ALSO ON SLAM!
Saturday, October 30, 1999
No Messin' around -- the Vancouver Canucks are pretty good so far
Coach Marc Crawford attributed the Canucks' early success to strong work habits.
"It's a basic as getting our work ethic to be at a consistent level game in and game out," Crawford said. "You try and do that with a young team, especially when you're trying to establish an identity."
The Canucks, who have 13 players 25 years old or younger, do have a proven leader -- a revitalized 38-year-old Mark Messier.
"Mark has played with renewed enthusiasm this year," Crawford said. "He came to camp in terrific shape. He's playing extremely, extremely well."
Last year, Messier was limited to 59 games because of an injury.
"So far, it's going well," said Messier, who had 10 points (four goals, six assists) after 11 games. "I'm just playing it one year at a time."
Through games of Friday, the Canucks led the Northwest Division with a 6-4-2 record. Last season, the Canucks were 23-47-12 in a tumultuous year that included the firing of Mike Keenan and hiring of Crawford, who coached Colorado to the Stanley Cup title in 1996.