by Tyler Rowe
It would appear that I was too optimistic about the Vancouver Canucks playoff chances for the second year in a row. In case you haven’t heard, the Canucks were unable to win one game against the San Jose Sharks, not even for the Gipper. And over the next week, I’m going to try to figure out why that happened and what needs fixing. If Vancouver is talented but unable to win a single game against a good but beatable opponent, then either something is broken in the coaching staff, or in the team’s player personnel and the culture they engender as a whole. *Spoiler Alert*: It might be both. Continue reading
by Brian Beitz
If someone had told me earlier in the year that one of the Canucks strongest runs would come with Daniel Sedin and Kevin Bieksa sitting out with injuries, I would have… I’d have… Well, I’d probably believe them. Despite their lackluster play in January and February, the Canucks play a strong system game and have always said that if they stick to that system, they give themselves a great chance to win no matter who’s in the lineup. Now, since Daniel went down due to a
mysterious upper-body injury cheap and brutal headshot—wait, did I cross out the wrong part there?—the Canucks have won 6 straight, their longest winning streak of the season. Really, with the schedule as it is, the Canucks could very well finish the season on a 9-0 run without their leading goal scorer. It’s like they don’t even need him!
The problem is, as you’ll find out after the jump, the Canucks seem to realize this as well…
Wednesday, after a 3-day rest, the Canucks took on the Phoenix Coyotes at Rogers Arena. The team was looking to right a
sinking no-longer-buoyant-but-still-somehow-staying-in-the-exact-same-position-on-the-surface ship. Many of the players have been mired in scoring slumps lately, the powerplay has been dismal, and for some reason when you add those two items together and combine them with shaky goaltending and defensive breakdowns, the results are worse than Terrence Maddox’s last blood test.
But now is not the time to panic, my little Smuglies. No, that time was 2 games ago. Now is the time when you slump to the ground, exhausted by your own hysterics and dehydrated from the excessive sobbing and drooling and start to realize there is still good in the world. You see, not every loss is a complete loss and not every win is a complete win (mostly because some wins are shootouts). We here at Smug Nation don’t believe that the Canucks’ cup is half empty, and we certainly don’t believe that the cup is half full. Only losers have half-full cups. At Smug Nation, all cups usually runneth over with optimism, hope, and enough alcohol to keep those first two things intact. Today, the Canucks’ cup runneth over with the momentum gained from breaking nine slumps on Wednesday and getting several individuals off the proverbial “schnide” (also getting them off the non-proverbial Schneid, who would prefer that players stop sitting on his lap for comfort following a loss).
Let’s take a look at some of the slumps bumped by the Canucks on Wedneday night:
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:
Last night, the Canucks organization ran their annual Canucks for Kids Telethon during the Canucks-Jets game. This charitable act, as of 10pm Thursday night, had raised almost $700,000 towards assisting children and families suffering through illness, loss, and all manner of tragedies. Well, my smuglies, our collective heart has been warmed. To see professional athletes stop and remind those of us who may take this game a wee-bit seriously (like all you obsessive Canucks bloggers out there) that there are more important things in the world than sports, and the NHL seems to be recognizing that these days.
In light of this, we at Smug Nation have decided to take a break from our nonsense, shift our tongues to mid-mouth, and share our favourite hockey-related moments and charities of the year, from courageous acts to extreme generosity—and you’re going to soak up every last sentimental bit.