Waving the White Towel
After all these underwhelming games, the Canucks blew another chance to right the ship and take two points out a hockey game.
Instead, the Minnesota debacle felt almost like the culmination of the creeping habits that had been plaguing the Canucks.
Halfway through the year the Canucks are struggling to find their identity on the ice and now find themselves out of first place in the Northwest Division.
Is this a turning point for the Canucks or just the middle of a long slow slide?
1. The Sestito experience
Credit Tom Sestito for trying to put some emotion into the Canucks by dropping the gloves with Mike Rupp moments after a scrum ensued that featured Alex Burrows and Mikko Koivu doing some extended jawing.
The Canucks are in a slump, that much is clear, and a little chaos can bring about the adrenaline boost needed to kick start a team that looks bored.
When you’re playing this, you should be angry.
2. David vs Goliath expectations
David Booth had another quietly effective game since returning from injury. Problem is he’s not putting up a lot of points to show for his work and the Canucks are losing. With his cap hit, Canuck fans are demanding he play like the team’s fourth-best forward he’s paid to be.
That hasn’t quite happened yet, but that doesn’t mean he’s useless. Keep an eye on him.
3. This can be a wake-up call
The team is slumping and the Wild just cleaned their clock to take top spot in the division. This can be a good thing if the Canucks draw a line in the sand and regroup. Some competition for the division title might be just what this team needs to remember how to play hockey that matters.
Perhaps the passsiveness of the Northwest is one of the reasons ennui has crept into the Canucks’ game. In that case, I say bring it on Minnesota.
1. What is going on?
There’s no simple fix to whatever is happening with the Canucks, short of a healthy dose of 2011 Ryan Kesler. On paper the roster is deep, the coaching staff accomplished and Mike Gillis is routinely hailed as a master at his job.
So what gives? Immediately, you look to Zack Kassian‘s disappearing act and Cody Hodgson‘s play in Buffalo and wonder what this team would look like with Hodgson and not Mason Raymond centering the second line. In the very limited short-term, this trade hasn’t been in the best interest for the Canucks.
Meanwhile Alain Vigneault is on the hot seat as the defensive zone is seeing a curious amount of lapses under a coach that was criticized for being too defensive-minded when he first joined the organization.
Is something about to give?
2. Has anyone seen Alex Edler?
After signing for big money and getting off to a hot start, Alex Edler has completely disappeared and the powerplay especially is suffering for it.
3. Kevin come back
Most of the Canucks’ struggles have come with Kevin Bieksa out, proving perhaps that he may be the glue and grit that holds the Canucks together from the back end.
Bieksa is close to returning, news that is too welcome to the team and fans alike.
If the Canucks keep struggling with him back in the line-up however…
4. This just in