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…
by Tyler Rowe
A fair amount of belly-aching has taken place over the Canucks’ play since the big game in Boston on January 7th, and with good reason. In that time, Canada’s Team (see our tagline, jerk) is 17-7-5, or 17-12 if you feel the way we do about rewarding losers. A respectable record for some teams I suppose, but not for a contender, especially when attained in spite of some not-so-respectable play. The more disturbing portion is the last 10 games, where the Canucks are 3-5-2 (3-7), including consecutive losses to two teams that are likely first-round opponents in the Coyotes and Stars.
While many slumps were bumped in the 5-4 loss to Phoenix last Wednesday, and more still on Saturday night when the Canucks just barely beat the worst team in the league, the team is definitely not firing on all cylinders. Last night’s game in Minnesota was almost un-watchable, and while Minnesota’s new coach Mike “Yo” Yeo is clearly trapping-down in the vain hope of keeping his job going into ’12’-13, the Canucks were mediocre at best. They were out-shot, out-hit and won only 43% of their face-offs. Cory Schneider was more impressive than (the actually pretty darn impressive) Josh Harding on the night, not because he suddenly became a show-off, but because he had to be. Kevin Bieksa for one spent the whole night giving it up like the audience at the start of the Arsenio Hall Show.
Mercifully the Canucks aren’t the only ones who are puttering along at this late hour in the ’11’-12 season. The Bruins and Red Wings also wallow in their own crapulence. Maybe, just maybe, we can learn a little about what’s up with the Canucks by looking/laughing at their struggles.
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:
by Brian Beitz
Alain Vigneault must be an Arnie fan, because he had a smirk on his face when he announced that he’d be splitting up the Sedins to start a game against the Nashville Predators last week. Surely that smirk could only be attributed to having watched Twins recently: AV knew the hilarity and hijinks that would ensue whenever the twins were reunited. And, much like the famous—if not identical—duo, the Sedins’ split led to gun fights, sleeping with Kellie Preston, and eventually being reunited with a long-lost maternal figure. OK, so the analogy breaks down a bit here. But the twins were separated after a Danny Devito of a month that still provided some Schwarzenegger-like results.