Canucks and Beyond

Canucks Need Better Starts, and Other Useless Information

10/24/2008 at 3:09pm EDT

From TSN:

“The start of our games have to be better,” [Alain] Vigneault said after the team practised at GM Place Thursday. “We know it, we’ve talked about it. We’re going to continue to address it.”

And other breaking news you might need confirmation on: Global warming is apparently not science fiction, and Princess Diana is still dead.

So, moving on to more important issues…

Coach Alain Vigneault is on the hot seat now and he’s working hard to address the problems, I’m sure. But what can he really do? And is he primarily the one at fault here, or do fans just blame the NHL’s schedule kings, or perhaps the lack of another top-6 scoring forward, for a miserable opening road trip?

None of those, apparently—see, it’s the powerplay. From Brad Zeimer at the Vancouver Sun:

The Vancouver Canucks have themselves a serious power outage and unfortunately the solution isn’t as simple as calling in B.C. Hydro to do the repairs.

They have to fix this mess all by themselves.

With their power play clicking at an abysmal 9.1 per cent and ranked second-worst in the NHL, the Canucks spent most of Thursday’s practice trying to put the special back into their special teams.

Vancouver’s penalty-kill is also floundering and ranked 26th in the league, but coach Alain Vigneault seems far more concerned about his team’s struggles with the man advantage.

The Canucks have scored just three power-play goals on 33 attempts this season. Only the Anaheim Ducks have been worse.

Unlike Vigneault, the team’s penalty kill would worry me more. Not just that they can’t kill the penalties, but that they’re getting so many in the first place.

Last season proved the Canucks to be the 2nd most penalized team in the league, and in the end they missed the playoffs. Considering that the Stanley Cup winning Red Wings were the least penalized team, that’s not an insignificant issue.

The Canucks are currently 25th in the league for their goals-against, a 3.57 GAA. So, sure, an improved power play would certainly be a salve to ease the pain, but it’s hardly a cure… it’s more like a make-work project.

I’m thinking it might be easier for Vigneault to quit coaching “special teams” and start coaching “don’t take stupid fu#$ing penalties.”

In Other Canucks News…

The drop of the loonie in recent weeks spells concern for the NHL’s Canadian teams (a great chart from CBC that I posted yesterday might be worth a look) and team president Chris Zimmerman is ringing the warning bell of doom:

The free-fall in the Canadian dollar’s value could cost the Vancouver Canucks “several million dollars,” Canucks president Chris Zimmerman said Thursday.

The loonie’s spectacular plunge below the 80-cents-US mark this week clearly caught the business world by surprise so many hedging strategies - designed to protect against currency fluctuations - likely missed the mark.

I can appreciate Zimmerman’s concern, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

First, while the Canucks are worried about their loss of several million dollars (and I sympathize, I do) this loonie business cost me about $500 a couple weeks ago. And given the Canucks talent for printing money in recent years, I’m pretty sure that my $500 crap-in-the-bed is more painful to me than “several million” is to them. (Don’t argue; allow me my melodrama.)

Secondly (and, ummm, more importantly) the Canucks aren’t exactly sinking anytime soon. Witness this press release from on Thursday:

Canucks Sports & Entertainment is proud to announce their new multi-year partnership with Great Canadian Casinos that will include the renaming of the club section to “The River Rock Club” at General Motors Place.

“Canucks Sports & Entertainment is extremely excited about our new partnership with Great Canadian Casinos,” said Chris Zimmerman, President & CEO, Canucks Sports & Entertainment.

It’s a casino, for godsakes. Who wants to bet that this little deal might just make “several million dollars” come right back into the bank?

My $500, however, is still freakin’ AWOL.

And I bet that any minute now, someone is going to remind me that I owe it to them.

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