Simple. High expectations. The loss to Columbus was embarrassing. They are the last place team of the NHL. The Canucks strolled in to Nationwide Arena and didn't bother showing up until about the 30-minute mark of the game (except for David Booth, Zack Kassian and Jannik Hansen, most notably. They were awesome.) The guys on Sportsnet were counting on the Canucks coming out slow as it was an earlier game than normal for them. So..at what point is it fair to say that they should have their legs going? 10 minutes? Sure as hell not 30!
I can't quite put my finger on what is wrong with the mentality of this team. The most consistent effort all season was the win over the Kings on March 2. That was the team we know we have. The Canucks are 0-1-2 since that game and now 1-3-2 in their last 6. They have 3 wins in their last 11 games. Yet, even as I bitch and moan, the Canucks are now 4 points ahead of the 2nd place Wild for the Northwest Division lead. The Wild are sitting in 10th spot in the West, by the way.
Is it an "it's all good" psyche? Do these guys need more of the coach's foot up their ass? (And yes, of course there are a lot of people calling for Alain Vigneault's head right now. Happens every year). Are they thinking the Blackhawks are unreachable (which they are) and just being content with claiming the NW throne? Are they thinking they can just coast through this season and flick a switch for the playoffs? That sure as shit didn't work very well last season, did it?
I just don't feel any sort of good character and chemistry with this team since they lost in the Finals of 2011. Sure there are new faces that still have not found a consistent identity in Booth and Kassian and Garrison. But there is so much talent on this team. Missing Kesler and Bieksa? There STILL enough talent on this team to get the job done. And this does not excuse playing 30 minutes instead of 60 a lot of the time. That's a leadership / character / mental preparation thing.
The biggest flaw now besides the efforts is the power play. They got by without it for a long stretch and mastered the teams 5 on 5. But if your 5 on 5 wanes a bit, then you gotta score on the man advantage. The last Canucks power play goal was scored 8 games ago on February 21 by Mr. Alexandre Burrows:
Hell they scored a power play goal the game prior to that too:
What I like about these goals is the lack of hesitation from the point man to shoot. You see a lot of over-passing from the Canucks when their PP stinks. It's like they wait for a perfect shot. They are afraid to shoot it into a block. Fire away, dammit!
Speaking of that, watch them score 5 power play goals against Chicago on November 6, 2011:
Shots shots shots! No over-passing. Oh yeah, and a guy parked in front of the goaltender helps too. Sometimes the best answer is to keep it simple, stupid.
Can I bitch about the goaltending? I could but I won't. I think that way more times than not the Schneider - Luongo duo give the Canucks a chance to win. Schneider isn't looking as sharp as last season generally, to the point where now I hear more and more MSM people suggest it he that could be traded instead of Lou (and other reasons, of course). Oh dear god Cory gets beaten up high easily (damn you, butterfly goalie style!) I really don't care anymore when this gets resolved, but the goaltender trade talk is about to get red hot with the trade deadline approaching.
Anyway, that's enough griping from me. I am not going to bust out the statistical futility of some of the players. I am not overly concerned about this bunch of Canuckleheads. They have too much talent not to turn their fortunes around. I do believe they have the character to do so. (If you don't, well I don't really blame you.) I don't give two shits if they finish in 3rd place in the West this season, or even lower. They just need to get rolling at the right time. I don't know how they will fare overall the rest of this month, because look at this clusterfuck:
Sweet Enola Gay! 12 games in 21 days starting on Sunday. They had better enjoy their 2 day break as of right now. 5 games against NW Division teams (where they are 6-1-1 this season) and 7 games against non-NW Division teams (where they now hold a 5-5-5 suckass record). Get ready to hear the word "fatigue" over and over and over again.
I better stop now before my positivity dies.
Too late. The defence isn't good enough either. Oh god dammit we have about $23 million invested there! Oh shit!