ROGERS ARENA, VANCOUVER, BC
TV: CBC, SN PACIFIC, SN ONTARIO. RADIO: SPORTSNET 650
OPPOSING BLOG: DIE BY THE BLADE
To say things are not going well for the Vancouver Canucks right now is a pretty massive understatement. They’ve got a fanbase losing its patience with a guy who just got a massive contract extension, they seem to be utterly baffled by the concept of defence, the power play is completely impotent, and the penalty kill is as bad as it was last season. Add in their All Star goaltender being unable to steal a much-needed win, and now a high;y touted prospect being jettisoned to Abbotsford, and honestly, it’s as though Jim Benning never left.
Let’s be fair, it’s not like any of us should have been under the impression that the mess left by the previous regime was going to be an easy fix. But even the most optimistic of you has to be discouraged by this historic start to the season, one that has seen the Canucks blow leads in all 5 games so far.
This team is a mess. They can’t provide any sustained pressure. They can’t defend leads, and they can’t push back, both offensively and physically. They’re not even a prototypical Bruce Boudreau team right now. I don’t know what the hell they are, but this is a team that needs a major shake up now, or else they need to just shut it down and tank this season to get North Vancouver native Connor Bedard in the 2023 Entry Draft. That, of course, assumes that even if the Canucks finished last, that they could actually win the draft lottery, and we all know this team’s history with lotteries.
Apart from the play of Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat, there’s not a lot to be hopeful about right now. Yes, the fourth line had a hell of a game against Minnesota, and if they can sustain that kind of effort, it might be a key to getting the team out of this mess, but there’s not a single line that is showing any consistent cohesion apart from that checking line. And with Nils Hoglander now getting the tough love treatment, being sent to the AHL today by GM Patrik Allvin, it makes one wonder if these guys even know how to fix the mess they inherited.
And normally, you’d look at this game and breathe a sigh of relief, as a visit from the Sabres would be viewed as just what the doctor ordered to get out of this funk. But in true Canucks fashion, the Sabres team that is here tonight is 3-1-0 to start the year and are coming off an impressive manhandling of the highly touted Calgary Flames on Thursday night. How sad is it we have to hope for an emotional letdown by the Buffalo Sabres in the hopes it might lead to the first win of the season?
Courtesy of nhl.com, this was scrawled on the bathroom wall of a truckstop near Hope:
Sabres projected lineup
Injured: Henri Jokiharju (upper body)
Canucks projected lineup
Scratched: Noah Juulsen
Notes from Boudreau:— Brendan Batchelor (@BatchHockey) October 22, 2022
Quinn Hughes will be a game time decision tonight.
Jack Rathbone will likely play.
Nils Höglander going down was a paper transaction to get another defenseman up in light of Hughes’ potential unavailability tonight.#Canucks @Sportsnet650
If Hughes can’t go, that means Juulsen goes in and good lord, that is not an NHL defence core by any stretch. It’s gonna be a long night.
GAME DAY CHATTER
"I practice against Huggy enough where I know those guys that are mobile, they're really hard (to play against). I try to go against them and give them a hard time."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 22, 2022
️ Conor Garland on playing against Rasmus Dahlin@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/rYFhDo7qtU
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau discusses injury updates, getting back in front of home crowd at @RogersArena and the decision behind assigning Nils Höglander to Abbotsford.@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/g3V7Rh7wx5— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 22, 2022
"Anytime you get to throw on an NHL jersey, it's an opportunity. Hopefully, I take advantage of it. I was waiting to hear my name called and excited to have it be the home opener."— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 22, 2022
️ Jack Rathbone on making his season debut@theprovince | #Canucks pic.twitter.com/vpopwEuK4A
GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN
Welcome home indeed. All hail the King, baby!
Enjoy the game, if that’s possible. Go Canucks Go, I guess...