Finding Their Groove

The Canucks have started the season 0-2 and some of the natives in Canuck Nation who had the parade route planned are getting restless. Thursday they ran into a pumped up Flames club at home and ran into penalty trouble early, before basically dominating the game in the second half and coming up short. Saturday they ran into a hot goaltender and a determined Avs team looking to show they aren’t going to be the pushover the experts said they would be this season.

Now, I’m hardly making excuses for the Canucks, but I think there is a legitimate reason why this start has occurred, and the biggest has to lie at the feet of the coaching staff.

We all heard about the obscene amount of exhibition games the Canucks played, nine in all and for some reason the Canucks decided not to dress a “regular” lineup in any of those games. Sure, you need to avoid injuries and evaluate talent, but with a shortened training camp, and little time to gel, it would appear somewhat difficult for anyone but Daniel and Henrik Sedin to feel comfortable playing with each other, never mind hitting the ground running.


Roberto Luongo is off to his traditional slow start

We’re talking little time to work on the penalty kill as a unit. Roberto Luongo didn’t see a lot of action and is off to his traditional mediocre October start. The team even went so far to bring in guys like Dave Scatchard and Mark Parrish, players with NHL experience they could dress to hit the league minimum required for preseason games. These guys had no chance of making the club.

The early games should have been the time to evaluate, the later games should have been a time to get lines set and get some cohesiveness as a unit. Willie Mitchell commented on this in Calgary saying the slow start may have been attributed to having the starters together for the first time in game one. Other teams the Canucks played in the preseason dressed string lineups, with Anaheim and Calgary coming to mind.

In reality, these first few games are training camp for the starters. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s a long season but perhaps in the future, the staff will consider letting the players that are going to be here gel a little more before the puck drops for real.

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  1. says

    Should they really need that much time to gell, though? Of the six new members of the Canucks, only three have had significant ice team in the regular season – Christian Ehrhoff, Mikael Samuelsson, and Sergei Shirokov. The other 20 on the active roster have all played together for at least a full season, and for some, considerably longer.

    There’s no way that they should need to relearn the ‘Canucks system’ just because they’ve had a few months off, either. Sure, the timing might be a little off on passes, etc, but that’s what the preseason is for. Timing should get back into synch whether you’re playing with your regular linemates or not.

    Like you say, I don’t think that it’s the end of the world that they’re 0 – 2, as teams like Detroit are in the same boat. But I don’t think anyone’s writing the Wings’ season off as a complete failure. Just like they shouldn’t for the Canucks.

  2. says

    No one is talking about relearning a system. You ask how much time should they need? How about more than zero games. At no point did the Canucks dress and NHL calibre lineup during the preseason.

    You’re correct that they shouldn’t need much time, especially since most of the team is returning, but it would have been prudent in my opinion to at least dress a solid lineup that would reflect 90% of your roster for the final two preseason games.

  3. says

    100 per cent agreed!

    This team had every chance to get a game or two in before the ‘real’ season started, yet they chose not to. To me, this looks like a cash grab by management to fill the arena a couple of times to pay for the new dressing room.

    Bad move by the team.

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