Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Canucks 2 Blue Jackets 3

Don't look now, but after a 10-game stretch of .500 hockey (5-5-0), the Vancouver Canucks only have a slim, four-point hold on a playoff spot. Last night, they started sloooooow, took some stupid penalties (five of them in the first 11 minutes of the first period) and spotted the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-0 lead. Yeah, I rushed home from work just in time to see that.


After the game, Roberto Luongo stood up and took the blame for the loss (Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province):
"I'm not going to throw my teammates under the bus," Luongo said. "I've got to do a better job myself and try to make an extra save in the game and maybe we make it to overtime.

"I just have to work through it in practice and make sure I get back to what I was doing in December."
Props to Louie for saying that, but the fact is, his teammates were plain awful and shouldn't be absolved of any responsibility. Except for Alex Burrows' unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the rest were the result of being lazy or being beat. Lukas Krajicek and Markus Naslund, especially, took a couple of lazy penalties each after giving up the puck in their zone. What is disconcerting is the fact that, like early in the season, the Canucks aren't winning puck battles and getting very easy to play against.

I only mentioned it in passing a couple of days ago, but I think the injuries are catching up to the team. That it's taken two months before the long-term losses of Morrison, Ohlund, and Bieksa have started to make an impact is admirable. (Luongo, Krajicek, and Salo all missed time in that span too.) For that, credit should be given to the team - and the farm - for stepping up. Alex Edler has been a godsend and his play is being recognized leaguewide (Ben Kuzma, Vancouver Province; Iain MacIntyre, Vancouver Sun). Jason Jaffray and Mason Raymond both chipped in as well before their effectiveness started wearing off.

Now that both have been sent back down to the Moose, however, the next group of callups (Nathan McIver, Rick Rypien and I'll include Kris Beech as well), save for Beech's goal last night, have yet to make a significant impact. It's not a small thing. McIver hasn't been able to play more than ten minutes a game which means that Mitchell, Salo and Edler are playing 25+ minutes. Rypien hasn't even played ten shifts a game in the two games he's played.

Here's hoping for a turnaround before facing what should be a pissed off Wings team tomorrow.

About the game around the blogosphere:

More from the MSM:

Next game:

Tomorrow night in Detroit.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 5:52 AM


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