Mayray’s Long and Winding Road

Mason Raymond suffered from one of the most horrific injuries I’ve seen as a fan of the NHL.  He was skated into the boards ass first and bent over.  It was the definition of a player in a vulnerable position.  The fact the Boychuk was not suspended for the incident still bothers me. 

But Raymond has battled back hard to get into hockey shape and more importantly into a state where he has a decent quality of life.  He has now been cleared to play and will suit up for the Canucks this weekend.  Unfortunately he’s been quoted as saying he’ll never be 100% again, but he’s still just 26years old and a year removed from a 25 goal season.  The question now becomes where does he fit into the Canucks organization? 

He’s been skating with Cody Hodgson and Jannik Hansen, but this seems like a soft 3rd line.  This line has players who are good enough to be considered more of a 2nd line-B instread of a 3rd line.  I would actually like to see him play with Kesler and Higgins and have Booth play with Hodgson and Hansen.  It gives that 3rd line more size while giving Kesler a winger he’s comfortable with and has had success with in Raymond. 

I’m not sure if Raymond is in the Canucks long-term plans, especially with the addition Booth to the team, but the Canucks need to give him a chance to get back into peak form.  They need to do it as a matter of principle in giving a player who sacrified his body in the most literal sence for the team and organization, but they also need to do it to see where he can get to as a player. 

If he can regain his 2010 form, he could have good trade value.  If he can’t get into form, they have at least showed him the respect and opportunity he deserves.  It is Gillis’s mantra to provide the utmost support for his players and he has done this through actions and words.  It is one of the great attributes that Gillis has brought to the Canucks organization. 

I look forward to seeing Mayray back playing with Coho and Janhan this weekend and seeing him return to form.

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