Mike Gillis said during last night's game that Roberto Luongo, after starting 30 straight games, needed a break because he was fatigued, and/or, his energy levels were "a little bit low." He said that starting Andrew Raycroft was planned. Some argued immediately that Luongo already had a break from January 30th, after getting pulled after one period against the Leafs to January 2nd where the Canucks played the Canadiens. Gillis told the Sun: "Game days aren’t rest days. He still had to prepare [in Toronto] as if it was a regular game. It’s not just one day we’re looking for, but a few days’ and this was an opportunity to give him three days off."
We will soon find out if Lou sharpens his game as the Canucks play the Bruins on Saturday morning. I have to say though that this year's Luongo is not the one from the past few years. There have merely been moments of sheer brilliance from Lou this season. Fatigue? Olympics distraction? Pressure?
I think there is a good chance that Pavol Demitra will start on Line 2 with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond on Saturday. As soon as Demo was promoted to that line last night there was instant chemistry. I lost count of how many times he had a pissed off look on his face from missing scoring opportunities, but you can see that he is about bag his first goal of the season. He currently has 3 assists in 9 games. You might say that it's unfair to Mikael Samuelsson to be demoted to Wellwood's line right now but let's face it: after last night's half-assed effort, it won't hurt to change things up a bit.
I'm not discrediting Samuelsson's .66 points per game pace. Speaking of that:
-Samuelsson's scoring before telling Team Sweden to go fuck themselves: 53 games played, 10 goal and 24 points, which is a .452 points per game pace.
-Sammy's scoring after the big FU: 17 games played, 9 goals and 13 points, for a .76 points per game pace.
Demitra averaged .768 points per game last season playing on line 2. Just sayin'. I think it's fair to say who belongs where. Demitra belongs on line 2. Samuelsson belongs in the bottom 6, as he was in Detroit. Thanks for filling admirably in Demitra's absence Sammy, but perhaps it's time to step aside.
I think he has been slowing a bit lately, and since he is notorious for being streaky, drop him to line 3 for a bit and play Demitra in his stead. Just my opinion. Just going by what I saw last night.
If Steve Bernier is a sensitive guy, I sure hope he doesn't read newspapers or websites. He is being crucified everywhere. I wonder if he plays as himself on NHL10 and boosts his stats to feel better about himself. Actually, the Steve Bernier on NHL10 is pretty good. Ah, life in the fantasy world. I like what he's doing on the power plays right now. He goes right to the net and screens the other goalie. I think he is doing a good job of that.
But geez, he could have got a huge monkey off his back by scoring on that breakaway late in period 2 last night but...no dice. Bernier has 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 16 games.
UPDATE: Looks like Bernier will ride the pine against Boston.
I'm hardly concerned about the 2-game losing skid. The loss to Montreal was really about early gaffs followed by mostly solid play for a large percentage of the game. The loss to Ottawa was a terrible effort through the first 2 periods followed by a desperate 3rd period when it was all but too late to come back. The Canucks seem almost too confident to me. It is time that they come back down to earth and learn all over again that it takes a consistent, ballsy effort to win games. That will come, maybe as soon as Saturday.