This can’t keep up can it?
The memory of Vancouver’s Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins is in many ways no farther away nor less painful than it was just 21 difficult months ago. The core Canucks members remain but the question of whether this is the group that can still win the big one is much more suspect.
Talent alone will not assure the cup victory the team and their dedicated, desperate fans crave.
Even more worryingly, in the midst of their recent poor run, the skilled, dominant identity the team had crafted for itself appears to be fading.
The Columbus game provided a glimmer last night, at least in the second period, of the familiar game controlling incarnation of the Canucks. However, that sight is more fractured on each outing as this group struggles to function as a unit.
The Sedins started the year slowly but have regained their point a game pace, but the rest of the team cannot keep up. As a result, the high powered offence is rapidly losing steam.
Vancouver eked out a shootout win in the end against the Blue Jackets thanks to Mason Raymond’s extravagant move but struggled to find any real offence all night.
Diehards will argue that the absence of Bieksa and Kesler has been the reason why this team has been rendered less effective, but that is a poor perspective.
Many teams suffer injuries, but do not rely on that as an excuse.
For instance, the blazingly hot Blackhawks have had their own concerns this season, with Hossa having missed time and have required a reliance on back-up Ray Emery in goal, but they have soldiered on.
Vancouver in particular appears more anxious behind the bench. Watch Coach Alain Vigneault these days as he spends more time frantically berating the officials over perceived injustices than concentrating on creative game planning.
I have been a staunch AV supporter for years, but must admit the growing cracks are harder and harder to paper over as time passes.
This team`s identity fade from a fast paced, skillful unit to the obscurity of anonymity is the responsibility of their leadership and a refresher may be in order.
Next time, we will look at some ideas for change at the top of the Canucks organization.
In the meantime, send us your thoughts on the Canucks devolving identity crisis and the AV situation.