Sunday night brings the vaunted Blue Jackets into town. I miss the days when I could laugh at that.
But, for now, Columbus (7-3 in their last ten) arrives firing on all cylinders, including a red hot goalie, a new goalie and a new forward. The last time they met was (...wait for it...) a 3-2 loss for Vancouver back in December. If the last two losses are any indication, Vancouver will need to play phenomenally better then they have in the past two weeks just to stay in this game, let alone win.
Following that test comes the Sharks, a team that (as of now) has lost six times all year yet could easily extend Vancouver's current losing streak to the same number. Ponder that for a second and vomit if necessary. The Sharks have beat the Canucks twice this year (by a combined score of 9-2). The Sharks beat the Canucks all four times last year too (by a combined score of 15-6). In fact, the last Vancouver victory against San Jose I think was April 7, 2007, the same night that OT win awarded Vancouver the NW crown. Same rules: ponder that for a second and vomit if necessary.
If you scan the calendar past the ASG, there's a particularly lovely section of February where Vancouver is going to run the Canadian gauntlet (Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal again). Before that they get the likes of three teams that have beat them recently (Dallas, St. Louis and Phoenix) and end the month on a date with Tampa (considering the Canucks couldn't beat the Isles, the worst team in the league currently, beating the Florida aslyum isn't a gimme either).
Everyone connected to the team has chimed in on what is wrong. But what if worse comes to worst and the team enters the break on the mother of all losing streaks? Gillis, Vigneault and any player near a mic are all saying the right things but that means little. The entire conference is moving forward and no team is slipping worse than Vancouver; that can't be ignored for very long.
Hypothetical time everyone! Chime in with a vengeance.