The Vancouver Canucks are about to hit the 20 game mark tonight as they take on the Ottawa Senators, and things aren't exactly sunshine and lollipops here on the west coast. Sitting at .500 is not where this team expected to be by a long shot. The reasons why have been speculated upon to the point of ridiculousness. My theory? You can't pin it one thing. It's more like a perfect storm of injuries, complacency, increased competition in the conference, and especially the division, and dumb luck. All of these things add up to a team that has not shown anything resembling a consistent effort for more than a game at a time. It begs the question: What if this is the way it's gonna be this year? The What If? game can be as fun as it is annoying (though those of you who are parents may come to loathe this as your kids grow older lol). What if the Canucks can't get into some kind of a groove. It's not like they're completely rotten. Hell, getting even a couple of these losses to overtime and we might not be having this conversation. There's no need to panic about missing the playoffs from what I can see. But is the possibility of a conference title, let alone a divisional one slipping away already?
The Northwest Division has been a shock to say the least, with the Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche all doing better than many had expected. While time may bear out where this is just a hiccup on their respective roads back to respectability or that they've really improved that much doesn't matter. Games like tonight are great and fun and all that, but the four remaining games in November could play a huge role in the Canucks fortunes this season. 4 games in 7 nights including back to back in Phoenix and San Jose. A nice little run here could see the Canucks make up ground on some of these teams as they head into December, and the 5 game Eastern road swing to take on our Canadian rivals in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.
What if players like Ryan Kesler can't snap out of this funk they're in? Kes simply hasn't been the player who had some even talking Hart trophy last season. He's not scoring. He's not setting up goals. And he sure as hell isn't providing that solid 2 way play that won him the Selke trophy last season. Did he come back too soon from his hip surgery? Is this a permanent issue, where the player's injury essentially has damaged them to the point that they're never the same? I hate to think this, but the longer we wait for signs of life from Kes, those thoughts start to creep in.
What if they keep losing? The Canucks and GM Mike Gillis will find themselves in a situation that seemed like crazy talk not so long ago: Trade one of the core, or fire Alain Vigneault. It feels like (to me at least) that having to do that wouldn't be so much a correction to right the ship as it would waving a white flag on the season. This team is essentially the same one that made it to the Stanley Cup finals. It's high time they started playing like that. One of the most impressive things about the Canucks last season was the insane number of injuries the team had to deal with, and the way players from the Manitoba Moose were inserted seamlessly into the lineup. Maybe a call up would shake things up a little? As well as the 4th line has been playing, maybe the Canucks could use the presence of a Mike Duco just to stir the pot. There's not a lot of energy shown when you watch the Canucks play right now. You lost the Stanley Cup in Game 7. It's over. Snap the hell out of it already because a growing number of us are getting pissed off and tired of this team playing nowhere near it's capabilities. What if they actually showed up every night?
BAND OF THE DAY- SENTINEL BEAST
Going wayyyy back to the old school, this Sacramento, CA based speed/thrash band was not around for a long time only releasing one album and a handful of demos. But it stands out because of vocalist Debbie Gunn, and some well crafted songs. Females in metal were rare back in the day and Gunn (who would go on to sing for Znowhite) was among the best. This track was featured on a compilation release that really changed my life as far as musical taste goes: The Best of Metal Blade vol 2. There were a ton of incredible bands on this Metal Blade Records sampler, and I get a flood of awesome memories when I hear this song. The band has been playing some shows of late, and it would be amazing to see them put out some new material.