It all started with an eastern road trip that began very well, 3 – 0 – 1 to be exact and all fans on deck were filling up the bandwagon faster than a Lamborghini can change lanes and and end up in the bush. Once things started going a bit south for our boys in blue and green said bandwagon started emptying faster than an emergency response to said Lamborghini. It truly is amusing and funny how quick the panic set in after the slump started. This player is useless or that player demanded a trade and it starts our usual merry pick apart of the team. The slump was bound to happen but the most important thing is the team’s response to the slump which was not give up. It has honestly been a long time since I have seen the work ethic of our team as strong as it is now a long, long time. I think we may even have to go as far back as 1994 to find the work ethic we are seeing right now. It is especially gratifying because it makes the loss that much easier to take. There is nothing worse than watching your team lose a game all the while watching them all mope and pout in the same game. They are taking ownership for who they all are in relation to the team. it is exciting and most of all refreshing. Now I know the argument will come my way as to what about the team that went to the final? What about their work ethic and all I have to say to that is game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final was 4 – 0 and we all knew from the first Bruins goal that night how the game was going to go. They moped, sulked and pouted their way around the ice praying the score wouldn’t be ridiculous. They never really had to work the wins were just coming. The first time they did have to dig down deep they didn’t get there and they have not been there since, until this season that is. Don’t get me wrong I love our 2011 edition of the Canucks there was a lot of skill there with one of the best goalies in the league as well as circumstance that stole us a lot of points that we did not necessarily deserve. Not to mention a great coach who took the New York Rangers to the Cup Final the season he was let go from the Canucks. It is good to see them all playing with a purpose this year as compared to not having a clue what was going on most of last year.
The slump has spurred a lot of rumors one of them being being that Burrows had demanded a trade. Does this make sense to anyone? A third line player that, for the most part, got first line minutes and second line salary demanded a trade? First off what gives him any right to demand anything? Does him scoring 2 goals while playing on the fourth line last night versus Arizona give him some clout. Second why would he want to go anywhere? He is included in the description of the teams “core”, he gets respect from fans and other players on the team. It does not make sense to me which is why I will discard this rumor for what it is… Fishing. Now I said some similar things before the Kesler trade so really it shows you how much I know.
Speaking of Kesler it sure has gone quiet on that front. Mr Bonino I suggest you pick your game up a little bit or you will be the media and Canuck nay-sayers next target. On that note I bid you all a very Merry Christmas and our friend @StuartLucky has sent me a few gifts to share with you. Thanks Stuart!!
After watching two preseason games I have a positive vibe coming from our city’s team. One message I get loud and clear was that our much-loved and missed Twin brothers are back. They have been the most noticeable players on the ice for both teams in both games. Of course I say noticed in a positive way. Daniel and Henrik got a new playmate this summer and they seem determined to prove Vrbata is the fit as well as proving they are the first line. They moved the puck around so well that it showed us why they are elite players. 2012/13 was a lockout year that really stole the focus from the players. in that shortened season it was noticeable on many teams other than just the Canucks so I don’t truly evaluate that as a season. Last season (2013/14) was a gong show from the point of hiring John Tortorella as head coach right up until the last and embarrassing loss of the season. I don’t believe Gillis wanted to hire him so tension was set in place from the start and every Canuck fan that hung around long enough saw the inevitable story unfold before our eyes. It was not a pleasant read for it seemed The Twins lacked any sort of interest for the game at all. By the time the season was over I got the feeling that they were going to lay an ultimatum down. The management and coach or the Twins. Not a hard decision to make. I would not be surprised if the Twins had something to do with the departure of Ryan Kesler. I am not saying this is so I am just saying don’t be surprised if it is. Franchise players looking like franchise players which in itself gives the Canucks hope and a chance. Other players feed off of the Twins magic when the Twins light up the ice everyone else on the team benefits from this. Honestly, have you ever seen the team play bad when the Twins play well? Good question isn’t it? I also noticed Nick Bonino all over the puck in the third period as well as OT and Linden Vey is a speedy player that seems to understand the way the Twins play. It is only two games into the season and so far the Canucks have only played division bottom feeders from last year but there is an energy there that you can’t deny. I am very much looking forward to their first match-up with one of the power teams of the Western Conference for truly it will be their first test.
I have much concern for the Canucks blue line as I have seen many mistakes made by the Edler/Tanev pairing. Both guys have struggled and seemed very lost while Tanev in particular is not showing us what got him his job in the first place. The calm and poise that had been present from the time of his first NHL shift seems to have vanished completely. This surprises me because the type of play he was showing us up until now is not the kind of play that can be taught. It’s the kind of talent natural stars possess. He has brains and he has the talent all I wonder is what kind of damage did Tortorella do that may have to do with the creation of this “new look Tanev”? I pray it’s not permanent. Edler has not helped in the task of settling things down in the Canucks end. I will say towards the end of the Canucks Saturday night tilt vs the Oilers he was throwing his body around quite a bit but earlier on he looked awful. He looked really bad vs the Flames on Wednesday and I find myself praying that this is a temporary thing for him , alas, I prayed last year as well to no avail. I have been a very big supporter of Edler but I am getting the feeling I may need to prepare myself mentally for his possible departure because GM Jim Benning will not hesitate to move him if his play stays this way. I did not notice Luca Sbisa much which is a good thing for a defense-man. He did make a few good passes out of the zone and he threw a couple of nice hits so it would appear that he is beginning to settle in. Stanton looked solid and I believe he is probably the most valuable waiver pick up the Canucks have ever acquired so there are some good things going on with the back-end but they do have two problems to fix. Any success they have will taper off if said problems go unattended. The question is how much time do you give the ship to right itself?
My last opinionated topic involves a questionable signing which hasn’t made me feel very confident about our goaltending. I felt more confident seeing Eddie Lack in net playing for a crappy team last year than I do watching Miller play behind a greatly improved team. I don’t know what it is but I am not confident he can “hold the fort”. It’s almost like the feeling I got when I knew it wasn’t going to be a good night for Luongo. Every time the opposition came down on the attack my shoulders tightened and I cringed until the puck turned back the other way. Those were very stressful games to watch and I get the same feeling with Miller. Potvin, Irbe and Dan Cloutier had a way of making feel like that too. Sixth sense? I don’t know but I do know that particular feeling is rarely wrong. On the bright side Miller did make a couple of timely saves on Saturday night and if the win is on the board I guess it doesn’t matter how many goals go in against. Again I have to ask the question, how long do you give him? This is something only Benning and Linden can answer and I have something that was absent around this time last year…. Faith in my hockey team’s management. Until next time readers and fans, may visions of cycling Sedins with a shot of Vrbata fill your dreams.