Knight, Haber were top rookies, except Haber's ineligible - The Province


Contributions by both were enormous

By Marc Weber

It's a near-impossible decision that no one has to make: choosing between Wes Knight and Marcus Haber for Vancouver's rookie of the year nominee.

That's because Haber, a 20-year-old forward from Vancouver, is ineligible for the league award based on his professional contract with Dutch Eredivisie club FC Groningen between 2006-08. This despite the fact he only played for their under-19 side.

"That's strange for me," said Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson.

Still, being put off by the process might be better than taking sides in this debate. Haber played 1,990 minutes; Knight 2,231. Haber was seventh in points with 20, thanks to eight goals and four assists; Knight -- a 23-year-old right back/winger from Easley, S.C. -- tied with Minnesota's Ricardo Sanchez for the league's assist lead with eight.

As mediocre as Vancouver's season has been, it's frightening to imagine where the Whitecaps would be without these two. And exciting to think about where each will be in the future.

"Both have been doing extremely well," said Thordarson. "If I had to choose between the two, which is very hard to do, as a former striker, I would most probably choose Marcus."

Nash just about ready

The most positive sign at practice Monday was captain Martin Nash training full out for two hours. And he didn't look too rusty, either, scoring half a dozen goals in mini scrimmages.

Nash has been out of the lineup since injuring his hamstring on Aug. 29 at home to Rochester. The former league ironman missed the final five games of the regular season but is expected to play the Caps' playoff opener Thursday if all goes well at training today. He'll likely take Wednesday off.

"It was very encouraging to see him training [Monday]," said Thordarson.

Centre backs Shaun Pejic and Chris Pozniak continued to test out their groin injuries Monday but neither participated in full training. Midfielder Nizar Khalfan (ankle) is expected to return to training today.
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