I had hoped that Canucks GM Mike Gillis might have been able to swing another deal, anything really, to try and shore up the Canucks and give them something that will shake things up and get them playing the kind of hockey they, on paper at least should be playing. With Derek Roy now a Canuck, and Ryan Kesler soon to be rejoining the team, the Canucks will be (save for David Booth) be as healthy as they can be in this last season of the month. Zack Kassian's back from Chicago after his time out for being a wealthy 22 year old athlete, and so we're supposed to be optimistic, right?
I'd join Zandberg in his positivity, but a) I hate to buck trends and b) the list of things that need to change for this team to be considered a legitimate threat is long. They need more scoring, first and foremost. To a man, this team needs to step up offensive production. They've gotten some decent secondary production from guys like Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen and Chris Higgins this year. The top line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alexandre Burrows need to ramp it up, as do the defence. This D core should be providing far more offence than they do, but it seems like the only things they do well right now in the offensive zone is miss the net on shots from the point and cough up the puck at the blue line for an odd man rush against.
The power play needs to go through some type of makeover bordering on miraculous, if you believe in that sort of thing. The Canucks special teams play has gone from disappointing, to dreadful all the way to embarrassing in this shortened season. With essentially the same personnel, they have become one of the most easily solved PP's, their opposition seemingly not breaking a sweat when the Canucks try to set up for an endless series of drop passes and cycles that never seem to be able to get anywhere near what can be called a scoring chance. Anyone out there feel confident that Special Teams Coach Newell Brown has a plan to get the Canucks PP back to respectability, let alone where it used to be?
Team defence has to be better. That last game against the Oilers was a disgraceful affair where these kids were given free reign to attack the Canucks net in the opening minutes of the game, and before we knew what happened, it was 4-0. That was the most embarrassing moment so far this year in a season that's hardly been filled with high points. Anything less than a smackdown response tonight to remind the Oilers that they have a long way to go to be considered equals in the NorthWest Division, will suggest that this team is indeed in trouble. The motivation is certainly there. Home game. New addition. Divisional Rival. Chance for revenge against an embarrassing loss. And most importantly, a chance to regain the divisional lead. It's all there.
Sure, we can lament Mike Gillis' lack of movement yesterday. For the most part, it was probably the smartest move, in not giving up too much for rentals. The time for Gillis to fix things was last summer, not yesterday. Now we get to find out if the gambles, and there were a lot of them, will work. Will he roll 7, or is it snake eyes again, for a team that's been bitten every year of it's existence?
KICKASS METAL BAND OF THE DAY
Only Living Witness were one of the better post-hardcore bands of the early 90's, releasing two damn fine albums before calling it a day. This Boston band's second album 'Innocents' remains in my top 10 to this day, full of chunky, yet melodic riffage and the soulful vocals of Jonah Jenkins. Yeah, this song really nails it for me right now.