Get Out The Booze And Sedatives! Canucks Hockey Is Back!

Get it together! - Rich Lam

Next Game: Wednesday vs St. Louis.

Next 10 Opponents: Blues, Wild, Senators (Outdoor Game), Coyotes, Stars, Flames, Islanders, Capitals, Panthers, Lightning. 5 of those at home, 5 on the road.

Where were we at again? Oh right, the Canucks had a 10-1-2 record in December, a 4-9-2 record in January, and an 0-4-0 record in February before the Olympic breaks relieved us of a 7-game losing streak. While some positive fans remain, it seems the majority wants a fire sale, a GM's head on a platter, Tortorella torn limb from limb, etc etc. A 5-2 loss to Montreal and a 3-1 loss to Toronto to end their sked before the Olympic break was too much for some to bear.

FUTILITY ON THE SCORESHEET

The Canucks have only scored 11 goals in their 7-game losing streak. The supposed top players on the team are mired in scoring slumps.

-Ryan Kesler scored the Canucks' lone goal against the Leafs, but did not have a point in his previous 3 games. He really hasn't been all that bad. It's the Sedins that enrage me.

-Daniel has no points in 9 games, 1 assists in his last 14, and has not scored a goal in 19 games.

-Henrik, who had missed a couple games with a rib injury, has no points in 6 games and a assist in 8.

-Burrows has not scored a goal in 28 games this season. A season marred with injury.

-David Booth has 2 assists in his last 17 games and has not scored a goal in 20. But damn, he's sure tryin'!

-Jason Garrison scored 2 goals and 7 assists in his first 10 games as a Canuck. He has 1 goal and 2 assists in his last 14 games.

-Dan Hamhuis has not scored a goal since November 9. He has 1 assist in his last 13 games.

-Jannik Hansen has 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 19 games. Strangely, every time Hansen has scored a goal this season, the Canucks achieved at least a point (5-0-4).

But a few positives:

-Zack Kassian seems to get better and better even if he only has 1 goal and 4 assists in his last 11 games. It's still better than the Sedins for f*cks sakes.

-The goaltending has been great all year.

- Alexander Edler, to me, is steadily improving and is putting up more points (2 goals and 2 assists in his last 6 games).

-Chris Higgins has been a stud all season. His 16 goal and 33 points is putting him on pace for the second-best season of his career. Keep it up, Higgy!

INJURY UPDATES

Scoring woes and oh yes, INJURY HELL. Where are we at with those again?

-Henrik Sedin is very close to returning from his rib (and finger?) issue.

-Alex Burrows (hand) should play Wednesday vs the Blues or very soon after.

-Kevin Bieksa (foot) was forced to leave practice by Torts the other day. It was still sore. He may play Wednesday.

-Chris Tanev (thumb) is still out.

-WORST OF ALL, Ryan Kesler is reportedly getting an MRI done on his hand after blocking an Ilya Kovalchuk shot in the Olympic Tournament. His status is unknown but doesn't look good. Very bad news.

-Andrew Alberts is still calling himself Hodor and making his way beyond The Wall..

-Yannick Weber is questionable for Wednesday with an upper body injury.

-Mike Santorelli is done for the season and it makes me cry. That guy was our bread and butter and nobody has stepped up to replace his contributions.

-Torts talks about the main injuries:

-The Canucks will call up Kellan Lain from Utica for Wednesday's game and that's it, tweets Farhan Lalji.

-The math experts think the Canucks need to go 14-4-4 to finish the season in order to make the playoffs (and get 95 points). Sound possible? Which leads me to my next point:

TRADE SPECULATIONS

The Canucks will play 4 games prior to the March 5 trade deadline.

The only name that is consistently out there is Alexander Edler, with Detroit being the main name mentioned as the team interested. While this may still remain true, it is not likely going to happen. Mike Gillis would have to ask Edler to waive his no trade clause, and like I have said a million times, he won't do that. Gillis said prior to the Break "We will be fine." I wonder if he still feels that way if Kesler misses an extended amount of time.

The bottom line is that I want Gillis to approach one of these top 4 defencemen with NTC's and ask them to waive in order to trade for help up front. The Canucks need another top 6 forward so badly. I don't see Booth or Hansen filling that role.....ever.

I expect Gillis to go thrift shopping, given the limited cap space he has and with all of his main core players having some form of no-trade-clauses in their contracts. Can you think of any bargain players that fit the Mike Santorelli mold? Or are you expecting something bigger to happen?

However...Gillis did say on the Team 1040 recently:

"Finding a center is a tough thing to do," he said. "We would love to get another player to play with Ryan and to play on our second line and help that unit, but you have to give up an awful lot to get those things, and we're going to have to make a decision whether that's the route we're going to go."

So, you're saying there's a chance?? It depends on how the Canucks do starting Wednesday.

THE COACHING STAFF

Tortorella and co. did not watch much of the Olympics, but instead did a lot of video review on what to do with the team to get them scoring. One of things he has come up with is for the defencemen to get more pucks on net and for more players to be in front to jam in rebounds. This is obviously referring to the anemic power play. Look for the defencemen to shoot from different angles moving forward, as Torts told the Province:

"We’ve done some analytics. We’re 20th in the league as far as getting point shots onto the net.

"We’re 25th in the league as far as rebound (goals), according to the studying we’ve been doing.

"The past couple of days we’ve been spending a lot of time changing angles from our back end and making sure we get pucks to the net.

"Also, making sure that we have people in front of the goalie and adding depth as far as rebounds.

"Quite honestly, the group we have here right now are guys who need to score those types of goals.

"Everybody wants the goals scored off the rush. Sure. We’ll get out of your way. That’s creativity from our offensive people.

"But we have to do a better job of manufacturing."

In regards to the Sedins he said:

"I think the Sedins are a couple of the better players in the league playing underneath the hash mark.

"Not the style of a Higgins or a Richardson. But using one another, making plays there."

"We also need to be cognizant, we don’t want to turn the Sedins into grinders."

No shit.

RANDOMNESS

-The Canucks have been practicing shootouts in practice. (The Province)

-Mike Gillis recently said this about Nicklas Jensen:

"He looks really good. He had a tough start with an injury and he was coming back from playing in Europe where there was a fairly significant adjustment to ice size and the pace of the game. He’s really come on the last couple of weeks. The most noticeable thing about Nick is that his pace has really significantly picked up over the last month to two weeks and that really giving him lots of scoring opportunities. Of course, we’d like to leave him there and continue to have him on this roll but our needs are going to be important as well. If we continue to have these injuries the way we’ve had them, I would imagine we’ll see him before the end of the season."

That via the Vancouver Sun.

-Speaking of Jensen, the Comets have been playing well of late, especially goalie Joacim Eriksson. (Canucks.com)

-NHL Revealed at the Olympics:

O.T.

-How about a Beyonce soundboard?

-Michael Winslow rock Led Zeppelin:

-Body-paint with Emily Ratz-itdoesn'tmatterwhathernameis (Break.com)

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