Canucks…sigh…again I ask what’s wrong…

At least once a season the Canucks go thru a period that makes me question my fan-ness. Not to sound like a talentless Vancouver Province sports writer who’s only trying to generate controversy, but man they sucked last night. For the last couple weeks actually. Listless, bored hockey, with few players stepping up to the level they should. Play like this makes me wonder if the Canucks can even make the playoffs, let alone win the big prize. It makes me wonder if all the anti-nucks are right, and we are a one trick pony. I don’t want to believe that, but the past few games have planted that seed in my mind. Last night’s game made it sprout. You can’t play just the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes and expect to win, dammit!

A few things are wrong. First and most obvious, John Garrett said it best last night “The Canucks HAVE TO find a way to get production out of Naslund, and soon.” If your superstar is just barely average, you’re in trouble as a team. When I look more forward to seeing Burrows/Cooke/Kessler hit the ice than Naslund’s line, there’s a problem. And I’m a huge fan of Naslund. But something’s wrong with him, and has been for 3 seasons. Is it time to let him go when he becomes a UFA at the end of the season??? I’d hate to see the face of the ‘nucks be traded, but dammit we need some scoring! All season there have been momentary flashes of his former brilliance surrounded by a morass of mediocrity. What’s up Marcus? Come back…we miss you! Second…(and I’m sounding like a broken record here, cuz every post I’ve ever made about the team has included this) put the damn puck in the net! How many games have we lost where we outshot the opponent by a healthy margin? What’s up with that? Message to the shooters: the logo on the goalie’s sweater shouldn’t be your target; you’re trying to get it past him, not to him. And thirdly, our power play is tanking, which seems to be about par for the course with the Nonis era Canucks. Or maybe it’s the Vigneualt era Canucks. I think Alain Vigneault is a great coach and a billion times more likeable than Crawford, but the power play’s been inconsistently bad for 2 years now.

All in all, hockey is supposed to be entertainment. The team can’t go on being entertaining for 20 minutes a game (a recurring theme this season) and continue it’s streak of home sell outs. Not to mention the fact that Vancouver doesn’t have a Stanley Cup, and could probably use one before the Olympics… (and before Trevor Linden retires). The team is in an extremely tight race for playoff positions, and can’t afford to take too many more days off. With the injuries we’ve had to deal with this year, everyone needs to step it up, not just Alex Edler. Heck even without all the injuries, in our conference and division everyone should be giving 120% every night anyways. It’s why they get paid so much! When the only guys earning their pay every shift of every night are the lowest paid guys, I have to wonder what’s going on! Yes, I’m a bit frustrated today after watching that game.

To re-visit my opening sentence, at least once a season they make me question why I’m a fan, but also at least once a season they step it back up and make me remember why I’m a fan. This is what I look forward to…

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