It’s a stressful time right now. The Canucks have crashed harder than a college student after an all-nighter and a four-pack of Red Bull. They’re about to miss the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. Fans are calling for heads, but not while flipping coins: they’ve set up a guillotine outside Rogers Arena next to the Roger Neilson statue.
Making matters worse is that the Ex is in town and could deliver the killing blow. Alain Vigneault and his New York Rangers are in Vancouver for the first time since he was let go in the off-season and he holds the Canucks slim playoff hopes in his hands. A loss to the Rangers and three wins from the Phoenix Coyotes could see the Canucks officially eliminated by Friday.
But really, they’ve been spiritually eliminated for a lot longer than that.
Nearly everything that could go wrong this season has gone wrong. The power play, once the team’s biggest strength, has become it’s biggest weakness. They’re dumping in the puck so much on the power play that fans actually miss the Alex Edler drop pass. THEY WANT THE DROP PASS BACK.
The penalty kill, once first in the league, has fallen off badly: they’re now 10th in the league. Some of that can be pinned to the absence of penalty killing and shot blocking ace, Chris Tanev, who is out with a broken finger after missing time with a broken thumb earlier this year. When Tanev does return, it will be without fingers, which will severely affect his ability to make a clean first pass out of the zone, though his slap shot should be unaffected.
Alex Burrows has missed 33 games this season with various injuries and, when he was in the lineup, had one of the worst streaks of bad luck in modern NHL history, going goalless through 35 games despite 79 shots on goal. Even healthy (and trying to eat healthy too) he broke his tooth on a granola bar. Even when he tries to be healthy, he fails.
Highlighting the Canucks’ injury woes, Jason Garrison is the only Canuck to play in every single game this season. And he’s been the Canucks worst regular defenceman this season, with a team-low Corsi percentage among defencemen who have played at least 20 games.
Henrik Sedin, the iron man himself, managed to get injured, not once, but twice. Now that opponents know he’s human, they will no longer fear him.
Daniel Sedin has been a shadow of his former self, battling through his own injuries, and unable to summon his wizardous powers without his twin. He used to be out for blood; now he’s out of blood, which is the only explanation for how tired and weak he looks. Really, he should be lauded for playing at all. Blood’s pretty important.
Meanwhile, Alex Edler, whose career low in plus/minus is minus-5, is sitting at minus-32, nearly the worst in the league. It’s so bad that Edler now has a negative career plus/minus. He was plus-28 going into this season. I mean, plus/minus is basically useless as a stat, but it sure makes Edler look bad and up until now I never thought he could look bad. Seriously, that guy’s got great fashion sense.
The Canucks best line of late has been David Booth, a prime candidate for a compliance buyout, Brad Richardson, who is a fourth-line centre playing over his head, and Zack Kassian, who many Canucks fans would trade back to Buffalo for Cody Hodgson in a second.
One of the few bright spots has been the emergence of Nicklas Jensen, who immediately clicked in a top-six role. Then, he made some typical rookie mistakes and found himself on the fourth line. Now he’ll be terrible forever.
Speaking of rookies, Eddie Lack has struggled mightily since the Roberto Luongo trade, leading some to question whether he can handle the pressures of being a number one goalie. Despite his struggles, his backup, the newly acquired Jacob Markstrom, has yet to get a single start. What are they hiding from us? Has anyone seen Markstrom’s legs? Is he just a torso, propped up on the Canucks bench?
The Canucks breakout from their own zone? Painfully slow. The forecheck? Ineffective. They can’t generate scoring chances, they can’t score when they do, and they give up odd-man rushes like candy at a parade. EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE AND NOTHING CAN FIX IT.
Sometimes the fever pitch reaches a critical point. When that happens, we at PITB recommend that you take a step back, focus on your breathing, and enjoy a much-needed Moment of Pure Bulis.
Did you know? When David Booth meets a bear, he isn’t always packing a crossbow. Sometimes, he’s packing a kiss.
This love is difficult but it’s real. Don’t be afraid, we’ll make it out of this mess. It’s a love story pic.twitter.com/VHUcj05DAu
— David Booth (@D_Booth7) March 31, 2014
Tags: A Moment of Pure Bulis, david booth