Canucks and Beyond

Home is Where the Hell Is

01/16/2009 at 5:16pm EST


January hasn’t been pretty for the Vancouver Canucks and I don’t have much to add to the dialogue of panic that’s been going on. My own kneejerk reaction was—and still is—to look hard at coach Alain Vigneault, but obviously the current slump is about more than any one man.

Looking around the whole team, I’d say it’s a perfect storm of crap.

In lieu of adding to the fray of voices on this subject, I thought instead to cite some random quotes, from blogs, players, coaches and media. Maybe somewhere in their words, the answer lies beneath.

“Goalie Roberto Luongo, the only Canuck good enough to make a difference on his own, returned to the National Hockey League team Thursday for the first time in nearly two months and discovered it was April 2008 instead of January 2009.

“That’s when the Canucks last looked this sloppy, this panicky, this awful. This hopeless.”

Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun (moments before the managing editor of the paper wrestled the bottle of sleeping pills from his hand)

“You never want to lose your spot, but we have been struggling getting wins and he has to shake things up and I guess I am the odd man out. I had a feeling it was coming because they have a philosophy here of trying to find the right formula to get wins. He gave me the first crack with Mats and gave me a shot with the twins and he didn’t like what he saw. Now he has to try somebody else.”

Kyle Wellwood might be the most easy-going guy alive. And maybe that’s what coach Alain Vigneault doesn’t like about him.

“Alain Vigneault is probably done in Vancouver. The players are playing like they have tuned him out. I would expect his firing sooner rather than later. It’s over, right? Regardless of the 3 bad goals let in by Luongo, I’d say the players have tuned AV out. If a firing has not been announced by Friday lunch time I would be surprised.”

—Sean Zandberg, Waiting for Stanley. (and waiting and waiting and waiting…)

“Sometimes over-trying is as bad as not trying enough.”

Alain Vigneault. “Over-trying”? I’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

“Well, for the second time in a week, the Canucks should have received a significant boost from the addition of a star player to their lineup. On Jan. 7, it was Mats Sundin. Last night it was Roberto Luongo. And the result? In a word, omigod.

Ed Willes of The Province, at a loss for words and channeling the text-message-speak of teenaged girls. (LOL <33 !!!)

“It is embarrassing. The frustration level is high. We’re playing at home and we’re losing every game. We’re not doing anything good. We’re not having any fun.”

Daniel Sedin in The Province, sounding honestly dejected. (Wasn’t Ryan Walter supposed to help with self-esteem coaching, or something?)

“There’s a time to be diplomatic and a time for action. Management already got to be diplomatic this past summer when Vigneault’s neck was last on the line. We all did; newspapers, blogs, radio shows and countless sideline coaches and hockey moms all got to play the pros/cons game of keeping him around after the team tanked in the final weeks of last March.

“A mere five months after he got a pass from Gillis (almost as long as it took Sundin to figure out he wanted to come back and sit in the penalty box as a Canuck) lady luck has shown brightly again: we’re tanking in January instead of March. Maybe that’s a good thing because there is still time and lots that needs to change…”

The Yankee Canuck lays out the facts as he sees them.

Myself, I can’t quite decide how dire all this is yet. Certainly, it’s not as life-and-death a situation as the heart-attack-victims on the Canucks boards like to dramatize. Like the Yankee says, there’s plenty of time to right this ship and Vancouver is still in a playoff position with plenty of prospects to shape up. They had some great stretches before Christmas, they can have them again.

The question I have is What changed? What happened—roughly over the Christmas holidays—that unhinged everything? And don’t try to tell me it was the acquisition of Mats Sundin.

No. Somehow this team came unglued when we weren’t looking and the result has been a slow-moving slaughter. Now the team needs to figure out what caused this cancer to spread and kill it as soon as possible.

Good luck, Mike Gillis.
*schedule copy adapted from Yahoo! Sports

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