Canucks Get Slaughtered

Sanford KnubleThere is only one word that can best describe last night’s Canucks game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Pathetic.

The Canuck players should each cough up some money to pay all those poor fans who went to the game and paid for it on Pay-Per-View. It’s only fair. That game was one of the worst games you could ever imagine and it was hard for someone who was born to hate the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the Leafs 7-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes looked better than last night’s 8-2 Canucks loss to the Flyers.

Not one player played well. Roberto Luongo looked unfocused and had as much composure as a rodent running from a hawk; and Curtis Sanford has to be better. The problems went beyond poor goaltending. The Canucks’ defence was horrible. So horrible that bantam house teams could’ve made better decisions than Vancouver did last night.

Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell have looked like rookies this year, something that is so disappointing, considering one is known as a top shut-down defenceman and the other as an emerging superstar defenceman.

Offensively, the Canucks were horrible as well. The Flyers are not a strong defensively. This is a team that has a respectable defence, which can be exploited, especially against the ranks of Derian Hatcher and Braydon Coburn. It wasn’t that the Flyers’ defence was especially tough to play against last night, it was that the Canucks were just out of sync. How out of sync? The Canucks got scored on during their own 5-on-3 advantage.

All the quotes heard after the game had the word “embarrassment” in them. Yeah, good call. Glad to know these players know the right word to describe last night’s loss. But who did not see this coming?

Right from the start of training camp, these players haven’t had the same intensity they had last year. Last season, this was a team that had come off of a disappointing year, which saw them miss the playoffs and had to make up for it. They did, and they did it through a strong work ethic that was recognized when bench boss Alain Vigneault was named the winner of the Jack Adams Award for best coach in the NHL. This year, this team has been complacent. There’s an old saying in sports that ‘success breeds complacency’. Last time I checked, losing in five games in the second round of the playoffs isn’t a success, winning the Stanley Cup is.

If last night’s loss can teach this team anything, it is that nothing…NOTHING is for certain in the NHL these days. You cannot rest your laurels on the fact that Luongo is your goalie now and not Dan Cloutier. Whether it’s Luongo in net or a rookie call-up, every man has to work hard every second of every shift and the Canucks did not do that last night, and they have only done it in one of the first three games of the year.

Not one player should be proud of last night’s effort. They play Edmonton on Friday and Saturday in a home-and-home with their Northwest Division rivals and if they are to begin to win like they did after Christmas last year, they need to learn from last night and begin to work like they did last year.

But if last night’s loss wasn’t enough of a message to this team, be sure that a no-puck-practice bag skate today will.

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