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Backs To The Wall: Canucks-Blackhawks Game 5 Preview

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"Am I the leader of this group?"

"I don't know, are you?"

"I'm the captain of the team! Is there still a team or a bunch of cutthroats that have to do each other in?"

That of course from Alive, a movie about one of the greatest survival stories of all time. Antonio Balbi, the captain of the soccer rugby team that crashed in the Andes mountains in 1972, had been carefully rationing the wine and food to the survivors, and the rations were very slim. On the 6th day after the crash, a plane had flown over earlier and the crew, sans Antonio, who was sleeping in the fuselage at the time believed they were saved as they thought the pilot tipped the plane's wings in recognition. The crew celebrated by opening the box of food and devouring most of the remaining rations. Antonio was none too pleased.

Survival. Backs against the wall. Nothing to lose. What does this Canucks team do? What possibly can the coach and leadership group of this team say now pre-game to inspire a team that is confused, lost and seemingly scattered? The guys held a special meeting prior to game 4 and that did not help.  The Captain let in an early soft goal, yet the team had a decent first period. The refs refused to just let the teams play and the Canucks' composure fell apart after that.

It is very difficult for me to paint a positive picture for you right now. To a man, every Canucks needs to concentrate on their task at hand. They need to believe in each other. There needs to be trust. That trust has to start with Roberto Luongo, the captain of the team. He needs to make the guys believe that he can steal this one. I think that is crucial for what I see is a fragile Canucks team that is on the verge of being broken. But don't get me wrong. I'm not solely blaming Lou.

How odd is this? On May 11th of last year the Canucks were heading into game 6 with the Hawks. Here is what I posted:

There is a lot of heat on the Sedins for disappearing in this series, however Hank has 3 goals and 1 assist and Dank has 3 assists. It's Alex Burrows who should be taking the brunt of the heat. He has 1 puny assist against the Hawks. It's gotten to be so bad that Alain Vigneault removed him from the top line and reunited him with the now-struggling Ryan Kesler,  who has 2 goals and 1 assist in Round 2. To no avail. Put the original lines back together, AV.

The biggest problem lies in not only the teams' collective defence looking panicky at times, but also the lack of sustained pressure in Chicago's end. The Canucks have been outshot in every game and Roberto Luongo has not been able to bail the guys out enough, even though less of the blame should revolve around him, in my opinion. For god's sakes, we're making Khabibulin look good. So is the Hawks' system that they are playing. I can't undermine that.

Much of it rings true to today. That may be what frustrates me most. But you know, anything can happen. If Vancouver can grind out a win tonight...well hell we could have ourselves a new ball game. The Canucks need some momentum. They need to go back to their passive selves from game 1 and try their damndest to keep it 5 on 5, where they excel. Stop retaliating! The refs have made it clear that they are going to call anything and everything! Put some pressure on these damned Hawks! Force them to take penalties. Get more pressure in their zone and maintain it! Play stronger in front of your goaltender!

Not many believe in you anymore! They think you're dead! They've called off the search!

For god's sakes stop finger-pointing, each player own up to your shit play from games 3 and 4 and go out there and



By the way, if you haven't found them yet, there are 3 great posts on our site today about this game and the team called:

-Die With Your Boots On (WAACH'Cast)

-Why I Picked "The Canucks Are Going To Come Back" (Canuck in Japan)

-The State Of Canuck Nation, 5/9/10 (Inquirer)