January 09 2014 11:25AM
Image via Jeff Gross / Getty Images
After a wildly successful month of December in the Win/Loss column, January has been far less forgiving to the Canucks thus far. They're 0-2-3 in their past 5, and have already given up just 5 fewer goals in January than they did in the entire previous month. The thing about winning is that, while obviously being the ultimate goal, it can also prove to be somewhat of a fool's gold by thinly veiling larger underlying issues.
While getting the two points from a game is nice, ideally you'd like to do it in a way that'll lend itself to future success. A blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, a broken clock is right twice a day, and hockey teams run into stretches of play where fortunate bounces string together a winning streak. It's not something you should bank on, though. Just ask the '11-'12 Minnesota Wild, and the Randy Carlyle Era Toronto Maple Leafs.
This is why we constantly preach the importance of puck possession on this platform; while it should make intuitive sense that having the puck more often than your opponent is a good thing, some people still choose to overlook its importance, despite ample evidence proving that its the best predictor we have for future success.
All of which brings us to the recent woes for the Vancouver Canucks; they've failed to register a win over the past 5 games now, and there are some worrying trends. Their ability to drive play has been sinking faster than Alex Burrows' bid for Sochi. Anyways, this is something I've been following this for a while, and I figured that with an extra day off between games this was as good a time as any to explore the negative trend further.
January 06 2014 04:00PM
It was during Saturday night's evisceration at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings that more than just a regular season game was lost by the Vancouver Canucks. Early in the 3rd period, Dustin Brown acrobatically spun into Roberto Luongo following his rebound of a Justin Williams shot, acquainting his right skate with the goaltender's head. Luongo stayed down for a while, and got looked at by the team's trainers, but was eventually deemed OK to stay in the game.
While he went on to surrender a goal later on in a losing effort, there was nothing in his movement or play that struck me as glaringly awkward. I personally didn't really think twice of the incident after the fact - other than about how big of a scumbag Brown is, of course - but then news broke on Sunday that he was unable to dress as Eddie Lack's backup against the Ducks (enter, Rob Laurie). There were rumblings that it was a high-ankle sprain which was keeping him out, and Mike Gillis did nothing to throw water on the fire.
It sounds as if a full-blown crisis may've been averted, however. While we've yet to hear any definitive news from the team regarding the extent of the injury, James Duthie is reporting some good news for Luongo, the Canucks, and Team Canada. I assume that Duthie wouldn't be tweeting this without having spoken to someone in the know, so it appears that you can all finally exhale..
January 04 2014 11:53PM
Luongo is in disbelief at his team's performance, and I don't blame him. [via @SchneidersTeeth]
Let's not sugarcoat it: the Vancouver Canucks got thoroughly outclassed by their opponent on Saturday night. The list of positives for the Canucks is a pretty short one following this game, with pretty much just one name cracking it. For a while there it looked like Roberto Luongo - who really stood on his head all night, showing no ill effects as he made his return from a groin injury which had sidelined him for 4 games - might be able to steal the two points for his team, but he could only hold the fort for as long before the floodgates finally opened.
In the preview today we took a look at the 5-game losing streak the Los Angeles Kings were in the midst of, nothing that while they were losing, they were still playing at a high level and dominating their opposition. It was much of the same in this one for them, as they dominated the Canucks pretty handily from the 12:27 mark of the 1st period onwards, yet still trailed heading into the 3rd. This time around, though, they were finally able to break through following a few unfortunate defensive breakdowns by their opponent.
The final result - 3-1, with the final tally coming via an empty netter - doesn't necessarily look all that bad, especially considering the stature of the LA Kings. But I'd say that the way this game unfolded served as somewhat of a reminder that just because 1 point separates these two teams in the standings doesn't mean that they're on the same level.
January 04 2014 01:38PM
If tonight's game between the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks is even one half of the game that we saw the last time these two teams hooked up, I think we'll all be satisfied. It was over a month ago now that all hell broke loose after Jordan Nolan took a run at Henrik Sedin. Once the fisticuffs concluded we saw a spirited effort in which the Canucks really raised the level of their game to another level (serving as a precursor for what was to come in December, essentially), only to have a couple of brutal defensive breakdowns late in the game result in a tough overtime loss.
I think it's clear at this point that these teams really don't like each other, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar sort of game like the one we saw in late November. I remember a while back Elliotte Friedman saying that out of all the teams in the West the Kings were the ones that gave the Canucks the most problems stylistically, but I'm not sure I agree with that. I'd say that given the way they're currently constructed, the Canucks would rather play in a 2-1 or 3-2 game than a back-and-forth shootout v. San Jose or Chicago, but that's just me.
Regardless, at the risk of sounding like the talking head on your television, this really is a big game for both teams (sorry, I don't mean to sound like a talking head on your television). Shit is getting real in a hurry. Read on past the jump for a preview.
January 02 2014 10:51AM
Image via @CrownRoyal22
Reading some of the postgame quotes you'd think that Wednesday night's lackluster effort v. the Lightning was something we'd become accustomed to seeing as part of a worrying trend, rather than an aberration. But with a 10-1-2 month of December in the rearview mirror, I think it's fair to say it's far more of the latter than the former, and we should take this performance for what it is: an outlier more than anything else.
After losing a game a few days ago in which they had really deserved a better fate v. the Flyers, the right team won this time around. John Tortorella hit the nail right on the head when he said the following, "that's a team effort. It is probably our worst game of the year. We deserved to lose that one and we did.”
You sure did, Torts. Read on past the jump for a deeper look at what went wrong.