As a new treat for you damn kids this Sunday, the three old
idiots wise men who run this humble corner of the tubes - Zandaddy, Basky and YC - review what we loved and hated this week from our fair warriors in blue/white.
Pull your pants up punk and let's go.
AS GOOD AS MATLOCK AND APPLESAUCE
Basky: When Johnny Boychuk broke Raymond's back in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it wasn't wrong to think it could have been the last time we saw him on the ice. I know we all hoped that he would make a complete recovery, but I don't think anyone foresaw him coming back the way he has. Some are saying he's changed his style in his return, and while I am not 100% convinced of this it certainly does seem as though he's going to the dirty areas a lot more. His speed certainly hasn't been affected, and his chemistry with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins was instantaneous, and the loss of David Booth was made a little less painful by Raymond's startling return to form. It's been great to see him as though he were in mid-season shape, rather than the condition Ryan Kesler was in when he started his year after his hip surgery following the finals. As the Canucks head into the last half of their December schedule, they have some tough games ahead. Mason Raymond's play since his return just gives the Canucks one more reason to feel confident this team is heading in the right direction.
Zandberg: They won all 4 games! Wooo! They outscored their opponents 19-5 in those 4 games. 6 of those goals were scored on the power play. 1 of them scored shorthanded. 1 of them in a shootout win where Luongo allowed no goals against in the skills competition part of the game. The other 11 goals were scored at even strength, which is a great thing because they sure were struggling at even strength earlier on in the season. 11 different Canucks scored in those 19 goals, if my math is right.
YC: Chris Higgins
FRIGGIN KIDS WITH THEIR RAP MUSIC, CELL PHONES AND PROMISING FUTURES
Basky: It's been a hallmark of this team for the last few seasons, a move towards defence by committee and a sense off responsibility from all hands to focus on defence and thus make things easier on the goaltenders. The last week has been so frustrating watching a team that normally is so solid in their own end make embarrassing fundamental mistakes. They made Columbus and Carolina especially look like Cup contenders the way they allowed them free reign. Roberto Luongo gave the Canucks a chance to win against Columbus, the team pissed that away by allowing it to get to a shootout, spending so much time chasing the puck against a team they should have handled easily. And what the hell they were doing against Carolina, well your guess is as good as mine, but Cory Schneider certainly deserved better. Even against the Leafs Saturday night (and not to take anything away from the Leafs, who played a strong game) the Canucks offered passive resistance at best for the first half of the game, allowing Leaf forwards to set up camp in front of the net and get quality chances on Luongo. Again, Luongo was more than up to the task, and like his counterpart at the other end of the ice, kept things going for his team until the Canucks decided to crank it up a notch. Not going to single out any one player here, this is on all of them. They're complicating things, all they need to do is get back to the simple, basic things that have seen them so successful the last few years. I know I am supposed to sound more crotchety, but it's Christmas so I am a little more mellow. There's not much to complain about this month.
Zandberg: The games against Columbus and Carolina. Sure, Steve Mason and Cam Ward played very well against the Canucks but that's no excuse. These were two teams the Canucks should have beaten. But I think, and this is a stab in the dark, that the Canucks know how good they are and they know how bad those teams are. And they fail to mentally prepare for the game. Or, they go in and purposely don't work hard enough because they think it will be good enough to work hard for 50% of the game and still win. I've given up getting mad about those efforts. For now anyway. But maybe they should issue out a notice that they plan on dicking around for games like that so I can just skip the game period.
By the way, I still tip my hat to Chris Higgins for his efforts this week. He doesn't have a quit button that I can tell. The same goes for Mason Raymond.
What is going on with Ryan Kesler? I see him getting high sticked and dumped and no calls are coming. Is this a reputation thing? You have to wonder because it happens so much. I think the refs as a whole have it in for him.
YC: Three words: Alberts as forward. Never again. There aren't enough kittens in the world to punt which would accurately describe my rage at this "coaching" decision.