They started 4-0 but it didn’t take long to bring it all back to reality. Your Vancouver Canucks are 4-4-1 now and the dreamers and unicorn chasers have all gone into hiding. It’s not pretty anymore, no one is scoring goals and even Luca Sbisa is back to guaranteeing your pie in 30 minutes or it’s free. 2017 is going to finish very similarly to 2016 and at the very least, there’s a chance the Canucks get a star this time.
It took almost a week to score their next goal after the Canucks lost to the Ducks last Sunday. Part of that was too much passing, part of it was opponents having good goaltending and part of it, well most it was the fact the Canucks just plain ol’ stunk. You’ve heard me say there are bright spots on this team and I’m not lying, there are.
Bo Horvat is doing his best to shake the funk that seems to surround him and at some point, he will and normalcy will reside on his stick. For now, it really doesn’t matter what he does because the guys around him aren’t following suit. Sven Baertschi looks snake bitten, so does Jannik Hansen (big surprise); goals have dried right up for this team.
Ben Hutton is stringing along but even he looks a bit worn already. Let’s not even get into the Erik Gudbranson stuff, he’s not even defensive-defensiving.
Not helping anything either are the injuries. They have already claimed uber defenseman Chris Tanev and Alex Burrows, not to mention Derek Dorsett and call-up Jayson Megna. How this has been addressed is it’s own story in itself. Watching Troy Stecher in the preseason was all any of us needed to see for him to be a lock on this Canucks team and to be honest a lot of other teams too!
Jim Benning and Willie Desjardins had Philip Larsen as their back end guy to QB the powerplay and… honestly, I don’t know what else. Stecher proved he could do it all and was still sent down. It was easy to do because he could gain some experience in the AHL and get ready for his first promotion.
Well, that happened pretty darn quick.
Alarm bells should already have been going off when Nikita Tryamkin wasn’t even a choice to go in or even Alex Biega. It took ONE game for Stecher to show he shouldn’t be anywhere else but in a jersey that says ‘VANCOUVER’. They put him with Alex Edler to start his career, that’s the top pairing! There’s no way you can send this guy down now.
Philip Larsen has existed and the brutally obvious funneling of the puck to his stick on the powerplay is nauseating. Not that he’s a bad player, he just isn’t the be all end all answer to their scoring problems. And that’s before they were problems. 3 assists to start the year aren’t enough to keep that mantle of top PP guy, even on this team.
Saturday night against the Capitals proved Stecher not only needs to be plunked into Larsen’s role but he needs to be plunked in the lineup every night. Whatever kind of rebuild/rebrand/teardown this is, somebody has to be extracted out of this lineup. Looking at the options, only a few names should even be considered: Edler-safe, Tanev-safe, Hutton-safe, Stecher-safe, Gudbranson-safe. Luca Sbisa, Nikita Tryamkin and Alex Biega are your choices… THAT’S IT!!!
The big Russian can’t be moved to the farm, Biega is waiver bait and then there’s Sbisa. He’s not the world’s worst defenseman but he’s not in the same hemisphere as the best. Philip Larsen does have a pretty good shot but that’s about it. Something has to give here.
Read these tweets and tell me Stecher isn’t the answer, you can’t:
“He’s been good. He was really good.” — Willie on Stecher
— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) October 30, 2016
How can he possibly go back to the AHL? https://t.co/81QXEsvC1N
— Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) October 30, 2016
So to put it another way, Stecher has a bit more than 20 percent of the Canucks’ shots tonight. Team has 24.
— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) October 30, 2016
This isn’t a love-in with Troy Stecher, it’s the point that needs to sink into the Canucks decision making. They have a guy that does things better than 3 other guys, so change the guy who’s there. I mean jeez, they put Frank Corrado on waivers, traded Gustav Forsling and Adam Clendening; where does the bleeding stop?
Willie finally put together a lineup against the Caps that resembled normalcy. Hansen with the Sedins and Horvat with Baertschi and Virtanen. Run with this for a bit, see what happens. His job has to be looked at if he keeps toying with the idea Jannik Hansen isn’t the best option for Henrik and Daniel.
Screw the 6-year contract of Loui Eriksson (seriously, that long?) and do what’s right. The Canucks rarely do what’s right and THAT’S why they’re in this mess, to begin with. Eriksson will be just fine with Brandon Sutter and I guess Jack Skille or Alex Burrows upon his return. Losing is going to become, yet again, a regular occurrence so it might as well be done building chemistry.
Nobody is content with circling back the wagon to “moral victories” or “Edler broke his stick again”; we need change. The Edmonton Oilers are freakishly close to righting their wrongs and that took, what, almost two decades!
If Canucks management is willing to wait that long, the city will most definitely turn on them.
We can only imagine Doug Jarvis will only stand for so much before he speaks out. That earpiece must have a lot of information that he doesn’t want coming out.
But hey, tomorrow’s a new day.
photo – theprovince.com