach John Tortorella thinks about that idea.

“I’m not ready to put Zack in those situations where I am playing that line against probably the top two lines on the opposing team,” Tortorella said, per the Vancouver Sun. “We’re still in the process of trying to get Zack to process the game, not only with the puck but away from the puck. So that’s where I’m at there. It’s tough when you have to worry about pucks going in the back of your net when players just aren’t ready to read those situations.

“When I use Danny and Hank, it’s usually against a top line, or at least the top six. With Kass, I don’t think he has processed and learned that part of the game well enough to be put in those situations.”

Tortorella didn’t get into specifically what Kassian is doing wrong, but the 22-year-old winger admitted he has things to work on.

“There’s a couple mistakes I made earlier in the year that you can’t make,” Kassian said, per The Province. “I just need to keep it simple in the defensive zone. I have done that the last couple games (and) seen results.”

The problem for the Canucks, who host the Oilers tonight and the Bruins tomorrow, is they don’t currently have a great option to play with the Sedins. Alex Burrows is hurt, and the line of Ryan Kesler, Mike Santorelli, and Chris Higgins is playing too well to be broken up.

So that leaves the likes of Jannik Hansen, David Booth, and….um….yeah, that’s about it.

Yesterday at practice, it was Hansen with the twins. And that’s probably how it will start tonight. But knowing Tortorella’s proclivity for line juggling, that could change quickly once the puck is dropped.

Related: Kassian on Oilers seeking revenge: ‘Door is open, go ahead’

  1. micasa81 - Dec 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Kassian surely does still have some developing to do, both offensively and defensively, but even at his best, he’s going to be the type of player that needs other skilled linemates in order to use him to his full potential (which I suppose you could say about any player, but I digress). He either needs good passers to get him the puck as he fights his way into the tough areas around the net, or he needs intelligent finishers who can get themselves to the right places as he does the dirty work in the corners. Preferably both. It just so happens that the Sedins have both those skills in spades. The guys he has been playing most of his minutes with this year do not. I don’t presume to be wiser in these matters than an NHL head coach (Torts), but it doesn’t seem like Kassian has been given any sustained opportunity to show what he can do with the Sedins this year. And last year, he played a few games with the Sedins at the start of the season, looked very promising, and was summarily shunted off to the 4th line.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      He has to stop making mistakes when playing down the lineup against lesser competition though. He’s doing ok for offence, but until he cleans up the other areas it’s hard to put him on the top line (as much as I’d like it) unless you try and give the Sedins more favourable matchups.

      Before this season I was a proponent of maybe Jensen getting a chance with the twins. Now he didn’t do well enough in preseason to earn a spot, and just hasn’t been able to generate points in the AHL (although not for lack of trying, he’s apparently been good), but his style of play is very well suited to be a bigger body that can finish very well and still be pretty responsible at both ends of the ice.

  2. paledevil - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    Sometimes turning over a new leaf is harder than it sounds ( no reference to the Toronto team )… While the man has tried very hard to be kinder and gentler, us leopards cannot change our spots … However in this regard the perceived criticism is misplaced anger.. From what i see Kassian, Santorelli and Stanton are the backbone of that team …Perhaps it is motivational discipline or a challenge

    The reason i say that.. The Sedins Kessler and Bigtoe Luongo have been thru every sort of ringer there ever was. They are professionals and cannot be motivated or crushed by fan comments, a bad game or any high or low …
    Those three bring the energy the gusto the will to win …. I like to make up my own words i call it the “RAH RAH”…The rah rah = wanting personal achievements to take an active role in team success… the “rah rah ” is a big part of any game… My Opinion Just saying ….
    Cross referencing sports and using Chicago examples Shaw got the Rah Rah Noah used to have the Rah Rah.. Long eat sleeps raves repeats the rah rah.. Got to have it to be a winner

  3. imleftcoast - Dec 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Hansen has been playing with the twins. Kasian is 22, and considering he was suspended to start the year, I think everyone is happy to see his big offensive potential on display. This isn’t much of a story, even as a ‘wanna-be Tony Gallagher glass is always empty’ piece.

    • elvispocomo - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      The title’s too suggestive for my tastes, but Torts’ comments about Kassian aren’t really off base. He has some things to work on – and when they work he looks good – but it’s not really Torts saying he will never develop into a top 6 player.

    • Jason Brough - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      What do you mean it’s not much of a story? Everyone in the city screaming for Torts to put Kassian, the great power-forward hope, on a line with the twins. And here’s why Torts is hesitant to do that, even though his options are limited.
      And at the moment, elvis, Torts doesn’t trust Kassian. The headline may have been blunt, but it’s no less the truth.

      • ethanmacleod1685 - Dec 13, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        Boom !

      • imleftcoast - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:39 PM

  4. paledevil - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    After watching some of it instead of reading about it.. Mr Tortorella is like every other NHL personality ..sensationalized and often times taken out of context … He is very generous and even keeled to the media Just says it how it is …

  5. paledevil - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Watching part of it instead of reading about it. Mr Tortorella is generous and thoughtful to the media very even keeled .. Just says it like it is ..
    Did imply some sort of disapproval instead of an honest assessment .. Either way worth reading

  6. paledevil - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    9 minutes of refreshing later

  7. alphonse47 - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Time to move the big guy for top 2 forward that can skate

  8. blackhawks2010 - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Put him on the Sedin line please!

    – Every top line in the NHL

  9. slysipops - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    KASSIAN TO TORTS : ……………

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