Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
With 18 games left in the season and a 14 point gap between the Cabucks and the next nearest team in the NW Division, have the Vancouver Canucks become complacent? In their last ten games they are 5W, 5L, have scored 2.2 goals for and allowed 2.4 against.
Prior to that, the Canucks were scoring 3.23 goals a game and were ranked third in the NHL. Their goals-per-game has actually gotten better than their 2.28 current ranking of second, only .01 behind Boston’s 2.27. So the goal-tending has kept up its consistency but the goals for are down by one. In the NHL, that one goal is the difference between winning and losing.
Think about it, if not for Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider’s solid play, this team could easily be 2W, 8L or 3W, 7L.
The urgency and effort against their opponents is just not there! Remember that most of the teams the Canucks are playing down the stretch are fighting for a playoff spot. This is not the way to prepare for the playoffs because bad habits set in very quickly on a team.
I have read and heard about the Canuck leadership throughout the team, that they hold each other accountable. So where is it? Do they really think that they can coast into the playoffs and then magically, step on the gas and the jets kick in? There’s plenty of previous historical documentation that suggests to the contrary.
Some of the teams that have gone on these long runs in the playoffs, are teams that were in a consistent winning mode entering them. Coaches and management need to nip this in the bud - like yesterday.
Last night’s game against Columbus was a good example. The Canucks came out flat and were up 1-0 after the first period, due to Luongo’s fine play. Let’s not kid ourselves, the Canucks were outplayed. In the third period the Canucks did not register a shot on goal until close to the midway point of the period.
The other point I would like to throw out there, is that with this complacency the Canucks run the risk of injuries. Why? Because they are on the receiving end of the physical play that is being dished out. Columbus made sure of that last night as they were hitting everything in sight, and finished on top with a count of 31 to 22.
Except for the Boston game, this has been a consistent pattern over a number of weeks. There is not a team in the NHL that doesn’t realize that they can nullify the top two lines by laying on the body.
Even with the addition of Maxim Lapierre, you can’t expect him, Tanner Glass and a couple of D-men to carry the physical play. I still think Victor Oreskovich is a better fit on the fourth line than Jeff Tambellini.
Just what exactly has happened to the Sedins? They seem to have disappeared for long periods of time in recent games and are spending a lot of time in their own end. That’s not where they excel nor where you want them to be.
No shots on goal last night. What’s with that?
Never mind that they never throw a body check, they could at least get some shots. Henrik had one shot directed towards the goal which was blocked and Daniel had two shots on goal. Now that’s a pretty poor effort by anyone’s standards.
If that was anyone else but the Sedins, Coach Vigneault would have parked them on the bench. Just ask Mikael Samuelsson, who was replaced in the third period by Tambellini.
In conclusion, to answer the starting question, you just have to look at the recent play of the Canucks to see that they are in coast mode, and that had better change real quick.
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Filed under: Vancouver Canucks