Inconsistency Kills Canucks

San Jose VancouverThe first half of last night’s game against the San Jose Sharks were owned by the Vancouver Canucks.

The second half of the game looked like they had been replaced by the Manitoba Moose.

Through the first half of the game, the Canucks allowed just eight shots toward Roberto Luongo and it looked like just one more Vancouver goal could ice the team’s fourth win of this early season.

It was not to be. Maybe what turned the table was an unbelievable stick save by Evgeni Nabokov on Daniel Sedin in the second period when the Canucks were up 1-0 and applying massive amounts of pressure. Whatever it was, the home team decided to stop moving their legs for the remainder of the game.

San Jose got on the board after both Willie Mitchell and Mattias Ohlund were caught not moving their feet and were penalized accordingly, giving the Sharks a 5-on-3 powerplay for almost the full two minutes. After some courageous penalty killing, Steve Bernier was the recipient of a beautiful breakaway pass from Patrick Marleau to tie the game 1-1. After that it was all Sharks.

The Sharks beat the Canucks to every puck in the third period and used their size and physical play to their advantage, which had been something they did not do in the first period and parts of the second.

San Jose’s relentless puck pursuit in the third period made Vancouver’s defence look like six men, who had been turned into chickens and had their heads chopped off. If it wasn’t for Luongo, San Jose may have scored five or six times in the third period and could’ve handed the Canucks their second straight lopsided embarrassment on home ice.

The way the Canucks have played so far in this season makes you wonder what exactly they were focused on over the summer and into training camp.

They have only produced two 60-minute efforts this season and both came against the Edmonton Oilers, who are in a rebuilding phase and aren’t expected to be a top team. Against teams that stand a chance to get into the playoffs, the Canucks have had one solid effort (a 4-3 overtime victory over Calgary) and even that was not a complete showing.

Last year, despite the fact that Vancouver weren’t scoring like we’re used to, they at least out-worked the other team. They did that on a consistent basis, which was one of the things that got them to the next level. At this rate, their work ethic is not nearly where it has to be. If this is an early indication of where this team will be in three months, then we can forget about the playoffs, let alone the parade.

Now, not everyone played bad last night. There was a few players who stepped up, such as the short-stature defenceman Mike Weaver. Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler have been a bright spot up front and for the most part, so has Brendan Morrison. But the efforts are not consistent across the board, something that was a complete opposite last season.

If this team wants to win and wants to get the Cup like they all say they do, then there needs to be a more consistent contribution from each member of the team.

Maybe some bag-skates will help that.

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2 Responses

  1. I think the best description one blogger had to contribute was that this year the Canucks look more like a bunch of players instead of a well-oiled machine.

    Last year, the Canucks were super-disciplined. They came out every night and gave a 100% effort, all the while focusing on key things like positioning and defensive reliability. Vignault, for his ability to convert these freewheelers into defensive-minded players, was awarded the Adams. I think he deserved it absolutely.

    But what we’re seeing now is a breakdown in that mentality. It has little to do with the players themselves. I think every one of them has had a number of solid moments. But guys like Bieksa, who last year emerged as the number one man for the Canucks’ defense corps, have been lacking in discipline and spirit. Instead, they’ve been hoping that their skill will carry them — and they’re a team lacking in skill, to boot!

    So what’s the answer? Wait. I think as fans, we should have more confidence in Nonis and VIgnault than that. Firstly, we are only 6 games into the season. How long was it last year before we were more than a .500 club? It takes time to solidify and strengthen around the team in order to truly step it up the way they did post-Christmas last season. While it would be a disaster if they played this way for the rest of the year, we should at least have a bit more patience than this with them.

    That, and the fact that Nonis is a rock-solid GM who will move some guys if they underachieve, and I think we can count on the management to see the flaws to their end. Have faith, Canuckians — I didn’t last year, and look where they managed to finish off!

  2. Well the difference is that the expectations coming into this year is higher. The Canucks are supposed to be better, and continue their hotness streak heading into this season. It’s starting to concern fans because they don’t seem on top of their game. But of course, they still have 76 games left in the season and if history has shown anything, we turn it on during the second half of the season.

    You are right about players playing not as a team, but depending too much on skill and not hard work. It’s something AV needs to address and change.

    Hosea C

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