The Canucks’ 4-0 preseason loss at the hands of the Seattle Kraken was a harsh reality check for everybody, and that’s without getting into the introduction of Buoy the Troll.
From beginning to end, the Canucks played such a poor game that not even the standard “it’s only preseason” excuse could save them, and the whole team knows it. Just ask Luke Schenn.
“Yeah it’s just preseason, but at the same time, we definitely need to clean up some areas,” Schenn said after the loss. “In my personal opinion, I think we need to have some more poise on the puck in the d-zone. I think when we don’t have the puck we’re just stick checking, we’re too soft.”
“Give them credit, they skated hard tonight too. But a lot of that was self-inflicted.”
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Schenn was right about self-inflicted errors, as nearly every goal in this game was the result of player mistakes. Matty Beniers broke the ice in the second period after four Canucks got caught covering the same side of the ice, leaving the former second overall pick way too much time and space to step into a hard wrist shot.
Then early in the third period, Tyler Myers turned the puck over behind his own net after trying a no-look pass that landed directly on Oliver Bjorkstrand’s stick. Bjorkstrand fed Alex Wennberg a quick pass and he ripped the puck past Thatcher Demko for the 2-0 lead.
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The icing on the cake was a bad breakout pass by Tucker Poolman that was easily intercepted by Wennberg. Poolman then tripped near the blue line as he turned back towards an already streaking Yanni Gourde, who made no mistake on the ensuing breakaway.
Yes, this was a preseason game where the Canucks dressed a lineup without Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and new fan favourite Andrey Kuzmenko. And yes, they were also missing Brock Boeser and Ilya Mikheyev due to early injuries.
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But the actual game results aren’t what’s concerning. It’s the efforts themselves, where the Canucks look disengaged and get outworked by clearly inferior lineups.
In four preseason games, the Canucks have scored just two goals at even strength, while allowing eight against. In the second period tonight, Vancouver outshot Seattle 12-4, but in the first and third periods, the Canucks only took a combined five shots.
Schenn didn’t mince words when it came to the effort tonight.
“We need to figure out what ‘hard to play against’ means and what that feels like. We figured it out last year.”
Bruce Boudreau, who was clearly showing signs of frustration on the bench, echoed those sentiments.
“We have to be physical. We need more guys doing that, that was pretty well the message since we last played these guys,” Boudreau said. “We’re gonna get better, but it’s just not happening as quickly as I’d like it to be.”
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Luckily for the Canucks, there are still quite a few opportunities to fix these issues before the games start to count. But once the regular season gets underway, there’ll be no time for nights like this one again.