There is a very interesting situation developing in Vancouver, one that requires several pieces of a puzzle in order to point the overall picture.
First, yesterday former Vancouver Canucks first round draft pick Jake Virtanen complained about his ice time, not a good move for a rookie who is not living up to the expectations his team has for him.
“I’ve got to earn it (ice time), but I want to be an every-shift-kind-of-guy," said Virtanen as per The Vancouver Sun. "It’s hard to get going when you’re sitting for so long on the bench and after 10 or 11 minutes, you get back out there. But Willie wanted to win and he played the guys he thought he could win with.”
The Canucks may have responded to those comments today, after the injury to defenseman Chris Tanev which we reported on yesterday, the Canucks have not called up a defenseman, but rather are now carrying an extra forward in the line up. According to a report from the Utica Observer Dispatch forward Mike Zalewski has been called up from the American Hockey League, a move that appears to be a message to Virtanen.
Head coach Willie Desjardins hinted at his dissapointment with Virtanen in comments made this week.
“I think Jake maybe is a little frustrated with things, so I understand that,” said Desjardins as per NBC Sports. “I think with his game, there’s certain expectations we have. … I think Jake has the talent to be a top-nine (forward) for sure, even a top-six. He could be a power forward. He’s got power, he can shoot the puck, he goes to the net, he’s got lots to his game that makes him a good player.
“But obviously if he was doing all those things right now, I’d be playing him more and he’d be playing up the lineup with regular players.”
Certainly not the kind of start the Canucks were looking for from Virtanen, both on and off the ice.