Mumps and the Maple Leafs have something in common if you're a Canucks fan. They both can take 2-3 weeks to recover from. It's as if the Canucks' souls were smashed when they lost 5-2 to the Leafs almost 2 weeks ago. They have lost 4 straight since (now 5 straight in total), scoring 7 goals in the 5 losses. Geez, for so long we were glowing in our team's depth. Now every Canuck has dried up all at once. That's a lethal combination for sucking. Well, that and the suspect defence which really, we've been kind of noticing all season. The best part about all this? It's not gonna last forever. The madness will end soon. You don't keep Sedins, Vrbata, Bonino and er...whoever off the scoresheet for long. I'd say Burrows but...you know....I told you so.
THE LIST OF COLD PLAYERS
-Hank Sedin: 2 assists in his last 6 games.
-Dank Sedin: 1 goal and one assist in his last 6. Both Hank and Dank have zero points in their last 3 games. It's not the end of the world. It's just that: where in the hell is the support from the other lines?
-Radim Vrbata: slightly better with 1 goal and 2 assists in his last 6, also pointless in 3 straight.
-Nick Bonino: 1 goal and no assists in his last 8. Yea. Hang up the Bonino phone.
-Alex Burrows: 1 assist in his last 8 games. Who said this guy was gonna score over 20 this season? Hang your damned head in shame!
-Chris Higgins: 0 points in his last 8. We shouldn't really vilify Higgy for this, because he does this every year. A perennial streaky player. Always has been always will be. Weren't some of us saying last season that if Higgy is on line 2 that we are screwed? If he is on line 3 on your team you're gonna be alright.
Brad Richardson: 3 goals and 2 assists in his last 8? Hey! That's a bonus! Way to go, Richie! No points in his last 3 but he can be forgiven.
Shawn Matthias: 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 5, nothing in his last 3 but again, another guy that gets a break from Mr. Z has he suffered a mild concussion in there somewhere.
Linden Vey: 1 assist in his last 7 games, nothing in his last 4. Sometimes I wonder why he is still in the lineup but I have to remind myself...patience....
Bo Horvat: 1 assist in his last 10 games but WHOA WHOA WHOA I will speak no ill of this kid.
Jannik Hansen: The best performer on the scoresheet lately. No wonder why he keeps getting promoted. 2 assists in his last 3 games, 2 assists in his last 5 games, and 4 assists in his last 7 games. The best point-producer for the Canucks lately. Period.
Derek Dorsett: He may have only 2 goals in his last 10 games...but it's Double D! What the hell did you expect from him? He's actually on pace to have a career year in points. Well...so is Bonino so....trust no one!
Zack Kassian: Before the Kassassin went down to finger or thumb injury in November he only had 3 assists in his previous 12 games. The Canucks were 9-2-1 in that span. It wasn't because of Zack's offensive or defensive prowess that the Canucks had success. I'm still giving this Chewbacca look-a-like some more time. How about you?
The Defence Still Rests
OK, so Luca Sbisa and Kevin Bieksa are cancer on skates lately....But that d-corps as a whole was always relied upon to be a secondary scoring threat. Maybe now with Lindenning and Desjardins preaching a 4 - line game some of the heat is off our D to put up points. Screw that. With the D scoring a collective 2 goals and 6 assists (6 guys!) in the team's last 9 games...the secondary or tertiary scoring is not there from the back end. Some MSM guy blamed a large portion of that futility on top of the team's overall offensive futility on the players not getting front of the net and creating screens and rebounds to generate offence. Perhaps that is not a far cry from the truth.
If you think the Canucks are losing because they don't have the Rock Dan Hamhuis in the lineup or the physical presence of Zack Kassian in the lineup you are mostly wrong. The team was kicking ass and taking names while these guys were on the IR. Vancouver went 5-1-0 after Hammer got injured. Forget Kassian. Hamhuis is the one worth talking about. However....he was a part of the Canucks' defensive lapses early on too, even though the team was winning. The D has been a problem all season long.
Sometimes, an injection of a star player can revitalize a team's fortunes regardless of that. Hey, team chemistry is such a complicated fucking mess. Sometimes it hangs by a thread. Sometimes a return of a hero means jack squat and other times it's money in da bank yo. It all depends on the overall unit and where their mindset is at.
I just shot the shit about the Canucks with my Canuck-mad neighbour and he thinks Tanev is the new Hamhuis. Uh-oh...Tanev has been superb. If he remains this reliable defensively.....but can't put up points.....then one of those 2 has to go. There, I said it. Edler is not gonna get 40 points. Juice is done. Hammer is what he is. Ya can't Hammer anymore points out of him. I can smell Benning trading one of these guys for a q-back on defence. I don't give a crap what anyone says. You need a smart, reliable defenceman on D who can chug big minutes and stabilize and put up the points.
Out of anything I know for sure....I know that this current Canucks' defence isn't going to produce much more offence. Is their their doom and demise? Not necessarily.
DID YOU KNOW?
In Jim Benning's first year as an assistant GM in Boston the Bruins signed Zdeno Chara as a free agent. I have Benning's tenure as Bruins' assistant GM covered here. It's a track record worthy of respect and consideration.
I'M NOT SUPERSTITIOUS
Shawn Matthias is crazy-superstitious. When times are tough he'll drive a different route to the rink from his Yaletown home, according to the Sun. But this quote really makes his devotion sink in:
"I want to win and our fans pay their hard-earned money to come to our games and they deserve to see a winning team here," Matthias said. "I can tell you every guy in here is upset with what’s happening right now. I know last night (Wednesday) I wasn’t happy and I stayed up all night."
CHANGE IS COMING
This Canucks team under Willie has only one more point than John Tortorella's team did last season at this point. The Canucks' 38 point ranks them 6th in the West. Calgary, who is their next opponent sits in 9th spot in the West with 36 points. No pressure, dudes!
I don't give a rat's ass about goaltender numbers. To many times have our goaltenders saved our asses this season with the shitty defence. When the biggest storylines of the season now are shotty defence and lack of scoring, well, you can see what's going on here. Sure, I defend goalies to the max, but have you not lost count on how many odd man rushes against the Canucks have surrendered this season? How about screened shots and goals deflected off sticks? It's a tough world being a goalie and it ALWAYS HAS BEEN.
That doesn't let them off the hook completely. However....search your feelings, Canucks fans. You know what I have said to be true.
GETTING OLD SUCKS
5 Canucks forwards and 2 defencemen are over 30 years of age. Too old? I've got a poll for you. Keep in mind that Pavel Datsyuk is 36 and still kicking ass. Not convincing you? Well, then you believe the Sedins are done at 34 years of age. I do beg to differ.
Need something to help you chill out? Canucks.com has something for you:
They used Tom Sestito's leg for the lamp.
I got a kick out of Tommy Boy asking for a trade if they won't play him here. Trade you for who, T-Bag? An ice girl? Too far?
This post has been brought to you once again by Sepultura: