How many of you Canucks fans have taken down your car flags, sold your jerseys on EBay or maybe bought a Mike Richards jersey? I bet quite a few. Just walking around downtown this afternoon I heard constant whines and moans and “expert” opinions. One hockey genius outside the Blue Water Cafe opined…”If Schneider was in net for the 1st two games we probably would have won.” Are you F#$%king serious? So Schneider would have scored on the power play, created traffic in front of Quick and made a friggin’ breakout pass out of the defensive zone? Seriously, if you are in the same line of thinking as this douche bag…suck it…hard. For the real Canucks fans out there this blog post is for you. I hope you feel pumped and inspired after reading this as I am writing this. Let’s do this.
Like most of Canucks nation I was pissed, disappointed, frustrated, you name the negative emotion and I felt it. In a pit of rage I posted on Facebook threads standing up for Lu and trying to inspire those who have jumped the wagon to stay on a little longer. I realize it was just too soon to try and convince people, the wound was too fresh. After a good sleep and some sunshine I am refreshed and ready to inspire. I said before the series this was going to be a tough series for the Canucks and I felt it was a series that was destined to go the distance. My feelings have not changed one bit. I still believe the Canucks will take this series the distance and win. I will keep believing this outcome until I see the handshakes take place. So you may be saying to yourself is this just blind faith? Just a delusional fan spewing verbal diarrhea? Hell no, just listen to me.
What’s Not Broke
1) The Goaltending: The Canucks have the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Luongo has stood on his head the 1st two games, making big save after big save to keep his team in it. Those two first games could have easily been blow outs if it wasn’t for Lu. If Vigneault decides to play the Schneider card early… as in the next game, I’ll be disappointed as a Lu supporter, but I won’t be scared. Schneider is #1a and will provide solid goaltending just like Lu did. Whoever is in net will keep us in the game at all times.
2) The Physicality: I like what I saw from Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Max LaPierre and David Booth. Those 4 were throwing huge hits all over the ice. The Canucks outhit the Kings last game by a large margin (45-32). If the boys keep up this physical play it will wear down an underwhelming LA d-corps and lead to more turnovers.
3) Henrik Sedin, Jannik Hansen, the entire 3rd line: Yes, Henrik is without his brother, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been trying or looking dangerous on the ice. He has shown leadership on the ice as well as the cameras have captured him on numerous occasions speaking to his teammates and urging them to play better. Jannik Hansen has been the Canucks best player thus far. He has been hitting, skating and creating chances every time he’s on the ice. The rest of his 3rd line teammates have also been doing there jobs, keeping the game simple and taking care of their defensive responsibilities.
What Needs Some Work
1) The power play: the failures of the Canucks power play have been the difference in this series so far. One of the biggest problems has been the entry into the Kings zone. The Kings have taken away the Canucks’ favourite neutral zone drop pass play and without it the Canucks look indecisive. The dump and chase method does not look like a good option as Quick has been very good at stopping and handling the dump in chances. The other big problem with the power play is the lack of net presence. The Canucks thus far have made Quick’s life easy with the majority of the shots coming from a distance with no traffic in front. When the Canucks power play was near the top of the league it was because they had a net presence and had the big shots in Salo and Edler bombing from the point through the traffic in front.
2) The breakout pass: the Canucks D is one of the better passing defence corps in the league. In the first 2 games there have been uncharacteristic give aways and poor passes through the neutral zone. The poor passing has caused the forwards to not enter the Kings zone with speed to stretch out the old legs of the likes of Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi.
3) Mason Raymond: I’ve said it several times…he needs to sit…PERIOD. The constant falling down is not helping at all.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that the Canucks are not that far off from putting it all together. The fixes are not huge. A better first pass out of the defensive zone, traffic in front of the net. Really when you sit and think about it with just those 2 fixes alone we should see the Canucks start to tilt the ice in their favour again. I tend to agree with Puck Daddy – Greg Wyshynski where he prefers the Canucks chances of a series comeback over the Penguins 0-2 situation (click here for article).
Being down 2-0 and going on the road is awful. However, it’s not the end of the world by any means. One only needs to go back one season and look at the Stanley Cup winning Bruins. They came back from an 0-2 deficit twice last playoffs including against the Canucks in the finals.