Canucks all agree something’s missing
MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. — A rough loss against the Chicago Blackhawks couldn’t do it.
Neither could a blowout at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.
Maybe it will be the overtime loss to the surging doormats, the Columbus Blue Jackets, which helps kick start a Canucks season that’s been, at best, meandering.
Either that, or it could be the 160 pushups.
Winners of just three of 11 games, the Canucks have been missing something. You could say it’s centres and a power play, and you’d be right.
But Cory Schneider called it urgency. And Henrik Sedin said it was desperation.
Whatever it is, it inspired one of the Canucks’ first closed-door meetings of the season Saturday.
“We need to get a little bit more desperate,” Henrik said. “We can’t just go about our business and think not getting wins is good enough just because we’re playing well.
“We need that little extra.
“That’s what you saw in our games against L.A. and San Jose where we pushed ourselves a few more per cent. That’s the difference sometimes in getting two points or losing in overtime.”
Maybe you can’t measure desperation, but Henrik said the fact the Canucks have had more than two power plays in just one of their past seven games reflects a lack of it.
“When you’re playing desperate hockey, that’s usually when you get a few more power plays,” Henrik said. “For sure that’s one thing, when you have to battle a little harder to get to the net so they have to haul you down.
“That’s something we have to start doing.”
A Canucks season never officially starts until the first players-only meeting. Sometimes they go nowhere, and another needs to be called in a few weeks.
Other times they seem to have some impact, like in the 2010-11 season. The Canucks were tortured 7-1 on Nov. 20, 2010 by the Hawks. What followed was a players-only meeting, some moments of self-reflection and the coming together of 23 men, give or take, making it a memorable, if convenient, turning point.
“I don’t think we’re desperate yet, but we need that desperation,” Schneider said. “I think urgency is the better word. We have to realize that ‘Hey, tomorrow is the halfway point of the season and usually the second half is the playoff push.’
“It’s one thing to be in games, but I think we need to have that urgency and that instinct to either separate ourselves during the game or to put teams away instead of hanging around and being in a game.
“I think we need to be dominant in games at some point.”
Dominant is one thing the Canucks have not been, other than three games, which were wins over Minnesota, Calgary and a beatdown of the Anaheim Ducks. But there hasn’t been a game like that in a month.
While the players are handling the current swoon with meetings, the coaching staff chose a more direct, draconian approach.
“Punishment,” Henrik Sedin said.
That’s what the Canucks got served at practice Saturday when head coach Alain Vigneault rolled out his power play practice. The units, which didn’t have personnel changes, had a drill where the power play had to get shots on net and retrieve the puck three straight times.
If they did it, they were good. If not, they had to do pushups.
“There were 160 pushups; yeah, it was tough,” said Henrik, who counted every single one.
Schneider said: “They’re either going to be really strong (Sunday), or really tired.”
Vigneault has either been patient with his alignment or stubborn. He’s continued to have Jordan Schroeder on the point for his first power-play unit, while Jason Garrison, who had nine power-play goals last year, is on the second unit.
When will his patience run out?
“That’s a good question,” Vigneault said. “I’m going to be patient enough to start (Sunday’s game) way.
“How long that’s going to last, I don’t quite know.”
Thought it was an interesting article in lieu of all the CDC reaction so far and how people perceive things. AV showing a little more tough love with the power play drill (doing push-ups if they didn't retrieve puck after it was shot on net).
I thought this reaction from both the players and coaches is one that could describe as "better late than never". It seems that they concluded there was a lack of desperation/urgency, that hunger for the win, isn't that what people here have been saying? I think things will gradually trend up, but it'll be a process.