It was only a few weeks ago that the Canucks looked to be on the upswing. Even in a highly competitive Western Conference they were surging up the points ladder and holding their own against good teams, and generally beating the teams they were supposed to beat. Then players started getting hurt. Santorelli, Luongo, Burrows, Stanton, Sedin, Edler, Booth (of course) ... and the lack of scoring depth became apparent. The most damaging injury is probably Santorelli who played everywhere and was the glue to a great PK and a puck-pressure system that requires players to be in top flight shape. The wheels started to come off before the game in Anaheim but that loss, a 9-1 drubbing, started a spiral that the team has not come out of. Instead of playing good teams tough and beating bad teams, the Nucks are playing uninspiring hockey. When they get a lead, like clockwork the other team scores almost immediately.
The disturbing part is that the defense has been back largely intact and has had mainstays like Hamhuis, Bieksa, Garrison, Tanev, Edler... and is still blowing leads left and right. None of it makes sense.
The weird thing has been that the teams success has been driven by players like Richardson, Higgins, Hansen, Kassian, Sestito, and Schroeder/Lain (recently) as the top flight guys have largely disappeared. There is no first line anymore, none that I can make sense of, and no one is scared of the Nucks PowerPlay, b/c its awful.
In sum, the Canucks are getting more from their lesser players than they ever have, and less from their stars. Players who should be on the PP, are the 3rd and 4th liners - the guys who are actually scoring goals.
Could this be the LA Kings circa 2012? Maybe... but that team had bona fide stars ... Kopitar, Brown, Quick, Doughty, Williams... who played that way. Till the stars come out, this team will struggle mightily.