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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Ottawa- Nov 3/16

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There weren't really a lot of flaws with the way the Canucks played last night, and that's probably why that loss is so demoralizing. Even when they're the better team, the margin for error is so small that one mistake can sink them.

Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks vs. Ottawa Senators

4:30 PM PT - Canadian Tire Center, Ottawa, ON

TV: SN - Radio: TSN 1040

10 games. That's all it took for Canuck Nation to turn on itself and descend into the kind of madness we saw last year. The kind of madness that has people openly calling for the Sedins to be traded. Or for Jake Virtanen to be given first line minutes. Some blame the coach. Some blame the management. Others blame the owners. Maybe they're all right?

Canucks
CATEGORY
Senators
4-5-1 SEASON RECORD 6-3-0
9 Points 12
4th Division Position 3rd
Lost 5 Streak Won 2
1.60 (30)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.89 (11)
2.60 (14)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.89 (18)
9.1 (29) Power Play % 13.0 (23)
83.3 (12) Penalty Kill % 80.6 (19)
48.9 (22) Faceoff Win % 48.9 (20)
6.0 (30)
Shooting % 9.1 (15)
49.8 (15)
Corsi For % 48.8 (17)
96.7 (29)
PDO 99.4 (16)

Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com

THE OPPOSITION

The news out of the Nation's capital this morning is not good, as Craig Anderson has again left the team to be with his wife Nicholle, who is battling cancer. All of us at NM are keeping them in our thoughts today and going forward as they battle this.

That leaves the starting job to Mike Condon, who was picked up by the Sens from Pittsburgh recently.


As you may recall, these teams met in Vancouver just 9 days ago, with Anderson shutting the door in a 3-0 Senators win. The Sens are one of the surprises in the East so far, a team with a lot of new faces that was pegged by many to be a long shot at best for a playoff spot, yet so far they look more than capable of competing. We'll see how they handle this latest bit of adversity against a team that is desperate to change things up.

THE CANUCKS

Where do we begin?

Not that it's much consolation, but they really did play a decent game other than that whole not scoring thing. Unlike the stretch of games at the start of the year where they outright stole some wins, they genuinely deserved a better fate last night. The reality is as Canucks fans, we know that fate is rarely on our side. So we have a Canucks team that has scored 14 regulation goals in 10 games. That is probably the most damning stat of all of the ones currently being trotted out to show just how bloody awful this team are. And while the tendency for some is to try and be positive, when I look at what the Canucks are doing right now, I cannot see them doing anything but descending to the basement of the NHL, where they will remain for the rest of this season.

Blame the Sedins if that makes you feel better (though you'd be wrong, as the issue with them is usage, not ability or effort). Blame Loui Ericsson (but we know you're only hating his contract as he struggles through a slump that cannot last). Where the blame should lie is multi-faceted. It is ownership, in letting this mess go on in spite of all signs pointing to disaster. It is management, who have assembled a team that simply cannot compete, especially defensively and despite it being glaringly obvious over the course of their time in this role, have done next to nothing to actually address it, and the only changes made were ones that made things worse. And it is coaching, as Willie Desjardins has become a coach that other teams are happy to see come to town. He is out coached on a nightly basis, and often is the architect of his own failure, whether it be the insistence of rolling 4 lines when matchups are getting out of hand, to individual usage of players: some getting too much ice time, others not enough, and worst of all, players who have zero accountability after horrendous play.

I'd love to say the Canucks are going to turn things around. I would happily point at their shooting percentage and say that it's a sign that they will start scoring again. The problem is that there's no signs whatsoever of things getting better. All we get are empty words from the powers that be. As a long term Canucks fan, I (like many of you) have been through some lean years. The 70's weren't kind. Apart from that run in 82, most of that decade was spent being fodder for Gretzky's stats. The 90's were up and down, and the last 16 years have seen the team hit rock bottom, ascend to within 1 game of winning it all, only to spiral down to the bottom again. We're used to this. It's always been this way. But it doesn't have to be this way. The question is: can the people in charge actually turn this around, or is it time to blow this thing up, and legitimately start rebuilding this team?

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

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