Sunday, October 17, 2010

California Power Outage - Canucks Drop Two

The short road trip to California should have got the Canucks back to playing a hard working "get the puck at the net" style, instead the Canucks limped back to Vancouver taking their anemic offense with them.

Anaheim 4 - Vancouver 3

On Wednesday night the Canucks failed to capitalize on their opportunities and let the Ducks hang around when they should have been dead and buried. Sure the officiating was very questionable, but that wasn't the reason Vancouver lost. The Canucks simply failed to score. The Ducks were absolutely terrible in their own end, the number of turnovers was unbelievable. It's going to be a long year in Anaheim.

Los Angeles 4 - Vancouver 1

Friday night the story was a little different. First Vancouver was actually playing a competent team, so the fact that they lost wasn't as troubling as in Anaheim. However, this time it wasn't a matter of not putting a team away, instead the Canucks failed to get themselves into the game. Two periods and no goals. When they finally got one (by the Sedins of course) LA answered quickly when Anze Kopitar skated around Bieksa like he wasn't there and then setup Dustin Brown for the back breaking goal.

Where's the Secondary Scoring?
The only Canuck forwards with goals are Daniel and Torres. That's no goals out of the 2nd line. The goals are going to come eventually, but this is getting ridiculous. Kesler and Raymond have 37 shots between them, but neither has found the back of the net. Jannik Hansen has played well, but hasn't shown any indication that he's going to add some offensive touch to his game.
Kesler with the Sedins on Power Play
The experiment of having Kesler on the number one PP unit with the Sedins doesn't seem to be working, but that's not because of the number one unit. They've actually been pretty good, scoring twice in Anaheim. The problem's with the second unit. Without Kesler at centre they're just not effective. The difference between Kesler with the twins vs someone else isn't going to be that much - whoever's out there will get some goals. However, the difference between Kesler and someone else on the 2nd unit is significant. The current power play configuration just doesn't make sense.
Ballard and Bolduc Out
The Canucks got some bad news late last week as it was learned that Alex Bolduc is out with the feared high ankle sprain. Bolduc is expected to miss 6-8 weeks which leaves a significant hole on the 4th line. For now Rick Rypien is going to be given a chance to show that he can play centre at the NHL level. Rypien's first focus will be winning defensive zone draws, which he has been successful at in limited action so far. However the Canucks need more than that, they need a 4th line which can play in the offensive zone by generating a forecheck. That's hard to do without a competent centre - as Ryan Johnson demonstrated during the past few years - we'll see if Rypien can get it done.
On Friday the Canucks also lost Keith Ballard to a concussion. Ballard had played in 250 straight games - welcome to Vancouver's blueline Keith. The Canucks will follow the NHL's concussion guidelines so Ballard likely won't play for a couple weeks. That means Aaron Rome will slot in alongside Alberts.
Peter Who?
Peter Schaefer had a great pre-season and won a job on the third line mainly because he plays a solid two way game and can kill penalties. Four games in and Schaefer is a minus 2 with no points and only 5 shots on goal. He's going to have to have more of an impact if he wants to keep his job in the NHL.
Raffi Torres - The Tale of Two Players
On Wednesday, Raffi Torres was great. Before getting a cheap instigator penalty Torres was the best Canuck in Anaheim. He was hitting, causing turnovers and was a general menace on the ice. On Friday... well he was barely noticeable. Is this the Raffi Torres we should get used to?

Canucks VS Canes Tonight

The Canucks will be mixing up their lines when they take on the jet lagged Hurricanes tonight in Vancouver (Note the 6:00 PM start time).

Mason Raymond is moving up to play with the Sedins - Jeff Tambellini will take his place on the 2nd line with Kesler and Hansen - Samuelsson drops down to the third with Malhotra and Torres - Schaefer moves down to the 4th with Rypien and Glass.

Follow @TheCanuckFan for tonight's live Twitter Blog


It looks like Cory Schneider will get his first start of the season tonight (thanks to @reidder and @sportsnetmurph). Wow a home start for the backup goalie.