heritage classic

Lacky Lu Mysteries: The Case Of WTF

As if the Canucks season wasn’t an absolute clusterspunk, the horror show that is now daily life in Vancouver just keeps getting worse. In danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008, heck the first time they haven’t won the division in at least that long, the Canucks are struggling to make even breakfast right now. Like your favourite Saturday morning cartoons, Lacky Lu Mysteries is on the case.

On Sunday, Roberto Luongo was given the day off in favour of backup goaltender Eddie Lack. If it was ANY OTHER GAME Lack would have been a fine choice. It was the Senators, they could have started literally anyone in that game and it wouldn’t have made a flippin difference. The problem is: THIS was the Heritage Classic and it was at home. If your star goalie who has been raked through the coals, divorced, brutalized in the media, left for dead in a sewer and pretty much forgotten is STILL on your team, you play him. You play him out of sheer respect. Bobby Lu has been through more than most organizations will go through in their entire existance. Throw him a fricken bone.

Of course, Lu handled it professionally but he was visibly pissed off as anyone could see. Why Torts decided to go with Lack is pretty much anyone’s guess. Playing the hot hand is a pathetic excuse, the Canucks haven’t won a game that was even close to the word hot. You know who’s hot right now? Not the Canucks. Pick any team that plays with 3 forwards, 2 defense and a goalie and you have a better option. Tortorella is struggling to keep this team afloat and it might be the beginning of the “rebuild” everyone is talking about.

This team has spiraled downward quicker than Mason Raymond tripping over the blue line. Injuries, bad luck, more injuries, more bad luck and the curse of not being able to score a goal have brought the Canucks nothing but headaches. If this actually WAS a Lacky Lu Mystery episode, here’s what they’d find:

The Canucks are introduced to a new division in 2013/2014 and they are no longer the fair maidens anymore. No real changes to the locker room force the team to find answers on an aging roster that saw their success pass them and left them in the dust. Lack and Lu search high and low for answers to who has stolen the Canucks talent, their drive to win and Lu’s hair gel. Game after game, nothing but disappointment in the stands and endless questions looming large in the media.

A coach that doesn’t seem to have any legitimate answers dulls down an offense that used to be tops in the league, now just a fading memory. Lack eats another meatball and asks Lu “Is this how it ends for us? Is this our demise?” Lu having been through this far too many times pipes up “It gets worse before it gets worse” “WTF does that mean Lu?” “It means they should have traded me before they made this team into a sideshow”

Now, Lack and Lu Mysteries is a fictional tale and a brief one at that! But what isn’t lost on anyone is that snowball effect that is consuming the Canucks. There have been so many minor screw ups and bad moves that have led this group to become a mere joke in the eyes of the rest of the league. Not trading Luongo was a big mistake. Personally, I never wanted him to leave but in hindsight, at least this team wouldn’t have had to deal with as much of a circus.

Luongo is STILL in the spotlight and is commended for being “a great team mate” and a “real professional”. That is BS. This guy just wants to play hockey and not be the elephant in the room. Leave him alone, trade him, or at the very least, START HIM. Its unfortunate that budding star Eddie Lack has to be dragged through this at no fault of his own as well.

A much simpler time, when Luongo was king. Photo taken from canucksarmy.com

A much simpler time, when Luongo was king.
Photo taken from canucksarmy.com

Getting the start for the Heritage Classic was probably one of Lack’s worst memories as a Canuck. You really feel sorry for the guy, its not his fight but they put him in the ring.

Ryan Kesler is probably the final nail in the coffin for this season in Vancouver, it might even put the team back a few years. There isn’t a player ready to fully fill Kesler’s skates and there isn’t anyone that can skate along side of him either. However it leaked that Kes wanted out, was bad from the start. As bad as this season has been, at least it was being controlled internally. Now, all bets are off. If Kesler DOES want out, it better happen a lot shorter than when Cody Hodgson was dealt or when Luongo wasn’t. There has to be an end to the hemmoraging taking place because most of us can’t handle any more drama this year.

Kesler has done pretty much everything that has been asked of him and he hasn’t been rewarded. Sure, financially he is set, but you can’t buy a Stanley Cup. GM Mike Gillis has done almost nothing to help Kesler realize his full potential and his dismantling of Vancouver’s farm club has had to pay the price. Ryan Kesler would give his life for this team, its time they show some life and help him out.

The Canucks are in a world of hurt, literally, and don’t have any direction. They need a guidance counsellor or a map…or a compass…maybe even a street sign because they are lost.

Follow me on twitter @hankthetank10

Cover photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY

The Canucks Have Sold Out, Just Not The Heritage Classic

When the NHL first introduced the ever famous “outdoor game”, it was a breath of fresh air, literally. It took awhile before they brought it back as a regular staple in the season. Every team wanted to be a part of it; they wanted to be part of the money making phenomenon that is outdoor hockey. The Canucks got their wish, too bad they sold out prior to that, just not the Heritage Classic.

This is supposed to be a game that every Canucks fan has waited for since the beginning of this giant craze. Most of us probably wanted a more sexy matchup like the Blackhawks, and heck it would have been nice to play at Soldier Field. Vancouver landed the game against the polar opposite of the word rivalry, the Ottawa Senators, the most indifferent team/fan base in the league. If the Sens won ANYTHING, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal and when they lost the Cup back in 2007, no one really made a fuss.

If somehow the Nucks could have landed this game even 2 years ago against the Flames it would have been better than what it will be Sunday. Picture this: Canucks in their retro skate jerseys, the Flames wearing their corresponding 94 jerseys, maybe with some kind of a twist and if they played it out properly, Empire Field could have been the venue in January, you know, when they get snow?

Vancouver vs Ottawa will be the 5th of 6 outdoor games this season, a bit too much if you think this type of game is more a treat than another date on the schedule. It is the only game being played in Canada and even Canucks fans haven’t shown their support they normally do. Maybe its because they have been taken to the cleaners for so many years that they are finally fed up with the over inflated pricing and the lackluster product they see on the ice every other night.

The Canucks brass have done almost nothing to supplement their on ice product while continuing to increase prices off the ice. Canucks fans are passionate about their team, like any other fan would be, and they want a winner. 2011 looked to be the year that was all going to pay off, coming up just short of their goal of etching their names on the Stanley Cup. Since then, its been disappointment after disappointment and even the mistreatment of the players they DO have. Just ask Roberto Luongo.

Sorry….wrong tweet

The holes in the lineup are obvious to anyone that watches the team regularly and with the the league getting faster and bigger, the Canucks need to address those changes before they are caught in the past. Having an outdoor game like they are hosting is the perfect time to showcase the great talent they have on a bigger stage with fun jerseys, getting the alumni back for shinny and getting every diehard fan to pony up a few extra bucks to see their team play hockey the way it all started, on a pond with their buddies.

Its time for GM Mike Gillis and his kronies to get down to brass tax and put their stamp on this team. They managed to get new life behind the bench with John Tortorella this season and they kept all world goaltender Roberto Luongo instead of trading him away, a decision they handled worse than my 3 year old when I take away her bunny crackers for not eating her lunch. They did manage to find a steal of a deal in Mike Santorelli who unfortunately is now done for the year and started to promote from within.

These moves are a little late however and the fans don’t seem to want to wait for the answers to come; we want a winner before its too late. Time to see some no trade clauses bent a bit; rock the boat and show them who’s boss. This Heritage Classic will have its moments of fun, that can be assured, but overall, this game will be a dud.

The Canucks have sold out. They milked the cow until it was dry and now its time to feed the cow again. Give the fans a reason to cheer. Give them a few more retro jerseys to see on the ice. Its a start to offer family packs again and hopefully they have stopped claiming consecutive sellouts. This fan base deserves better, despite what fans outside of BC think.

Where do they go from here? This second half of the season will most definitely dictate what the team looks like next season…or even by March 5th, Trade Deadline Day. Want a start to the deadline? Go.Get.Rick.Nash.

Follow me on twitter @hankthetank10