What's Ailing the Canucks? Not Enough Bread and Butter

Dimitri Filipovic
January 30 2013 11:03AM

At this point, the Canucks could certainly use some more bread and butter.

In case you hadn't heard, the Vancouver Canucks were fairly proficient at winning hockey games over the past two seasons. They were a combined 105-41-18, which was good for two consecutive Presidents' trophies. For a team to accomplish that in today's NHL, they need to be able to do something things pretty darn well; the particulars obviously depending on the specific construction of the team. For the Canucks, those things happened to be strong special teams play combined with devastating possession of the puck (and good goaltending, of course).

So naturally, with the Canucks having come out of the gate sluggishly this season - to the tune of a 2-2-2 record, with a few questionable blown leads mixed in - questions have surfaced about what's wrong with the team.

It's simple - they haven't been able to fall back on what was their bread and butter when the going was good.

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Jason Garrison and the Ghost of Keith Ballard

Thomas Drance
January 30 2013 09:51AM

It didn't take long for Canucks fans to begin sharpening their knives, in anticipation of carving up White Rock native and this summer's big free-agent acquisition Jason Garrison. Jason Garrison gave the perpetually dour and fatalistic faithful a reason to start too on Sunday when he fumbled a clearing attempt directly to Joe Thornton that ended up in the back of Vancouver's net, and again on Monday when he whiffed on a point shot, fell over and allowed Dustin Brown to breakout the other way (for a two-on-one that Jordan Schroeder and Alex Edler expertly foiled).

Those two sequnces when combined with the repeated sound of Garrison's zippy point blasts hitting the boards behind the net after a missed shot, have resulted in the newly minted Canucks defenseman burning through his "good local boy makes good (too bad he wasn't a Vancouver Giant)" honeymoon in record time.

Obviously judging a defenseman's performance using only your eyes and your emotional overreaction to a couple of relatively minor in-game errors is stupid as hell (no need to sugar coat it),  though I suppose on some level it's understandable especially when one considers the ghost of Keith Ballard and the mixed legacy of former Florida Panthers skaters acquired by Mike Gillis. 

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Why do Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev look like the Canucks best pairing early on?

Cam Charron
January 29 2013 06:44PM

A hypothesis: the rumours concerning the Canucks' defensive demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Looking through my time-line on Twitter, I've read that Alex Edler isn't deserving of his contract, that Kevin Bieksa is the worst No. 1 in the league, that Dan Hamhuis looks terrible this season, and I've also read people calling for Jason Garrison's head just six games into a new contract. Rest assured, all of that is mostly over-wrought pablum.

Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev get a pass online, though, and as much as I'd like to say that Chris Tanev's minutes should be upped to include prime powerplay and penalty kill time, as well as thrust the young, undrafted defenceman into a shutdown role at even strength, now is really not the time.

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Tragically Hip: Eddie Läck Has Surgery, Will Miss the Remainder of the Season

Thomas Drance
January 29 2013 03:36PM

Brad Zeimer reported on Tuesday afternoon that highly regarded Canucks goaltending prospect and Twitter superstar Eddie Läck, inactive since November while dealing with hip flexor issues, has undergone a surgical procedure on his injured hip and will miss the rest of this season. 

The Canucks re-signed Eddie Läck this past summer, the lanky Swedish netminder was a restricted free-agent at the time, to an interesting contract. The two year pact stipulated that Läck would be on a two-way deal for this season, which his deal morphing into a one-way deal the following year. Obviously the idea was that Läck would play another full season in the AHL, following the familiar player development route taken by Cory Schneider, before being entrusted as Vancouver's backup goalie for the 2013-14 season.

Read on past the jump.

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Canucks Blow it Royally Late, Fall to Kings: Recap and Chance Data

Dimitri Filipovic
January 29 2013 01:16AM

Roberto Luongo's performance was worth talking about, despite the result.
Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP

The Canucks fans that were hoping to get something resembling vengeance - whether it be in the form of blood, or two points in the standings - from Monday night's affair in Los Angeles were left heading to bed with a bitter taste in their mouth, after their team blew yet another two-goal lead. This time, it was en route to a shooutout loss against the hated Kings.

Although I'm sure that before heading to bed, many of those individuals made sure to give their two cents in the form of a snarky tweet about everything that's wrong with the team. The same team, that was a mere 44 seconds from leaving town with a hard fought (if not impressive) win. That's how things work in the land of Canucks, though.

Regardless, the Canucks managed 3 out of a possible 6 points in their saunter through California, and now head home licking their wounds, in desperate need of a day off.

Read on Past the Jump for More (including scoring chance totals!)

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