It's something we avoid like the plague around these parts. Trying to find that balance between panic-stricken, glass half-empty and ultra-positive glass half-full when it comes to assessing the team. You know, rational. Criticize with rationale as to why. Praise when it's worthy. And you can't blame us for this, as the Canucks have shown just enough glimpses during the course of this lockout shortened season to make you believe it was just something they needed to shake off. Saturday night's debacle against Detroit has me questioning my faith, so to speak. This team has lost it's way, it would seem. Their only identity now is one of disarray, confusion and a style of play that is not consistent with a team of their talent level and capability on paper.
For the 2nd time in a week, the Canucks have surrendered the division lead to the Minnesota Wild, who are in Rogers Arena tonight. After the 5-2 loss to the Red Wings the Canucks tumbled all the way to 7th place in the Western Conference. The bad part? They're now only 4 points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. Anything less than a regulation win tonight against Minnesota is unacceptable. These overtime and shootout games? They have to end. Now. The Canucks have been giving out more freebies to divisional rivals than teams did when they came back from the lockout, and are now paying the price for their generosity. There's 6 weeks (give or take) left in the season. Something has to give.
There's been a portion of our fanbase that's been calling for the removal of Alain Vigneault as coach for a couple years now. I've always felt that while some of the members of this faction have legitimate complaints about Vigneault's coaching style, a lot of seems to stem from AV and the Canucks not winning the right way. It makes you wonder if winning the Cup in 2011 would have even changed anything for some of them, but I digress. Generally, I just drove around a lot of this virtual roadkill along the way. That roadkill now appears to be blocking the highway, to the point that in order to move along, the Canucks will have two choices: remove said roadkill via a coaching change, or taking a detour via trade, and bringing in some new blood. And by trade, I think we all know what that means.
The Canucks have recalled Jordan Schroeder for tonight's game, and Keith Ballard is drawing back into the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the past few, but it's becoming pretty obvious the lateral moves that the team has been making aren't allowing them to move past the roadkill and go forward. So, at the risk of drawing the ire of some, I am gonna just come out and say it: A loss to Minnesota and/or St. Louis tomorrow in this set of back to back games should see the team respond by firing the coaching staff. Time is running out. There's not a lot of viable options out there that will get us what we need trade-wise. So, unless we see a positive response from the team on the ice, it has to come to this. And I hate this, because for all of his frustrating moves, Vigneault is a good coach. No matter how much you hate the guy, the record speaks for itself. The question is: Do they let the window slam shut, or jam a stick in there, and allow themselves a different way of climbing through it.
There's been some chatter about calling up Nicklas Jensen from the Wolves. I think that unless a series of catastrophic injuries force their hand, you would hate to see them burn a year on his entry level deal. The seasoning he will get playing with the Wolves will only help him in the long run, as opposed to throwing him into the fire right now, only to discover that he's not quite ready for this level of competition. It's a gamble either way, but unless they absolutely have to, the best thing would be to keep him where he is.
The Canucks also announced a signing today, inking their 4th round pick from 2011, Ludwig Blomstrand. Blomstrand notched 19 points in 30 games for Almtuna of the Swedish Elite League after being traded from Djurgardens, where he was scoreless in 13 games to start the season.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Some old school live Exodus for ya today. Boy does this one ever sum things up in Canuck Nation. Fabulous Disaster, indeed.