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#1 Canorcas

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:12 AM

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It was never going to be easy.

But you can’t blame anyone for feeling as if the Canucks have the worst kind of luck these days.


After a lengthy and tumultuous lockout that killed half of the 2013 NHL season, the excitement over the return of hockey has squandered into frustration and anxiety for Vancouver fans.


With the season now nearing the halfway point, the Canucks seem to face more questions than they have answers and there is a realization that this 48-game schedule will be far from a cake walk.


The most recent kick in the rear came courtesy of a broken foot belonging to Ryan Kesler. The same Kesler who missed the first month of the shortened season now faces another 4-to-6 weeks in the press box nursing a fracture in his right foot. That should be a serious concern to a player who, when healthy, is absolutely unstoppable but hasn’t been anywhere near 100% in over two years.


Somewhere, Sami Salo is chuckling to himself.


It seems strange to call Kesler injury-prone but his gritty style of play takes a toll on the body and it seems to be adding up.


With #17 out of the lineup for an extended period of time (again), the Canucks have serious roster issues to address.


For now, Jordan Schroeder seems the likely favorite to run the gauntlet on the second line, but where and who exactly IS the second line? It’s been a revolving door of wingers and centers trying to find consistency and chemistry with popgun results.


In truth, Mason Raymond has been a pleasant surprise with his noticeably improved play, but has found nobody to match his energy level. David Booth is still working his way up the depth chart and may be expedited into a top- 6 role now with Kesler’s absence. Higgins, the second wing of the war torn American Express line, has jumped up and down the chart all year long.


Meanwhile, the days of Kassian leading the team in goals seems forever ago. Recently, the jumbo-sized winger has been doing a better job warming the bench than intimidating any opposition and questions continue to arise as to what exactly the organization wants to do with him.


But the troubles don’t finish among the forwards.


The defense has been far from excellent and anything but steady.


After signing a contract extension over the summer, Alex Edler hasn’t quite found his comfort zone and you have to wonder if his back issues are seriously hampering him in a big way. Once known for his ice-cool persona, calmness and decision making, Edler has been guilty of trying to do too much and panicking in pressure situations. That may be the result of adjusting to life with #5 instead of #6 watching his back.


Sami Salo is probably chortling by now.


Bieksa, who became red-hot in the scoring department, is also facing injury issues and that has certainly exposed the unfamiliarity of Jason Garrison patrolling the Canucks blueline. Poor Dan Hamhuis has been saying all the right words and doing all the right things to no avail; you just can’t spontaneously replace and reproduce chemistry in hockey.


While Chris Tanev has taken strides in his game, he’s still getting trucked into the end boards night after night and sooner or later, something has to give. With the way injuries have been snagging the Canucks of late, it must terrify the Vancouver coaching staff whenever Tanev glides into a corner for a puck battle.


The Canucks have 8 defensemen on the roster but seem decisively nervous with the idea of playing summer pickup Cam Barker in any situation, though perhaps it’s just what the defense needs.


Yes, Barker is new and hasn’t even suited up for a pre-season game with the team, but a new face and new energy could be an ideal way to shake up the group. On the other hand, it could also hamper the thin layer of chemistry already on the verge of cracking. At this point, after 8-3 and 4-2 losses against Detroit and Phoenix respectively, the staff has to consider all options.


As for the Schneider-Luongo situation, what more can be said? Mike Gillis can dance around the truth all day but it has to be said; nobody anticipated the organization carrying both #1 and #35 this far into the season.


It would have almost been easier if Luongo was playing suspect goaltending, or if Schneider vocally declared his desire to be the bona fide starter, but for the sake of a public relations disaster, all parties have been peachy keen in a hand-grenade situation.


Hopefully sooner than later, a long-term resolution to this is unearthed.


At the end of the day, the Canucks really have to challenge themselves and there haven’t been many glimpses of the caliber of hockey this team is capable of playing.


It is fortuitous for Vancouver, however, that the northwest division is likely the weakest in the league and the team can still enjoy a 4-point cushion over second place Minnesota. Whether that lead lasts for much longer is completely in the air so their matchup against the Calgary Flames on March 3rd should be highlighted. It’s another chance for the club to gain a valuable two points in an irrelevant division.


With 29 games left in the schedule, it’s time to see if this team is a legitimate contender or masquerading as an eloquent pretender.


Canucks fans are tired of excuses and waiting. They’re not asking for blood, sweat and tears to be shed this season—they’re expecting it.


Edited by debluvscanucks, 28 February 2013 - 08:33 PM.

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#2 Allt svartnar

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:07 AM

Uninspired.
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#3 Bodee

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:47 AM

Good article, well written and in simple terms, lays it all out. We are paying for 2 years of MG swanning about and doing absolutely nothing much.
How did he EVER THINK that Garrison was an upgrade on the ageing, battle scarred, quiet but venomously effective Salo?

Why has Tanev and Raymond turned up for two seasons now at the same fragile weight that they were in the Boston series. Are they saying that in all that time NOT playing the Canucks were incapable of building another 5-10lbs on them. Because if they are, then I suggest they contact Andy Murray's trainers. It is ridiculous.

Edited by Bodee, 28 February 2013 - 06:48 AM.

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#4 Jester13

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 06:51 AM

Re-create a new and improved Amex line of Higgins-Schroeder-Booth. Watch Booth flourish with someone making plays to him.
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#5 Bodee

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:10 AM

Re-create a new and improved Amex line of Higgins-Schroeder-Booth. Watch Booth flourish with someone making plays to him.


Booth needs to learn to pass earlier and stop grinding his way up the boards. He just wastes energy and 75% of the time loses the puck. His skating without the puck is what needs to improve. Pass it early and get into space.

Edited by Bodee, 28 February 2013 - 07:10 AM.

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#6 debluvscanucks

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:33 AM

Why has Tanev and Raymond turned up for two seasons now at the same fragile weight that they were in the Boston series. Are they saying that in all that time NOT playing the Canucks were incapable of building another 5-10lbs on them. Because if they are, then I suggest they contact Andy Murray's trainers. It is ridiculous.


After the Boston series Tanev actually spent time working on strength and conditioning and put on 10 lbs. :)

I agree, very well written article but the only thing I disagree with is the "dancing around" the goaltender issue. I think people are too quick to expect an easy deal and that hasn't been the case...you only get one shot at it, so it has to be right. I doubt MG is the type to "dance around" anything, as he's always been rather direct and works hard behind the scenes.
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#7 Bodee

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:50 AM

After the Boston series Tanev actually spent time working on strength and conditioning and put on 10 lbs. :)

I agree, very well written article but the only thing I disagree with is the "dancing around" the goaltender issue. I think people are too quick to expect an easy deal and that hasn't been the case...you only get one shot at it, so it has to be right. I doubt MG is the type to "dance around" anything, as he's always been rather direct and works hard behind the scenes.


So was he 175lbs and managed to get up to the same weight as Raymond?
What was he gaining last summer? I mean presumably they put another 10 lbs on him last summer so his stats should read 195 lbs (Wiki says 191 lbs)

And where was Raymond when all this weight gaining was going on, I know he was off with his back but surely he could have put 5-10lbs on in the extended layoff last year.

Deb it's a fact I really like the play of both of these players but they need to get themselves bulked up a bit (in Tanev's case you would have me say a bit more.....ok)
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#8 CB007

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

Outside Lucic and Horton, Boston actually has a relatively small top 9. There are lots of smallish forwards in the league who are among the top of the scoring race. But it is the defence I worry about. Collectively they are not the most rugged group in the league, but they are mobile (I think that's why we have been very competitive against the Hawks). I have been advocating getting a Regehr like defenseman.

Ottawa has far worse injuries than we do. I think we would be fine.
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#9 CanKnucklehead89

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

This is a well written article and it points out some flaws in the team but I also feel like it's a very 'doom and gloom' reaction to a couple of bad games. A few games ago when the Canucks were on their winning streak this article never would have been written, it doesn't mean that there aren't valid concerns there, but I don't think things are as dire as this article makes them seem. The last two games were anomalies, not the norm for this group and the Detroit game was partially the result of brutal reffing (but the team needs to be able to kill a penalty or two). Before Bieksa got hurt I feel like the defense was starting to settle in and find some chemistry but now it's all been shaken up again.

I do think that the team needs a change of some sort and I think it should be behind the bench. I like AV and think he's a good coach but the team doesn't seem to respond to him anymore, we need somebody who can light a fire under some of our players, the Sedins coolness and calmness is great but sometimes you need a coach to ignite some passion in the players. I think the players are too comfortable with the coach, know exactly where they stand and aren't motivated by him. The Sedins seem to be the only voices in the room that make a difference but what happens when they aren't on or their energy is low? We need a fresh voice that can spark the team...but things are not so bad overall, we have a great team that is not playing up to their potential, on top of that we have assets to move (or at least one) to improve the team.

As for the goalie situation, I don't believe it's an issue in the room but I think that a decision needs to be made. I see the advantage of having both goalies through the playoffs but we need to put our trust fully behind one of them and let them run with it, either goalie is going to struggle from time to time but both will work through it.
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#10 Raiun

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

There's no question that this team has some struggles ahead.

We absolutely need to figure out what the lines are going to be, I don't think any other team in the league struggles to put consistent lines on the ice, unless there are injuries. Do we have a second line anymore? If we do, then we surely don't have a third line. Even our First line isn't consistent this season, it's had a few wingers revolve through with the Sedins, to varying success. We need to get something nailed down and stop flipping guys around, let them settle into a groove! Lineup changes due to injuries are of course an exception, what I am disliking is how often our lines change in the middle of a game. Even a game we're playing well in, AV will swap up some wingers. Gotta stop that.

Our defense needs a bit of a shakeup in my opinion.. Not really sure how to fix it, but I think we're in trouble if we have at least one guy guaranteed playing on his off side. They've shown that they really struggle on their backhand, it's not working. Also those pairings seem to be changing around a lot too. Need to settle that down and let the guys find a partner to play with eventually.
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#11 5minutesinthebox

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

So was he 175lbs and managed to get up to the same weight as Raymond?
What was he gaining last summer? I mean presumably they put another 10 lbs on him last summer so his stats should read 195 lbs (Wiki says 191 lbs)

And where was Raymond when all this weight gaining was going on, I know he was off with his back but surely he could have put 5-10lbs on in the extended layoff last year.

Deb it's a fact I really like the play of both of these players but they need to get themselves bulked up a bit (in Tanev's case you would have me say a bit more.....ok)


So far neither Tanevs nor Raymond wright has been a detriment to either player. If Raymond puts on 10 pounds he loses mobility and it does nothing to help his game as he would still not be a physical player or imposing in any way. Tanev is still a kid, and in case you have ever actually put on 10 lbs of muscle without adding any fat, it is extremely difficult to do.
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#12 Losing With Pride

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

So far neither Tanevs nor Raymond wright has been a detriment to either player. If Raymond puts on 10 pounds he loses mobility and it does nothing to help his game as he would still not be a physical player or imposing in any way. Tanev is still a kid, and in case you have ever actually put on 10 lbs of muscle without adding any fat, it is extremely difficult to do.


You're lucky to put on one pound of lean muscle per month.
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#13 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:32 AM

Sami Salo is out, actually. Chortling?
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#14 Bodee

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:32 AM

So far neither Tanevs nor Raymond wright has been a detriment to either player. If Raymond puts on 10 pounds he loses mobility and it does nothing to help his game as he would still not be a physical player or imposing in any way. Tanev is still a kid, and in case you have ever actually put on 10 lbs of muscle without adding any fat, it is extremely difficult to do.


Andy Murray.............I rest my case.
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#15 TOMapleLaughs

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

'We want to win! Here's some Mickey Mouse methodology on how to do it!'
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#16 Canorcas

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

Good article, well written and in simple terms, lays it all out. We are paying for 2 years of MG swanning about and doing absolutely nothing much.
How did he EVER THINK that Garrison was an upgrade on the ageing, battle scarred, quiet but venomously effective Salo?

Why has Tanev and Raymond turned up for two seasons now at the same fragile weight that they were in the Boston series. Are they saying that in all that time NOT playing the Canucks were incapable of building another 5-10lbs on them. Because if they are, then I suggest they contact Andy Murray's trainers. It is ridiculous.

I'd be less concerned about Tanev's weight if he learned how to protect himself from a hit. It's a good mentality to "take the hit to make the play" but older, more experienced players know how to roll off checks and absorb it into the walls. It's only a matter of time until Tanev's durability breaks down too.

After the Boston series Tanev actually spent time working on strength and conditioning and put on 10 lbs. :)

I agree, very well written article but the only thing I disagree with is the "dancing around" the goaltender issue. I think people are too quick to expect an easy deal and that hasn't been the case...you only get one shot at it, so it has to be right. I doubt MG is the type to "dance around" anything, as he's always been rather direct and works hard behind the scenes.

Thank you for the compliment. But to address what I was saying, I only mean to say that while Gillis suggested he was comfortable carrying Lou and Cory into the start of the season, I think this current scenario was far from Plan A. The situation has not developed into something the organization wanted but are forced to deal with-- simply to say, it's being stuck with a long-term mortgage on a house for sale after you've just recently purchased a shiny new condo.

This is a well written article and it points out some flaws in the team but I also feel like it's a very 'doom and gloom' reaction to a couple of bad games. A few games ago when the Canucks were on their winning streak this article never would have been written, it doesn't mean that there aren't valid concerns there, but I don't think things are as dire as this article makes them seem. The last two games were anomalies, not the norm for this group and the Detroit game was partially the result of brutal reffing (but the team needs to be able to kill a penalty or two). Before Bieksa got hurt I feel like the defense was starting to settle in and find some chemistry but now it's all been shaken up again.

I do think that the team needs a change of some sort and I think it should be behind the bench. I like AV and think he's a good coach but the team doesn't seem to respond to him anymore, we need somebody who can light a fire under some of our players, the Sedins coolness and calmness is great but sometimes you need a coach to ignite some passion in the players. I think the players are too comfortable with the coach, know exactly where they stand and aren't motivated by him. The Sedins seem to be the only voices in the room that make a difference but what happens when they aren't on or their energy is low? We need a fresh voice that can spark the team...but things are not so bad overall, we have a great team that is not playing up to their potential, on top of that we have assets to move (or at least one) to improve the team.

As for the goalie situation, I don't believe it's an issue in the room but I think that a decision needs to be made. I see the advantage of having both goalies through the playoffs but we need to put our trust fully behind one of them and let them run with it, either goalie is going to struggle from time to time but both will work through it.

I would agree this article doesn't shine a positive light on the Cauncks' current outlook but you have to bring a fair, objective view when writing this kind of thing. To be completely honest, the team has not played like the club that tore through the west the past couple of seasons. There has been a lot of things to be concerned about regarding their play and lack of energy lately and in a condensed season, it can bite you in the rear real quick.

Sami Salo is out, actually. Chortling?

I understand Sami is out but have you even seen his numbers this season? He's been absolutely dynamite in Tampa and his immediately gelled in with their defensive corps-- even teaching Victor Hedman a thing or two. Last off-season, Sami made it explicitly clear that he wanted to play, felt healthy and strong enough to play and wanted a long-term contract unlike the Canucks were offering. Clearly, Sami knew better than Vancouver's head office did, regarding his abilities.
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