by Brian Beitz
It’s official, the Canucks are slumping. The boys in blue and green have gone 4-4-2 in their last 10, outscored 23 to 20 in that span. This is not the way we have come to expect this team to perform, and nearly every player is in a season-worst funk. There has been much debate since the embarrassing 3rd-period folding versus the Canadiens last night as to how the Canucks should spend their 3-day break before playing Phoenix on Wednesday. If you’re Alain Vigneault, what do you do? Bag skate them? Give them a few days away from the rink to clear their heads? Perhaps an ideal game of Battling Tops?
No. What the Canucks need is to realize that what they’re going through now has been gone through by many before them, on the silver screen. Winning isn’t about resting or practicing; it’s about watching movies and seeing how the real heroes turn their games around and defeat the villain/win the big game/get Thor’s hammer back. Here’s the Hollywood scenarios Smug Nation would suggest each slumping Canuck go through in order re-find his game:
Alex “Russ Tyler” Burrows, a renowned ball hockey champion, is one of many struggling Canucks and has scored only 4 points in the last 10 games. Clearly, he needs to be more like Team USA in D2: The Mighty Ducks, and take a trip to South Central LA to play an impromptu game with a hockey team from the streets–sorry, a street hockey team–that can teach him to play like “the real Vancouver Canucks.” Burrows clearly needs to go back to his roots, remember where he came from, and unleash his knucklepuck.
Ryan “Kiddo” Kesler seems to be pulling out of a slump that saw him put up 1 goal in 13 games, but he has been wildly inconsistent this year. Really, he hasn’t been the same since the beating he took in the playoffs last year, much like Uma Thurman lost her mojo after taking a beating on her wedding day in Kill Bill. What helped her climb back to fighting form? Why, a trip to Japan to have a sword made by the infamous Hattori Hanzō, of course! We saw Kesler end a drought earlier in the season against the Colorado Avalanche when he briefly switched to white stick tape. Maybe a whole new stick is in order this time. Actually, now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure Hattori went to work for Reebok after retiring as a bladesmith.
Speaking of losing one’s mojo, Henrik “Goldmember” Sedin has been having a terrible time finding his game of late. His 0 points in his last 9 games means Hank is mired in his worst slump in years. Not deployed much as a defender, this has made him somewhat ineffective since back-to-back wins against Toronto and Edmonton almost a month ago. But is his mojo really missing? Was it stolen by Phil “Fat Bastard” Kessel? What he needs is to learn from Austin Powers: you see, Henrik’s mojo wasn’t really stolen; he’s had it in him all along!
Sadly, Hank is not the only Sedin slumping. Daniel “Gary Johnston” Sedin has a disappointing 1 point in his last 8 games. What he needs more than anything is a classic montage sequence, like that of Team America: World Police. Then he can pick his anatomically incorrect self up, get moving, and use his terrific acting skills to thwart the evil mad man from destroying the world’s leaders! The Canucks need Team Sweden: World Ombudsmen back in action like Matt Damon needs to sue Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
Now we can’t forget about Alain “Jonathan Silverman” Vigneault. While we don’t really talk about coaches as slumping, I think it’s fair to say that the man has not yet been able to help his players out of this valley and back up the mountain. I recommend a little Weekend at Bernie’s action. Grab Newell, head down to a beach house in the tropics, and spend time convincing all the party goers that your friend Power Play is still alive. Shouldn’t be too hard. Just occasionally lift up its arm, turn its head, or wave its inflated percentage whenever the crowd looks over. Actually, you may need Weekend at Bernie’s 2: Bern Harder for this one. Power Play’s been dead awhile and people are starting to notice the smell. Voodoo is the only remaining option.
You thought I was going to go with a Sami Salo reference there, didn’t you? Well it’s a little obvious for my taste. No, for Sami I’d recommend:
Short Circuit 2. Our usually reliable Finn has 3 points in the last 10 games and is a -4 in that span. Clearly, the fragile Salo is suffering yet another injury. He needs to take a page from Johnny 5’s book. After facing a savage, Brad Marchand-like attack from thieves, Johnny was severely damaged. Despite this, he repairs himself on the fly to return the bandits to justice. Salo must be like Johnny 5 if he wants to get back into game shape. Get angry, my Fragile Finn, and patch yourself up, because someone needs to bring those Bruins to justice!
Sadly, it’s not just the skaters who are struggling to get it done right now, as Roberto Luongo has allowed 3 or more goals in 6 of his last 7 games and is 1-2-0 in March with a 3.60 GAA and a .889 SV%. Eww. But what could have happened to the man we at Smug Nation refer to as “The Natural“? Perhaps, so far from home, he has been seduced by an evil seductress named Memo. What he needs is to find his mysterious lady in white, his high school sweetheart whom he has never stopped loving and the mother of his child, to find his way again. Basically, he needs to go see his wife in Florida and get a little somethin’ somethin’. You know what I’m saying? Y’know? You don’t know. Editor’s note: Who would choose Glenn Close over Kim Basinger? It’s not like Close hasn’t had her evil moments…
As for the Canucks other goaltender, do you remember Jesus Christ Superstar? Just kidding. Cory Schneider’s perfect. He can just take the days off.
It’s fairly understandable that David “Maverick” Booth would slump a little following the loss of his off-ice wingman Cody “Goose” Hodgson. Boothy and Cody spent all sorts of time together, including watching Aladdin in their hotel room, and since Hodgson was traded, Booth has a lowly 3 points. He’s obviously afraid to get back out there. Perhaps spending the next 3 days chatting with Viper about the classified death of his father is enough to get Booth back in the game where he belongs, out there in the danger zone, flipping other teams the bird.
Let’s face it, Mason Raymond has not been the offensive threat we all hoped he would be in his return from the devastating injury he sustained in last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. With 16 points on the season and a terrible 2 in his last 12, Raymond is understandably lacking confidence following the Boychuk hit. You know who else had a devastating injury? Ricky Bobby, when he crashed his car in Talladega Nights. Much like Ricky, Raymond was, mercifully, not paralyzed. Raymond needs to spend his time off reconnecting with his father and driving around with a cougar in the backseat. Only then can he truly regain his confidence, just like Connor Macleod did in Highlander, the Oscar winner for greatest movie of all time.
But what to do with Maxim “Happy” Lapierre? It’s hard to argue that the agitating center isn’t doing his part, as his line has shown grit, effort, and defensive acumen. Still, with 0 points and coming in at -3 in the past 9, Lappy could stand to contribute a little more, despite the specialized role in which the team puts him. Wait–a swarthy, smart alecky hockey player with a mean temper who can’t adjust to his new role… Lappy obviously needs to go mini golfing with his mentor Chubbs Peterson. It’s the only way he can improve the missing aspect of his game, get the hot publicist, and listen to “Endless Love” in the dark. Or something like that.
Alex Edler looks a little rocky these days. He’s out of position, missing checks, turning over the puck; as Alain said last night, “I don’t know where he is right now.” To me, Edler looks the kind of rattled that only comes from losing one’s mentor. Perhaps the long-term injury to his longtime mentor and fellow Swede, Matthias Ohlund, has Edler shaken like Rocky after Clubber Lang accidentally killed Mickey. There’s nothing else for it. The Swedish Stallion needs to learn how to loosen up; he needs to train with a former nemesis to add a little more rythym in his game. Maybe spending this time off with Patrick Kane in Chicago could help.
Jannik “NSEA Protector” Hansen has been having a terrible time finding his game lately. In the great internal struggle between grinder and goal scorer, Hansen has opted for neither one, so as not to make the other jealous. Hansen now has 3 points in the last 11 games, living off past laurels like the cast of Galaxy Quest. What he needs is a new mission, a new lot in life to show him that he truly is a hero. Space is the only place where Jannik can learn this lesson, defeat Sarris, and save the people of Vancouver. Never give up; never surrender! Now if he could just track down the man who stole his voicebox and replaced it with a Thermian’s.
There you have it: Smug Nation’s quick, easy, and effective Hollywood measures for getting one’s groove back. Oh man! How could we have forgotten that one? Wedding Crashers would have been a perfect reference for getting your groove back. Oh well. Maybe it’ll make it in during the next slump. You know, the one that always seems to follow a cup win?