Frankie Corrado had his coming out party in Vancouver’s final game before the all-star break, a 4-1 loss in Tampa Bay. In just his fourth game of the season, he was a standout for the Canucks in a rough loss and he even scored his first goal of the year; the 21-year-old has two goals in 22 career games with the Canucks and he’s now faced with an opportunity to add to those numbers.
Corrado’s best career outing coincided with the game the Canucks lost Kevin Bieksa for six-to-eight weeks after his left hand was broken by a Victor Hedman shot. Bieksa had successful surgery last week, but the team doesn’t plan on having him back anytime soon.
Corrado finally has a chance to prove he belongs. He spent his all-star break ensuring he’ll make the most of it.
While teammates were hitting the beach or the slopes, Corrado was in the gym everyday, he even skated on his own at the Burnaby Winter Club to stay as sharp as possible.
The five-day break didn’t come at the greatest time, but Corrado has no doubt he’ll find his groove again.
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” Corrado said Monday, following a late afternoon practice. “I think I put some good work in in the AHL and even up here in times when I didn’t play, I thought I put a lot of good work in. Now I like where my game is at and I like the confidence I play with.”
For Corrado to play well, the Ontario-product said he needs to be steady, make a good first pass, break the puck out with precision and simply be solid on defence. All signs point to Corrado being paired with veteran Dan Hamhuis, so he’s being given a chance to play his game and not worry about much else.
“He’s great, you guys know the type of player he is, he’s easy to play with,” Corrado boasted of Hamhuis. “He makes the game easy for you and I just want to reciprocate that and make the game as easy as I can for him and be a good partner.”
The shoes Corrado has to fill are quite large, yet he isn’t putting the weight of becoming Bieksa on himself.
That being said, Bieksa played 21:16 a game, including almost two minutes shorthanded. Bieksa was also third on the team in both hits and blocks, not to mention the leadership he provided in the dressing room.
Corrado said a full-team defensive effort will help the Canucks get by without Bieksa.
“You just have to play your game when you get the chance and show what you can do. At the end of the day it’s about the team winning, so if you can contribute to that, you’re doing well.
“The team is obviously going to miss Kev, he’s a big part of the team and does so much in the dressing room and on the ice for us, but it’s up to the whole D-core to fill that void and that rests upon all of us, not just one player.”
The test begins Tuesday when Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler and the Anaheim Ducks come to town.