A few thoughts on Saturday’s loss to Calgary. I won’t go deep because really there isn’t much to say. In fact, I didn’t even watch the game last night. It’s Family Day weekend and I attended my daughter’s dance recital which provided far more entertainment. I did, however, PVR the game and watched it this morning. Thank the Lord for the fast forward button.
Another night and another goal. I know the organization clings to the dream of a playoff spot, but I have yet to hear any good explanation from inside the walls of Rogers Arena about how the Canucks truly believe they can get there with one goal each night. And for the longest time last night, it looked like they may not meet their modest quota before Emerson Etem beat Jonas Hiller in garbage time to put the Canucks on the board.
The top line has gone missing in action. The second line has followed suit. Right now the Canucks are a one-line team and that one line is being led by Linden Vey. In fact, over the past eight games, Vey has a share of the team scoring lead with 2+4=6 (Bo Horvat has 3+3=6 in that span). Such is the plight of the Vancouver Canucks that a mid-season call-up is basically carrying the offense these days. Again, somebody please lay it out for me in the simplest of terms how the playoffs can possibly be a possibility.
It’s one thing to lose. It’s another to lose in such a dull fashion on so many nights. And just look at the Canucks results since January 1st. They’ve played 14 games and have scored 29 goals. On six occasions, including the past three games, the Canucks have managed to score just once. But it goes back much futher than the start of the new year. Five times in 13 games in December the Canucks were held to a single goal or shutout. So do the math and that’s 11 of the past 27 games (more than 40%) that this team has played that it has barely put a dent in the scoreboard. At this point, I am volunteering to drive to Utica to pick Hunter Shinkaruk up and personally deliver him to the Canucks. I’d probably find room in the backseat for Brendan Gaunce and maybe even Alex Grenier, too.
I read the quotes from Willie Desjardins post-game last night on his refusal to switch up his line combinations. He claimed he sensed things were moving in the right direction. Someone needs to place the previous paragraph in front of him. I know the coach isn’t blessed with the best line-up in the league and has had to deal with some key injuries, so I will cut him some slack on where the team sits in the overall standings. My biggest issue with Willie D. since his arrival on the job has been his lack of in-game adjustments. He seems to have his game plan set in stone and for whatever reasons refuses to budge from it. Somebody needs to hi-jack that whiteboard he carries with him and come up with some new ideas for him. The game plan and the line combinations as currently constructed are not working. At the very least, swap Radim Vrbata and Jannik Hansen. Do something. Anything. But don’t come back with the same line-up on Tuesday in Denver.
*I was truly delighted for Dan Hamhuis to see him back into the line-up last night. If you haven’t seen the piece Jay Janower of Global TV did earlier in the week, take a few minutes and watch it. Jay was given unprecedented access to the plastic surgeon who pieced Hamhuis’ face back together in the days after his jaw was shattered against the Rangers on December 9th. When you see the images and hear the surgeon describe all that was involved in the procedure(s), it is crazy to comprehend that Hamhuis is back playing a contact sport at the highest level less than two months after his terrible injury. There are many jobs in this world that I just can’t wrap my head around, but it completely boggles my mind that there are doctors out there who have the knowledge and ability to reconstruct the human skull.
*Congratulations to my old stomping grounds Kamloops for the job the city did as the host of yesterday’s Hockey Day in Canada. I enjoyed six great years there and was fortunate to cut my teeth in broadcasting calling games for that 1994-95 Memorial Cup winning team that was at the centre of much of this weekend’s celebrations.
*And finally, thanks to all for your kind words after my announcement Friday that I will be joining The Province and Canucks Army. I will be writing for both outlets in the days ahead. Please find me there.