Don't screw this up... - John Grieshop
The debate rages amongst Canucks fans and media as they hit the road for a truly bizarre road trip. Are they just in a slump, or is the window closing? The team certainly isn't doing itself any favours when it comes to dealing with the glass is half-empty crew of late. And with Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Keith Ballard out of the lineup, a sure thing win in Columbus suddenly becomes not sure in the eyes of some...
Banged up. Struggling to score. Power play looking powerless. Yeah, it's gone from same ol' same ol' to er... same ol' same ol' for the Canucks lately. After rattling off 6 straight wins they've taken a bit of a nosedive, faltering defensively, not getting the stellar goaltending they did at the start of the season, and really looking hapless with the man advantage. They've allowed the teams in their division to stay within striking distance, and in the Northwest Division, where the team that wins it may be the only one through to the playoffs, that has to be a concern. The good news is that the advanced stats all point to the Canucks being able to play their way out of this funk, and with two of the next 3 games against the worst team in the West, that could definitely help them get back on track.
One thing we've got to see from the Canucks tonight is something different on the power play. Going 0 for 5 against San Jose was likely the biggest reason they walked away with just 1 point Tuesday night, and there's so many things going wrong when the Canucks draw a penalty, that it's not an easy fix. So what are the main problems? Well, for starters you've got Daniel Sedin not shooting enough on the first unit. He's got to shoot more, and that means doing the work they need to do to create that extra time and space to allow that. Second, and I have said this many times, they really need to simplify things. I will take a gritty, not-so glamourous goal over a highlight reel quality attempt that doesn't quite work anytime, obviously. So why do they seem to spend so much time trying for that perfect set up? And no disrespect to Jordan Schroeder, but they really need to get Jason Garrison's heavy shot on the point. This guy was brought in because of his ability to provide some scoring from the back end, so why not give him the best opportunity to do just that?
Interesting piece yesterday from Cam Charron over at Canucks Army, where he suggests that the Canucks would be better off trading Cory Schneider as opposed to Roberto Luongo. The Canucks have been getting the kind of PDO that points to long term success, with a shooting percentage that's amongst the league's best right now. And Luongo's even strength save % is above the league average. Schneider's? Below. And for the guy who's supposed to be 1A, even if it's not drastically worse, it's not good enough. They'll need to get a better performance from him moving forward. So if they have to move a goaltender, I agree with Cam's take, that maybe moving the younger Schneider gives the Canucks more options as far as what they get back for a return.
Pretty scary scene last night in that Toronto/Ottawa game when Fraser McLaren knocked out Dave Dziurzynski in the opening minutes of the game, and it's certainly ignited that old 'Is it time to ban fighting' debate. It's the hockey version of gun control, and if you want a good laugh head to Puck Daddy and see how many comments of the 2500 + are directed at Harrison Mooney and the fact that he didn't like what he saw in that. Or don't. Reading comments sections on sites like that can be hazardous to your health... Colorado deserved a better fate last night than they got in their 3-2 loss to Chicago, especially on the tying goal. Yes, the short-handed Jonathan Toews goal was beautiful, but that's a penalty on Dave Bolland, knocking the stick out of Jamie McGinn's hands. Just another frustrating example of the simply unacceptable officiating league-wide this season...
Kickass Metal Tune Of The Day
Wanted to post this today to congratulate Vancouver tech-death monsters Archspire on getting signed to Season Of Mist Records. These guys are amazing, and I am really looking forward to the release of their 2nd album, which is untitled at this point. If you're into technical death metal like Origin, Necrophagist, Brain Drill and Obscura, you will love these guys. I expect them to have a major impact on this scene. Check them out on Facebook.