FanPost

Time to nut up or shut up

Nutuporshutup_medium
In the zombie apocalypse, Daniel Sedin gets stuck with the unfortunate nickname "Örnsköldsvik".

This is my first post here at Nucks Misconduct, I usually blog over at my personal site, Game 7 Hockey. Big tip of the cap to Sean Zandberg and Yankee Canuck for giving me a shot at reaching a much wider audience here at NM, I look forward to contributing a healthy mix of humour, analysis, shoddy Photoshop work, and totally blind optimism when it comes to our favourite team.

And now, the goods!

Before the Canucks wildly entertaining (and confusing) 6-5 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, the team was on a bit of a roll. They had strung together 5 straight wins, and were 8-2-0 in their last 10 overall. Despite that string of solid play, their record now sits at 14-10-1. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about, either.

While the team certainly played a more consistent brand of hockey through November in comparison to October, I still don't think we've seen the full dominance that we know this team is capable of. At this time last year, the Canucks began an incredible stretch of play, going 12-1-1 in the month of December. Looking ahead at the schedule for the rest of this month, I see no reason why the team can't put up a similar record this year and start to separate themselves from the glut of mediocre teams in the Western Conference.

Lets take a closer look at the Canucks December schedule:

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Screenshot from Canucks.com

Yikes, what do most of those teams have in common? Out of 15 games, only 5 are against teams that currently occupy a playoff birth — Toronto, Minnesota, Detroit, San Jose, and LA — and the Canucks don't even play a playoff team until December 16 when they face the Maple Leafs (yup, you can actually use "Maple Leafs" and "playoff team" in a sentence this year).

Now lets look at Vancouver's individual record against each opponent dating back to last season (stats courtesy of ShrpSports):

Calgary: 6-0-1
Colorado: 6-0-1
Montreal: 0-2-0
Ottawa: 3-0-0
Columbus: 6-0-0
Carolina: 1-0-0
Toronto: 2-0-0
Wild: 5-3-0
Detroit: 2-1-2
Edmonton: 5-3-0
San Jose: 4-0-1
Anaheim: 2-3-0
LA: 3-1-1

That's an overall record of 45-13-6 against teams the Canucks will face the rest of the way this month. If this team is as good as we hope they are, they should be coming out of December with a double-digit number in the win column, and possibly a lead in the Northwest Division.

Christmas is always a landmark in the NHL season, roughly marking the halfway point. A team's record is often discussed within the context of "before Christmas" or "after Christmas". The Canucks could make life a lot easier for their "after Christmas" selves by taking advantage of their schedule in December. There aren't any excuses left, with Mason Raymond returning to the lineup, Ryan Kesler and David Booth rounding into form, and the team finally starting to show consistency 5-on-5. The time is now!

Starting with a convincing win tonight over the Flames? That'll do, pig.

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