Captain Obvious: The Canucks Start Slow Under Alain Vigneault

Slow Starts

There’s a truism floating out there about the Vancouver Canucks that they’re slow in October, quick in November.


You probably heard it daily around the start of this season as the Canucks stumbled out of October a meagre 5-5-1. The line-up is still a work in progress, Luongo is a slow starter, wait for November.

When the Canucks stormed into Calgary on November 1, it seemed as though November would be one to remember. Then the Canucks dropped back-t0-back ugly losses in Minnesota and St Louis, won a couple, split against Chicago, and then went on an incredible run this week while Luongo ate some popcorn.

With one game left in the month, the Canucks are 13-9-1, seventh in the Western Conference.

Historically, this is right where they should be and means absolutely nothing about how this year will finish.

In 2006-07, Vigneault and Luongo’s first year, the Canucks had a hot October cooled by a 5-8 November to finish the month 12-13-1. They would go on to have a 105 point season.

2007-08 was the genesis of the October/November theories. A 5-7 October was reversed by the end of November to pin the team at 14-9-2.

This was also the first November Luongo shutout streak, three straight against the Blackhawks, Ducks, and Blue Jackets.

This was also the year the Canucks missed the playoffs (wait, how?).     

Alain Vigneault

We know We know. The line-up is still a work in progress, Luongo is a slow starter, wait for November.

To further confusion, the Canucks went out the next year and duplicated their first two months from the previous year in 2008-09. 6-5 October, but 14-8-2 by the end of November.

Luongo’s three straight shutouts came earlier in the month this year, against the Predators, Coyotes, and Wild.

Despite nearly identical two-month starts, the spread in the final point totals between the 07-08 squad and 08-09 squad is 17 points and a playoff spot.

The stories the same in the last two years. 2009-10, the Canucks turned a .500 October into a slightly higher than .500 November. Last year, they were 12-7-3 at the end of this month.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like you can’t read anything into that. The Canucks are at the same position they were when they won the President’s Trophy/made the playoffs/missed them entirely.

The thing about the Canucks is that they depend on mid and late season win streaks.

2006-07 saw the Canucks reel off seven straight in early January, six straight in February, and five straight in March.

2008-09, the club had six win streaks of three or more after November.

2009-10, they won 15 of 19 after Christmas.

Last year saw 13 wins in March alone.

The year missing from this is 07-08, where the team managed more losing streaks of three or more than winning streaks after November. You can see how they missed the playoffs.

23 games into an 82 game schedule, it seems as though we may have to wait until the Canucks get deeper into this season to figure where this is all going.

Don’t forget that 14 of these 23 games have been on the road, including nine of 13 in November.

When March 1 hits, the Canucks will have 18 games remaining. 13 of those will be at home.

There’s a lot of hockey left to be played.    

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About Richard Hodges

A proud Vancouverite with a lifelong passion for the home teams that some would classify as pointless and disturbing. Now realizes that The Linden Tree is not the play you think it would be.
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