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Isbister hoping for resurgent second half

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
At the halfway point of the 2007-08 NHL season, many Vancouver Canucks are assessing their efforts in hopes of helping their team make a strong push towards the playoffs.

Brad Isbister is one of those players and he isn’t giving himself full grades.

“It’s kind of been up and down, which is a little disappointing, “ said Isbister, who has two goals and five assists alongside a plus-3 rating this season. “Overall it’s a fun place to play and a great team to be a part of. The team’s playing well and it’s fun to come to rink everyday, but I’d like to be more consistent and put more pucks in the net. “

It’s been a tough season for Isbister so far as the 6’4”, 227-pound forward, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent in July 2007, has been a healthy scratch more than a few times to start the year. He’s appeared in only 30 of Vancouver’s 41 games and to say it’s been frustrating would be an understatement.

“It’s tough, “ admitted Isbister. “Obviously you want to play every single night and that’s just not the way it’s going right now, so it’s just a matter of staying sharp and continuing to work hard, and when you do get that chance, you’ve got to be ready. “

After sitting out Vancouver’s last game, a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers, Isbister is hoping to be in the line-up Tuesday night as the Canucks host the New York Islanders. Facing the boys from Long Island holds special meaning for Isbister as he played four seasons with the team early in his career.

“I have a lot of good memories from back then, “ said Isbister. “We didn’t have a ton of team success for the first couple of years I was there, but the last couple years we were in the playoffs. It was a good place to play and it was good years for me personally; I got a lot of ice time and I made a lot of good friends during those years. “

New York was one of many NHL stops for Isbister as the Alberta product has been with six teams since the Winnipeg Jets drafted him in the third round, 67th overall, in 1995. Phoenix, Edmonton, Boston, and New York (Rangers) have also been home to the soft-spoken left winger, with his most productive years coming in an Islanders’ jersey.

In 247 games with the Islanders, Isbister recorded 67 goals and 68 assists, but since then he’s played only 171 games, with 26 goals and 36 assists. Being traded almost every other year hasn’t deterred the 30-year-old, but he is hoping Vancouver will become home for a while.

“There are positives and negatives in going to a bunch of teams. Positives being that I get to meet a lot of people and see a lot of different parts of North America, but on the other hand it would have been nice to get rooted down somewhere for a few seasons. But that’s just the way it is and with the way hockey is now, I think more and more guys are moving around, so I just deal with it. I’m getting kind of used to it actually.

“I’d love to root down here. My wife and I love the city and the organization is top-notch and obviously the guys in the room are great. If I had the opportunity I definitely would like to do that for sure, but I’m not worrying about that, I’m just taking it day by day. “

Keeping Isbsiter as a member of the Canucks may not be such a bad idea as despite his bumpy start to the year, he’s a player who has proven he can produce in the NHL. He’s done the most damage over his career against Vancouver, in fact, with eight goals and an assist in nine games against his current team.

It’s a good thing he’s on our side now; let’s just hope it stays that way.

  1 - First season with the Vancouver Canucks

  3rd - Round choice of the Winnipeg Jets, 67th overall, in 1995

7 - Points this season for the Canucks

30 - Games played this season

218 - Career points in 11 NHL seasons

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