What’s Left To Criticize About The Canucks?

photo – espn.com

There isn’t much that can’t go wrong for the Canucks these days; there’s no lead that’s safe, getting a powerplay doesn’t mean you have the advantage and apparently the Leafs are a superior team. I can’t begin to understand how any of this is occurring but it is and hope seems to be hanging by a thread in the Slower Mainland (because bike lines and traffic) and it’s not even December. In a week period, the Canucks have lost to all of Eastern Canada, the Sabres and the Devils. If I stopped there, that would be enough to go on. The one goal losses keep piling up and there’s no end in sight. What’s left to criticize?

At the beginning of the year, I figured the Canucks would be able to hold their own in the new look OT format of 3 on 3 as I figured they would be there a bit. As you have seen on here from time to time, I can be wrong. Dead wrong. Vancouver has not won in OT this season and save for the only shootout they’ve been in which was a win against Anaheim; the bonus minutes are a horror show waiting to happen. Having enough line combos that should be effective in OT, Willie Desjardins shouldn’t need to think a whole lot about who to put out there. It’s been a train wreck and just when you think the Canucks bounce back? They aren’t any where to be seen when its over.

Injuries have kind of been hovering around the team a bit so far with unlikely candidate for sympathy, Luca Sbisa being shelved with the boot on his foot. His predictable unpredictableness is actually missed as is his muscle on the opposition. The Canucks are most definitely lacking in the roughness area. Chris Higgins was out for so long we kind of forgot about him but now he’s back and I’ve kind of forgot about him.

 

This start has really made me hit my head repeatedly on my table because everyone that really should be stepping up just, they just aren’t. The Sedins are still technically Sedining and they seemed to have found a new buddy in Jannik Hansen; even though he’s actually one of the best options they had before they reunited. Bo Horvat has been given more defensive responsibility which is great long term, it is, but the sell on him this year is a lot tougher after doing what he did in year one.

Going full rookie to start the year with Ben Hutton, Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen and now Hunter Shinkaruk has half paid off. Hutton has basically been amazing. He hasn’t been a world burner but you can tell he’s going to be a staple on Vancouver’s blue line. He’s out there in OT, he’s on the PP, he makes Sbisa look good and he’s not 19, he’s 22. Ben Hutton is a great example of what waiting and developing a prospect can be. Ben Hutton is a very bright spot in a dark beginning to the year.

Jared McCann has given the 4th line depth and it might be a bit before he gets some more naturally offensive linemates but he’s doing fine. Big Country Jake Virtanen is still looking like he might need to be sat a few games in and out coming up. He will be great one day and he deserved to make the club but hindsight might show that another junior year wouldn’t have hurt. It’s early and they’re losing so this is where I’m going with this.

Half paid off but the team owes us another half. These rookies should be out there more in late game situations. This team isn’t winning the Cup this year and yet Willie continues to pump his obvious choices when its clear they might not be the best option. Is it bad luck? Not really. They’ve blown leads galore this season and its not even December. I could mention the atrocious one goal game record but I won’t.  I’m not even including a link because it will just make you sadder.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Hey Ryan, our goaltending has been pretty dece though”. Ya, it has but as was the same story with Cloutier, Luongo, Schneider and Lack – they can’t score goals which means you can’t win 0-0 every night; especially this year, we’d still lose in OT 1-0. The big slag is losing late. The Canucks just can’t hold on and it feels like the mid 90’s again and a bit like the late 2000’s where the goals are hard to come by. This team won’t score boat loads of goals and they’re probably a few years away from that happening but if they have a lead they better be able to help the back end so a 1 goal lead will hold.

Speaking of holding on, 60 minutes seems like a Gattaca type idea to Willie D’s crew that it’s so futuristic they can’t grasp it. Not sure how a team can’t put together a 60 minute effort and its becoming increasingly obvious there aren’t many of these on the horizon. By now you are so bummed out you can’t take any more so here’s a breakdown of every loss this season, tell me this isn’t going to end:

  • Calgary 3-2 OT – Sean Monahan capitalizes on a blunder deep in the corner, then Johnny Hockey wins it in OT. It begins
  • Blues 4-3 – Down 4-1, no one was expecting a comeback.
  • Oilers 2-1 OT – Tie game after the first, boringness ensues and a “NO WAY MAN” in OT creates more shame
  • Capitals 3-2 – Once again tie game but in the third, lonnnnnnnnng pass and Ovie scores a no doubter. Bad D, game over.
  • Red Wings 3-2 OT – 3 on 3 OT burns the Canucks but with the lead in the third they couldn’t close.

There’s 2 more games still and then the current road trip so I’ll stop.

So what’s left to criticize? How bout this:

 

 

Patience has always been a virtue as a Canucks fan but jeez, this is unacceptable. There aren’t any more gimmicks that could help this team. They need a team meeting or something. Times are tough and we need something to complain about, no kidding, but what we’ve watched in the last 2 weeks has been awful. This isn’t a team I’m excited to watch right now and I really should be.

OK, cheer up and continue on your day….maybe don’t go drinking today, that might be a bad idea.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

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