Canucks Vrbata, Sedins reunited … and it feels so good

 

Czech sniper back on the first line with Henrik and Daniel Sedin

 
 
 
 
Vancouver Canucks right-winger Radim Vrbata is the front man with Daniel (left) and Henrik Sedin (right) in the background during the team’s practice at UBC in Vancouver on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.
 

Vancouver Canucks right-winger Radim Vrbata is the front man with Daniel (left) and Henrik Sedin (right) in the background during the team’s practice at UBC in Vancouver on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

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VANCOUVER — It’s bad enough that Radim Vrbata has to answer daily questions from reporters about his goal-scoring slump.

Now he’s starting to hear about it at home.

“My older son is all over me now,” a smiling Vrbata said Tuesday. “When he is all over me, then it is getting really tough.”

Vrbata’s six-year-old son, Krystof, recently began playing minor hockey and is his dad’s biggest fan. Vrbata joked that maybe his slump has become a family affair.

“I went to his practice yesterday but he didn’t score either,” Vrbata said. “He’s just six, so of course he wants to see us win and he wants to see me score.”

The Canucks also want to see Vrbata score, and to make that happen coach Willie Desjardins is moving him back onto a line with his old friends, Henrik and Daniel Sedin.

Vrbata wasn’t exactly humming that old Peaches & Herb late 1970s classic, Reunited, but it’s not a stretch to say that being back together with the twins has him feeling good.

“They are unique players as I said last year,” Vrbata said after the Canucks practised at UBC. “The reason I came here last year was to have a chance to play with them and at the beginning of the season we were scoring quite a bit, so hopefully we can do the same thing now.”

After that strong start last season, Vrbata went on to score a team-high 31 goals. He didn’t play the whole season with the twins but was at his best when he was skating with Henrik and Daniel.

This season, Vrbata started the season on a line with Bo Horvat and does not have a point in Vancouver’s first six games. He hopes being reunited with the Sedins will help him bump the slump.

“Hopefully that is going to help out a little bit and we get some scoring going,” he said. “But I don’t think it was too much about playing with different guys or (lack of) chemistry. I think it was about burying the chances and for the puck to go in. But obviously if we can play the same way we did last year and score some goals, that would help big time.”

Desjardins acknowledged Tuesday that he was reluctant to load up his top line with his top three offensive players. But he felt the need to try and not only kick-start Vrbata, but also the Sedins. Henrik Sedin has just two points in the first six games of this young season.

“The twins have been putting up lots of chances,” Desjardins said. “They just haven’t been finishing and I think Verbie wants to get something on the board, too. We’ll give it a look. It kind of loads up one line a little bit more, but we are home so we get matches. I think it is a good time to try.”

The Sedins, who have had a revolving door as their right-winger this season, seem happy to have Vrbata back riding shotgun with them.

“It is fun to be back on the same line again,” Henrik said. “We had a lot of success early on last year and he is one of those guys who is going to get to the spots where he is able to score goals. I think (it’s important) for the three of us to get back producing some goals. We have been close, but we haven’t been able to put it in as much as we have wanted to. I think it’s good to put us together to get out of that slump.”

“We know what he can do,” added Daniel. “He’s a great shooter and we had some success last year. So we will try to get that going again.”

Vrbata is goal-less despite taking 25 shots in his first six games. That had him ranked sixth in the NHL heading into Tuesday night’s schedule.

“It is frustrating when you feel like you are generating enough chances for yourself and the puck is not going in,” he said. “At least the positive thing is you are getting those chances.”

He has not doubt he will get some quality looks at the net playing with the Sedins.

“You never know what to expect, I think that is what makes them unique,” he said of Henrik and Daniel. “You have to read the situation. If you go somewhere they will adjust their play and make it work. I don’t think there is too many set plays with them, it’s just about reading each other on the ice, reading the situation the best way you can and create an advantage for yourself.”

And then shooting and hopefully scoring.

bziemer@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/bradziemer

 
 
 
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Vancouver Canucks right-winger Radim Vrbata is the front man with Daniel (left) and Henrik Sedin (right) in the background during the team’s practice at UBC in Vancouver on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.
 

Vancouver Canucks right-winger Radim Vrbata is the front man with Daniel (left) and Henrik Sedin (right) in the background during the team’s practice at UBC in Vancouver on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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