I’m not saying that’s a great line, I’m just saying. It took a lot for the Canucks to get to a point where Willie Desjardins stated the game against the Bruins was a “Must”. That was never really clarified exactly what that meant but you don’t have to be a hockey analytic expert to know that he needed his team do whatever it takes to win. Boston still won 4-0 (remember that score Canucks fans?) but its the push back at the end that brought the MUST to a head.
Who would have thought spearing Brad Marchand in the junk would have given the Canucks the #mustfactor ? That Bruins game was beyond brutal and it’s a shame the Canucks wasted an opportunity to stick it to them. As fans, we get ONE home game to stew in our hate towards the 2011 Cup Champs and one more game away from the Rog; we were robbed of our right.
Loss after loss, wasted effort after wasted effort and for what? The Canucks started the season and surprisingly they were mimicking their 2014/15 start and almost overnight the bottom seemed to have fallen out from under them. The desire to win looked gone and the competitive level of the team was downright dead.
So what brought the “must” to a head? No goals from basically anyone not named Sedin or Hansen, shameless giveaways in the defensive zone and zero confidence against, really any team they played. The Canucks were becoming predictable and teams were reading them like a book. No fight back, no aggression, minimal hitting and forechecking were all starting to show up on milk cartons all around the lower mainland.
Two players specifically, Derek Dorsett and Brandon Prust, were nowhere to be found. Before and including the Boston game, Dorsett and Prust were on the ice for a combined 8 goals for and 11 against, courtesy of puckalytics.com; which is actually surprising for a 4th line but they weren’t brought in to necessarily put the puck in the net. They possess a certain set of skills that are supposed to keep teams honest and aware of what they will have to deal with if they cross the line.
We’ve all seen the same games and I don’t think anyone feels threatened by these two; at least not until the late stages of Saturday’s game vs. the Bruins.
“Boston is a must game. We have to see a good performance in that game.” – Desjardins #Canucks
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) December 4, 2015
Brandon Prust Spears Brad Marchand https://t.co/jnIcab5ORQ
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) December 6, 2015
Was that all it took? It was a cheap shot on a cheap player but Brandon Prust did what many players probably wished they could have done to Marchand and I’d say it helped ease a bit of Vancouver’s pain from the endless garbage Marchand has produced. Apparently $5000 isn’t a terrible amount of money to spend for something like that. Good to know.
And really, he wears a cup.
Even with the same 4-0 result as the 2011 Cup Final, the Canucks couldn’t put together 60 minutes. For a “Must” game, they sure didn’t show it. But that seemed to change when the Sabres rolled into town. Maybe the team got the game wrong, maybe they thought that “Must” game was on Monday.
Dorsett and Prust were alive against the Sabres, throwing hits, forechecking and wouldn’t you know it, a goal and an assist for Brandon Prust. The confidence the Canucks showed against the Sabres showed they could actually still play and that this season might not be a complete loss just yet. It sure helped spark Radim Vrbata with a hat trick and the Canucks power play looked like it did many moons ago.
Vancouver’s effort was just as impressive against the Rangers, well, for the last half game or so. That being said, the 4th line of Prust/Cracknell/Dorsett was buzzing. They didn’t score but they had some grade A scoring chances and they kept the intensity alive and moreso in the Canucks favor.
If you mosey on over to War on ice, you’ll see that Prust and Dorsett combined for 3 high danger scoring chances against Henrik Lundqvist and maybe they were due to show their old team mate that they weren’t just filler. There was push back and there was confidence, right through the lineup actually and it wasn’t just a #moralvictory , it was a real victory.
The energy guys are the ones that will keep the top lines productive. Henrik and Daniel won’t be here forever and the new guys need to know that they’ll be taken care of if anyone tries to mess with them. The Canucks used to be one of the most feared teams in the league; not because of size or strength, but because if you decided to take a penalty, they burned you over and over.
They may get out muscled more nights than not until they can get some size in the lineup but I don’t want to see them get outworked. Must is a lifestyle, its a thing to behold. Must wins games and HOLY CRAP THERE’S A NEW POINT BREAK MOVIE COMING OUT???
Willie wanted to see “must” out of his guys and even though it came a game late, its still early enough to “Must” to save the season. People talk about battle level, compete and truculence, but in Vancouver the new hardworking term is “Must” and we
have a whole lot of that are just realizing this is quite important.
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