Makin' the grade

GUTS MCTAVISH and BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

The first quarter of the 2007-2008 National Hockey League season is coming to a close and it's time to give the Vancouver Canucks their first report card.

KEVIN BIEKSA

Mackin (C-): A disappointing end to the slow start of a promising season. Supposed to be back in second half, hopefully to improve his grade.

McTavish (C): Before the injury, he looked a little lost out there at times. Was it the contract? Previous injury? He just never did get to last year's standard.

ALEXANDRE BURROWS

Mackin (B+): More mature and better disciplined. Improvement noted.

McTavish (B): Talk about a long shot coming in. A little more finish and he could step up to the second line.

MATT COOKE

Mackin (C+): More was expected from Cookie, who has been crummy so far.

McTavish (C): Since his benching a few weeks back, the pilot light is burning a little brighter but he needs to crank it all the way on a regular basis.

BRAD ISBISTER

Mackin (C): One of two journeyman acquisitions will be allowed to coast through regular season. Real worth won't be measured until playoffs when players like this excel.

McTavish (C-): In today's speed game, he tends to stick out like a sore blister.

RYAN KESLER

Mackin (B-): Showing durability isn't enough for Kesler, who has offered some key assists.

McTavish (B+): Here's another example of a player not getting juicy line mates to play with. Nonetheless I've been impressed with his all-around game. Has play making potential.

TREVOR LINDEN

Mackin (B-): Face-off finesse has impressed. Ought to be captain.

McTavish (C-): Still fairly strong on the puck. Trouble is no one ever gives it to him and he never seems to get it for himself. Guess he's going to go out a checker.

ROBERTO LUONGO

Mackin (B-): Had a forgettable first month, including several dismal performances. Looks better in November.

McTavish (A-): Another notorious slow start is now a distant memory as he rounds into MVP form. Sanford? He's the Bunny LaRocque to our Ken Dryden because he rarely plays.

AARON MILLER

Mackin (C+): Stay-at-home D-man holding his own.

McTavish (C): Have to admit, I thought Dave Nonis brought in another washed up defenceman. Glad to be wrong; He's been rock steady of late.

WILLIE MITCHELL

Mackin (B-): Canucks' defensive captain showing more leadership after coach's criticism.

McTavish (C+): Took a little heat early from the coach, regardless his game just kept getting better and better.

BRENDAN MORRISON:

Mackin (C+): Would be better with a consistent offensive partner.

McTavish (C+): For a player who doesn't always get to play with the best line mates, he's had a decent start on a defensive minded team.

MARKUS NASLUND

Mackin (B-): Still not the Nazzy of old. Needs improvement if he wants to finish the season here and get a new deal next summer.

McTavish (B): Been very streaky at times this year. When with the Sedins, he has shown signs of the old Markus.

MATTIAS OHLUND

Mackin (B-): The most consistent blueliner the Canucks have, but he's also the leader in penalty minutes.

McTavish (B): Like his goalie, got off to a rough start. Actually looked a full step slower, but in the latter half of the quarter has been Vancouver's best defenceman.

BYRON RITCHIE

Mackin (C): "Burnaby Byron." See Isbister.

McTavish (C): I expected more crash and bang from a player who plays nearly every night.

DANIEL SEDIN

Mackin (A-): Done all that can be asked so far. Too bad he can't be cloned.

McTavish (B+): Hasn't popped as many goals as expected, but where would we be without him?

HENRIK SEDIN

Mackin (A-): See Daniel.

McTavish (A-): He is by far the team's best play maker. Needs to get his brother going in the goals category.

ALAIN VIGNEAULT

Mackin (C+): Has to give Luongo rest on back-to-backs and needs to develop a shootout specialist squad instead of grabbing names from a hat. If he can get this crew into the playoffs, he deserves another coach of the year award.

McTavish (C+): I don't think the players are big fans of all the line-juggling but I guess you need to juggle them until you find out who fits best with who.

DAVE NONIS

Mackin (C+): Canucks suffering from his lack of ability to catch a big free agent in the summer.

McTavish (C+): No need to make a trade this early. For that I applaud his patience as the team rounds out into form.


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