Well I sure picked a good time to miss watching my first game of the year. Yes I was fortunate enough not to be watching the HNIC debacle on Saturday night. Instead, I watched it off the PVR (without knowing the score) on Sunday before the Phoenix game... well I watched part of it anyway. You can only stomach so much of that. Does it get any worse than being completely embarrassed by your arch rival on Hockey Night in Canada?
Usually a blowout loss in the regular season doesn't really mean a whole lot. They piss you off, but they happen every now and then - no big deal. However, losing to the Blackhawks like that really raises some red flags with this club. Clearly the Hawks are "in the heads" of the Canucks, Roberto Luongo in particular looks like an AHL goalie vs Chicago. At this point Mike Gillis has to be a little concerned. The December 3rd game in Chicago is going to be a real measuring stick for the Canucks. Anyway, enough about that game...
- After the road trip last week I asked "What's going to happen when the power play cools off a little?" Well the Canucks couldn't even generate a power play on Sunday and as a result they only scored twice. Five on five play needs to be better
- Peter Schaeffer's time as a Canuck (and likely time as an NHLer) is over. Out of camp Schaeffer won a job because of his versatility, specifically his ability to kill penalties. Unfortunately Schaeffer didn't have any kind of impact. He couldn't find a way to earn more ice time and he was easily replaceable on the penalty kill.
- Jeff Tambellini will be taking Schaeffer's place and will be playing with Kesler and Raymond on what should be a very quick line. Don't be surprised to see him reunited with the Sedins should the Canucks struggle offensively.
- The bottom six will also have a different look as Samuelsson will drop down to the third line, bumping Hansen down to the 4th line. The 4th line is a lot better without Rick Rypien and I'm interested to see what they can do with Hansen's speed on the line. Tanner Glass is a guy that can contribute, but he needs players around him that can retrieve and move the puck. If he's with bad players he's going to be a bad player. Put him with some guys that can play (Hansen) and he can contribute.
- The Canucks desperately need Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard healthy and playing up to their capabilities. Andrew Alberts and Aaron Rome are serviceable guys, but neither should be playing much more than 13 minutes a night.
The Canucks begin the second quarter of their season tonight versus the division leading Avalanche (yes Colorado has taken over the division lead). Tomorrow I will post player report card ratings for the first quarter of the season...