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Panic Abound As Vancouver Opens At Home

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Update: Coaching staff shows Canucks game videos; players shocked.

"It was definitely eye opening," defenceman Shane O'Brien said of the video session.

"You could see that we weren't battling hard enough. We just weren't competing. That's one of the staples of our team. Be good defensively and win a lot of battles. We have to get back to that tonight (against Columbus).

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The papers are already calling tonight a must win. Well damn Skeeter that didn't take too long.

It's easy to get a little panicked over starting the season two in the hole (the first time since 2001 they have started so poorly). Forgetting there's an actual hockey game during the first period in Calgary is frustrating. Being shutout in Denver should leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth. Unable to secure the lead once in six periods should bug you. 26th on the PK should irk you. Seeing Vancouver unable to finish their chances AND willingly parade to the box is a song and dance we've heard too many times over the years.

What should be different tonight? In theory nothing. The lines should be the same and the strategy will remain the same. Hey the Sedin line is doing fine and someone needs to bottle whatever Mason Raymond is drinking and pass it around because he's a little man on a big mission out there.

However, I disagree that tonight is a must win. It's way too early to be that dramatic.

Look at the standings: no chance those three teams at the top of the West will be there 80 games from now. In reality, Vancouver needs their legs moving when the puck drops. They need to be more dangerous and far less passive then they were in the first two games. They need the defense to regain their composure least they hand Columbus numerous odd man rushes like they did with the Avs on Saturday.

You can use the whole "they didn't play together in the preseason excuse" but that's a cop out. There's only three new guys on the roster (ignoring Facepalm on the bench) so they know how to play together. Samuelsson is playing fine though doesn't have the chemistry just yet with Kesler. Shirokov is acclimating to the NHL slower than expected but give him time. Pudge has to get healthy before the third line can really mesh. Sooner or later this group will pull together.

If Vancouver can execute better (which AV cites as the #1 problem) and stay out of the box and the Jackets still win because they were the better team, that's fine. That's a loss you can live with. But we haven't seen the Canucks play like we know they can yet and that's what makes being 0-2 sting more.

The Jackets are expecting an angry team out there tonight. Let's not disappoint our guests.

Columbus Notes:

  • The expected lines are:

Nash-Brassard-Huselius
Filatov-Vermette-Voracek
Umberger-Pahlsson-Chimera
Torres-Murray-Dorsett

Methot-Hejda
Tyutin-Klesla
Roy-Russell

Mason