Let me draw you a timeline.
2010-2011 – Best team in hockey. Should have won the Stanley Cup. Enough about that.
October 6 2011 – November 19 2012 – New season, effectively same roster as before minus Erhoff (I’ve covered that elsewhere). Standard slow start. Huge hangover from the playoffs and not the good kind. Free pass from everybody.
November 20 2011 – January 6 2012 – Regain their status as the best team in hockey. Power play on fire. All cylinders cooking.
January 7 2012 – Boston rematch. Game of the year in the NHL (inexplicably buried in the schedule). Canucks win, and while the win meant nothing in the standings, they got their pride back.
Now comes the shitty part. Since then, this team his lost its mojo.
Jan 8 2012 – April 7 2012 – Somehow win the Presidents Trophy by stringing together a series of unlikely wins. Power play blows goats from this point on but the team wins games it has no business winning due to no small amount of BS luck. Remember the stanchion against Colorado and the OT win? Uh-huh. That’s probably the most glaring example but there are others. Everyone tells the each other that the team is tired and saving saving itself for the playoffs. I think this is where the rot started to set in.
April 11 2012 – April 22 2012 – The playoffs. Canucks get smoked by the Kings. S-M-O-K-E-D. With the exception of the pride game (game 4) team looks generally disinterested. However, there’s a built-in excuse: no Daniel thanks to Duncan Keith (may his balls rot painfully off). They get a begrudging pass because of this even though they shouldn’t. Losing one guy, even a guy like Daniel, isn’t an excuse for the effort (or lack therof) put in here.
January 19 2013 – February 12 2013 – Canucks get off to an uncharacteristically strong start (let;s forget that season opener), getting out of the gate 8-2-2. The young players on the team are stepping up with Zack Kassian and Jordan Schroeder playing significant roles. It appears that the Canucks are (gasp) evolving as a hockey team, Everyone is happy.
12 February 2013 – 7 March 13 – Ryan Kesler returns and immediately the never ending line shuffling begins. Younger players who were leading team earlier are demoted to marginal roles. Any identity the team had seems to get demoted along with them. With the exception of a huge win over Los Angeles, this team looks like the same one that got soundly beaten by those same Kings in the playoffs last year, uninspired and for the most part disinterested. Canucks fans line up to jump off the nearest ledge.
Folks, this has been going on for over a year but there’s always an excuse. Bruins game hangover, Daniel’s injury, the lockout, Kesler’s injury, Kesler is back and the team is trying to sort itself out, blah blah blah. This team (and by that I mean the entire team) has been together for so long that they’ve gotten stale. Change is required to light a fire and as much as I desperately want this team to win with AV, that means the coach. I don’t like it, I think he’s a great coach and I’m not sure there’s better on the market. But sometimes change is the most important thing. It may be time. Right now they look like a Ferrari stuck in first gear, and have for a while. If this goes on much longer it will be time.