Not a feature was playing, no video montage.
Now hit away! Shoot away! Score away all!”
Bone crunching sounds along with the stretch of the gristle.
I’ll see you on Robson with foamy-head pucks!
The Vancouver Canucks have lost Henrik Sedin to injury, leaving them thin in the middle. Linden Vey has been called up from Utica to join the Canucks in Detroit tonight. Last night in Philadelphia, Henrik was hurt in the first period of the game and did not return. A lower body injury was the report. I have a suspicion this has been an on-going injury that was propelled to worse after that hit along the boards in the first of yesterday’s game.
Brandon Sutter has been out with an abdominal injury and went through a successful sports hernia surgery not long ago and is recovering. Sedin and Sutter the Canucks’ No.1 and No.2 centers. Henrik is top 10 in scoring in the NHL, his production with brother Daniel, has been most of the production for the Canucks overall. While Sutter’s 200 foot game has been surely missed, especially on the Canucks penalty kill.
Due to these injuries down the middle, Linden Vey has been called up from the Utica Comets to fill a gap. Jared McCann will be staying with the Canucks and not joining Jake Virtanen at the Hockey World Junior Championship. In the middle of a six game road trip, Hank’s injury couldn’t come at worse time. The Canucks have struggled on the road, having difficulties scoring. Henrik is listed as day to day and doubtful to play in Detroit.
The Canucks aren’t the only ones thinning up front, due to all the call-ups, the Comets are dressing 7 defencemen to fill their lineup.
Thin in the middle and flat on the back isn’t a good sign for the rest of the road trip for the Vancouver Canucks. Now sporting a three game losing skid and getting closer to the basement of the Western Conference, the Canucks are looking closer to high draft pick than lower playoff seed.
Last night in Anaheim, was the worst effort as a team the Canucks have put forth all season. They were pushed around, out-worked and out-classed on all levels. However, some of the shenanigans that went on last night, could have been snuffed out, had certain 4th line players stepped up and took it upon themselves to not allow some events to happen. So here is an open letter to Dorsett and Prust.
Dear Brandon and Derek,
Last night, was the worst collective team effort I have seen in a couple of years. Not since the John Tortorella era have I seen the Canucks play this piss-poorly. So I am not going to put it all on your shoulders…BUT…there were certain incidents I felt the two of you could have curbed with your ‘talents’ on the ice. Unfortunately, you two didn’t curb those events and it cost your team more than the game.
Ryan Getzlaf crosschecks Jake Virtanen in the ribs.
How can anyone let anyone do this to a rookie without, for lack of a better word, retribution? What one of you should have done is let Getzlaf know, you saw it, don’t do it again, with some physical play.
Corey Perry using Ryan Miller as an Ottoman
He is our goaltender. He’s our starting goaltender. Why is this allowed to happen? I understand Hamhuis should have been the guy in the first place to not even allow it to happen, but I would gladly have one of you guys take a goaltender interference penalty, just to get the message across. Ryan Miller has been mowed down like a golf course green and it has to stop. Most fans expect you, Brandon and Derek, to take it upon yourselves to make sure it’s not OK to run down our goalies.
Henrik Sedin out-hit both of you combined. That’s right, Henrik Sedin. Let that sink in for a moment. He had three hits. The both two most physical players combined for two. That’s a telling tale and not a good one.
McCann Scruff-up From Kesler and Getzlaf (courtesy of the @TheStanchion)
Jim Benning wanted a “safe work environment” for the young guys and the stars. In this game, Miller; Virtanen; and McCann can tell you differently. That’s why guys like you, Brandon and Derek, were brought into the fold, and being paid scoring players’ money to do it. That’s $5million or so dollars the Canucks pay you to make sure this type of game doesn’t happen. What the heck were you two doing last night?
Brandon, you have sweet twitter game. But if we wanted twitter game, we would have kept Eddie Lack. This needs to be addressed by the both of you. That means to make sure guys like Getzlaf, Kesler and Perry don’t ever do that to our boys again. We all have jobs to do, your team and your fans need you blokes to do yours.
On to LA and hopefully a more physical game against a very big and heavy Kings team. We are all now looking to see if Prust and Dorsett will respond on the ice when it is necessary. However, if we see what we saw in Anaheim again, the management might have to rethink their approach in finding guys who will stand up for their teammates.
Three Up, Three Down: Shootout in Dallas
The Canucks are in Dallas to face-off with the Stars, but before that, they thought to take in some American Thanksgiving tradition and bought a suite in Jerrywood for the day. Rumour has it, the Sedins were the ones to arrange all this, but you would never hear either of them take credit.
Tonight, we saw the Canucks out-shoot the Stars, but nonetheless, they lose to the best team in the Western Conference in a shootout. This was also the first game the Canucks came back to send into OT after being down after two periods. A few improvements, but still some questions are looming the Canucks, especially in the play of their special teams. However, we have our three standouts in this game. Oddly enough, all three have one thing in common. They are all 35 years old.
1. Daniel Sedin: Daniel was the best skater tonight for the Canucks. A goal to tie it up 1-1 and an incredible assist on the power-play on a goal for Henrik to knot it at 2-2, sending the game to OT and eventually a shootout. That pass to Henrik for the goal ended up using Johnny Oduya like a croquet wicket and shuffling the puck between his legs.
2. Ryan Miller: Ryan Miller was spectacular, but in OT, he was brilliant. That leg stretched out to make that save, unreal. Only Seguin beat Miller in the shootout, but it was enough for the Stars.
3. Henrik Sedin: Captain Hank and his doppelganger seem to be the main source of offense for the Canucks lately. Twins on the power-play are money, even if they don’t always score. When you see them on the ice with the man advantage, they are usually possessing the puck and keeping play in the attacking zone. Tonight, it was no different, but that beautiful twin telepathy they possess resulted in the 2-2 tying goal. Watch Daniel’s pass on Hank’s goal.
1.Alex Edler: I’m not sure where his head has been lately, but the bad passes and turnovers have making him look like Tortorella was still coaching this team. Sometimes I feel he has ear buds on and listening some indie rock and not really paying attention to what is happening around him.
2.Penalty Killing: The Canucks have allowed 14 goals in 12 games, being a man down. Against Dallas, they allowed two goals on five PKs. Do I need to go into it more than that? That is dreadful and for this team, unacceptable.
3.Willie Desjardins: A few things that did not make Willie “real good” in this game vs. the Stars. Willie’s untimely bench minor penalties of ‘too many men’ are often happening. Too many men on the ice in OT should never be happening. Never. If it wasn’t for the stellar play of Miller, the Canucks would have another 3-on-3 OT loss in the books.
Also, Higgins on the shootout? I don’t mind Higgins, but he hasn’t had a goal since early in the last road trip and only two for the year. He hit a post in this game, but it wouldn’t be enough to put him in as the third shooter. However, my biggest gripe with Desjardins is his reluctance to play the young guys more late in the game and especially in OT. My biggest pet peeve in the extra period is Willie’s insistence of having a double D-man combo to hit the ice. Why? 3on3 OT should be all about offense, so let’s just keep it to two forwards and one blue-liner.
Jared McCann: This kid just ‘gets it’. Each and every game, he is improving and willing to work for it. He had four shots on goal against Dallas, and if he keeps that up, the puck will start going into the net again.
Jannik Hansen: Whatever Jannik Hansen is doing out there, it’s creating opportunities for the Sedins that we haven’t seen in a few years. Hansen is Burrows 2.0. He is doing exactly what Burrows did for the twins back in their Art Ross days with a little more speed. Great for us to see, but even better for Daniel and Henrik.
Yannick Weber: A few fans in the twitterverse don’t want to see Weber on the ice, but in all honesty, he hasn’t been as glaringly bad as some seem to think. Between him and Sbisa, the blue line whipping boys positions are currently occupied. I know he’s not the most physical D-man and he is definitely our smallest. He is also a guy who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck from the back end and get it through some traffic. He had 10 shot attempts and a team high five shots on goal. You can’t fault him for working his game to stay in the lineup. Were we not complaining about not shooting enough?
Another overtime loss, another overtime point. Do you remember when the Oilers went to the Stanley Cup final recently? They had less wins than the Canucks, beat them out for the final playoff spot but the amount of OTL’s gave them 8th place and a run to the Stanley Cup. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to win one of these 3 on 3 overtimes, but I sure would rather take the point than none at all.
The loss to the Ottawa Senators was a tough one to swallow. Especially since after 17 previous tries, the Vancouver Canucks finally scored on the Power Play. So far the Canucks are 1-2-1 on this road trip with Toronto waiting in the wings on Saturday. However, as a fan base, we are all on the edge of our seats with every stumble on the ice. In Columbus, the Canucks had 15 minutes of power play time, with no goals to show for it. One of them was even for five full minutes! What is happening and what is wrong with the Canucks? I don’t know for sure, but we can have a look to see what could help.
The Power Play
Up until Edler’s very late power play goal versus Ottawa in the 3-2 loss, the Canucks have been 0 for 17 since their last recorded PPG. This was just after going 6 straight games with power play goals making the score sheet. Until the Canucks start punishing teams with their PP, the opposition will continue to take liberties with members of team since they can’t score on the PP anyway. So what could help?
The Penalty Kill
This aspect of special teams play has usually been a very good part of the Canucks’ game. However on this road trip so far, it’s been atrocious. Ottawa had two PPGs in the last game.
Lack of Physical Play
With two of the more physical players on Injured Reserved, the Canucks cannot expect Jake Virtanen and Brandon Sutter to make all the big hits. The absence of Luca Sbisa has really made the blue line soft. Hamhuis not hip-checking like his used to, Edler having troubles at times just staying on his skates and Tanev not really known as a big hitter but a good positional player, Sbisa’s ‘edge’ is missed. Weber lacks the size to be physical, I haven’t seen much from Bartkowski and Hutton is better with the puck than the others.
Prust being out hasn’t been good for the team either. Sure he’s a 4th line guy, but his presence and leadership shows. With only Dorsett to defend other teammates, Prust’s injury has really affected the physical part of the fore-check. There is much lacking. Virtanen has shown he can drill guys with a good hard check, and Hansen has been more effective with the puck than he has without lately, that other guy who can keep the other team in check isn’t there and isn’t keeping the dirty stick work at bay.
Ryan Miller has been the Canucks’ best player so far this season. He’s a big part of the reason why the Canucks have a winning record opposed to one looking more like the Flames. Until recently, he’s been excellent. However, with only resting for two games, it’s starting to take its toll on him. The bad defensive play in front of him has not helped out his numbers. With Jakob Markstrom back, Miller will get the much needed rest between starts he will need and gives the Canucks a capable backup who has already shown he’s ready for the NHL. The least of the concerns for the Canucks is in the blue ice.
We could even bring it down to some bad luck. It was rearing its ugly head in the Ottawa game for sure, but we’ve seen it earlier in this road trip as well. The bounces aren’t coming. However, having some lucky bounces on the ice usually coincides with some good play. The Canucks have to play 60 minutes, play a strong 200 foot game and play smart hockey.
I don’t believe they will generally be this bad consistently, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned. It’s one thing for the Canucks to plod through a tough time, but it’s another to wallow in it. I do see some good things even though they aren’t playing their best hockey at the moment.
It’s just about getting the team to click all at once. It can happen at any time. I believe that. It’s tough to believe it presently but I can see it happening. There is still a lot of season to play and a few more road trips to win. I’m concerned, but I’m not panicked. Patience, my fellow Canucks fans, patience.