Canucks Woes Nine Games In

Kevin BieksaWell, seeing as how the Canucks are 11 per cent of the way through the 2007-2008 NHL regular season, let’s do an analysis of their play to this point.

This analysis won’t take too long, it can be summed up in one word: Baffling

Last night’s 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was an example of a team struggling to find any consistency with their play, which is baffling because last year the Canucks were as consistent as they could be.

The first period, every single Canucks player looked like they had a five ton cement block strapped to their skates while trying to skate uphill. They didn’t have legs, they didn’t have energy. You can’t argue this point at all because in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Canucks were shorthanded three times and two of the three penalties were hooking calls.

Stick infractions – like hooking – show one thing and that is players aren’t moving their feet.

The Canucks, to their credit, battled harder in the second period and put an even better effort forward in the final period, but again it was the inconsistency that cost this team any chance of getting back into the game.

For a tight, defensive hockey team, the Canucks have allowed an awful lot of odd-man rushes due to poor reads by both defencemen and forwards in the offensive and neutral zone. The Canucks played a tighter checking game last night, but a poor defensive breakdown in the third period by the Canucks allowed Rod Brind’Amour to complete a mile-long stretch pass to Chad Larose, who beat Roberto Luongo high on the glove side with not a Canuck defender in sight.

Carolina VancouverThose stretch passes cannot happen. It’s a great play by Brind’Amour and an even better finish by Larose, but with the defensive styles of hockey today and the way these players communicate in the nuetral zone, there is no way that pass should be completed.

It’s little breakdowns that are costing the Canucks. Their effort, aside from a handful of players, has not been there like it was last year. Their attention to detail at all three ends of the rink have not been there like it was last year. Their execution, with the exception of the powerplay, has not been there and when all three of these things are missing from a team game, than it can spell the end a lot sooner than the middle of May.

There are positive signs though. The Canucks seemed a little bit grumpy last night. Kevin Bieksa, who had his best game of the season in Columbus on Sunday, showed more promise. He showed he can still fight by pumping Craig Adams early in the second period. Each player needs to do something positive right now to gain their confidence and their will. Maybe for Bieksa, getting mad and then laying a whooping on someone is just what he needed.

Either way, the Canucks are not all there this year. Too inconsistent in effort, detail and execution both as a team and as individuals, and they have to find a way to become consistent quickly, or they could become a losing hockey team on a nightly basis.

That’s the wrong kind of consistency.

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4 Responses

  1. […] was a statement by the crew over at the Sports Corner. And I don’t see it. I honestly don’t. The Canucks are struggling to find consistency […]

  2. As happens to me sometimes, I got to responding with a comment and ended up with a post. Hope you “enjoy”, lol.

  3. […] was a statement by the crew over at the Sports Corner. And I don’t see it. I honestly don’t. The Canucks are struggling to find consistency […]

  4. The results weren’t exactly there early last year, which is expected of a team forming a new identity. But they worked harder. The players didn’t know what to expect and didn’t want to fail again, so they worked harder. This year, the players expected they would breeze into the playoffs and you can see it. Success breeds complacency and judging by the difference in work ethic and detail, last year’s team was 5x more consistent.

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