The Canucks lost far more than just a game on Sunday afternoon.
They lost the drama-free crease that’s been the lone bright spot in this season. They lost ground in the wild card race, giving up a game-in-hand to the Dallas Stars, who are tied with them at 66 points but have played three fewer games. They lost any shot at people looking on the Millionaires’ jerseys with fondness, after their second straight lackluster performance in the retro duds. And they lost the last ounce of optimism to which this fanbase was clutching, both because of all the aforementioned losses, and because of the one I haven’t mentioned yet.
The club also lost Daniel Sedin to a leg injury.
The winger injured his left leg during the second period of the Heritage Classic, and after staying down quite a bit, hobbled to the bench, and then the locker room. He did not return.
According to one report, it will be another three weeks before he does, thanks to a hamstring injury. We’ll know for sure after the MRI Sedin is planning to undergo.
It’s tough to know what to do at this point other than sigh deeply. We could make jokes, I guess, since that’s sort of what we do here. For instance, you could say, the Canucks are going to miss Daniel’s scoring, and then be like, except he hasn’t scored since the 30th of December, and then snidely remark, so perhaps they won’t. But that’s less funny than it is depressing, and even moreso when you point out that, despite this horrid slump, Daniel remains the Canucks’ leading scorer with 40 points.
But there’s more to be depressed about.
Needing a forward, the Canucks reached down to Utica and grabbed Darren Archibald, who’s had a few nice showings this season as a bottom-six guy. Granted, you’d have thought they’d snatch, say, Nicklas Jensen, who’s been on a tear for the Comets, especially since the Canucks are in dire need of scoring, and even moreso with Daniel out. But apparently not.
Here’s the only way this makes any sense: the Canucks know it’s over for them this season. They’re actively shopping Ryan Kesler, and perhaps Alex Edler too. They’re about to get worse in the short-term for long-term gain.
That in mind, if wins are no longer the top priority, why disrupt what Jensen is doing in the AHL just to fill a roster spot here? What if he arrives, gets lost in the bright lights, or worse, catches the goal-eating disease Alex Burrows is suffering from, and loses the game he finally seems to have found? Then you’re back to square one with him.
Better to let him continue to season in the AHL, and bring up Darren Archibald, who looks on the cusp of being an NHL-calibre grinder. Maybe this call-up is the one where he gets over the hump?
This is my optimistic reading of this decision. My concern is that the Canucks actually think Archibald can help them get into the playoffs more than Jensen can. Considering the other questionable decisions this front-office has been making lately, I wouldn’t put it past them.