2006-07 Canuck Analysis 1-15

Before the season started, there were so many questions about this team.  Where will the goals come from, are the Canucks a defensive team only, will they trap, is it going to be boring hockey, will Cooke play on the first line.

Most of those questions have been answered.  But unfortunately, more have also been raised.

Questions Answered

Will Matt Cooke finally get his chance to play on the first line? Yes, but it was an unsuccessful attempt and Cooke has yet to make any sort of impact from a scoring perspective at all this season.

Does a defense first team mean boring hockey?  The clear answer is no.  This team has been anything but boring other that perhaps a few periods here and there.  The Canucks are consistently outworking and out shooting their opponents.

Will the Canucks play the trap?  I’ve seen variations of it at points, most notably against the Wild earlier in the season.  But by and large, they aren’t.  Again, they wouldn’t be averaging over 30 shots a game if they were.

Is Luongo really that good and how will he do on a team that allows less shots than Florida?  Yes, it seems that he really is that good.  Especially that quick glove hand he has.  Admittedly, he’s struggling a bit because of the lack of work at times, but as a true competitor, you should expect to see him battle this… and win.

Alain Vigneault, will he really hold all the players accountable?  It appears he will.  Fortunately for him, the leaders of the team, Naslund, Ohlund, Henrik, & Daniel are not only their best players, but beating the drum Vigneault has set out for them.  It’s pretty amazing to watch the effort Naslund has so far into backchecking every game.

New Questions

With Vigneault’s focus on holding players accountable, why is it that they continue to take so many ill timed penalties.  Every game, some player is taking an offensive zone penalty and placing the team in a position where the opposition can get back into it after dictating the play for the majority of the game. 

Where will the goals come from?  Okay, this is not a new question, but it’s still not entirely answered.  Pyatt seems to have solidified himself a position on the top line with the Sedins.  But after that, it’s still all up in the air.

Cooke couldn’t make it happen with his limited opportunity.  Bulis can be dynamic, but disappears for all but a few shifts every night.  Kelser, Burrows, Linden, Chouinard, Santala, and Green have accounted for a collective 3 goals. 

To explain how dire a situation that is, consider this.  Morrison himself has 3 goals and 4 assists as the teams number 2 center.  That puts him on pace for 38 points, his worst year since joining the Canucks in 2000 when he had 3 with the Devils and Canucks. 

But that’s not the only thing dogging the Canucks.  The lack of defensive depth is rearing it’s ugly head.  I stated before the season that Bourdon was a lock to make the team because they’d need help and wouldn’t want to be in the same position as last year with him in the QMJHL and no ability to pull him up when injuries hit.

The Good Stuff

Bieksa and Krajicek have been excellent as they get their first real opportunity to play quality minutes in the NHL.  They may not be total surprises, but were definitely not earmarked to be top 4 defenseman this year.  And that’s exactly where their playing with Mitchell & Salo out.

The Sedin’s are now taking the lead on this team.  As noted last week, expect one of these guys to usurp Naslund as the team points leader this year.  Consider this the official passing of the torch.

Luongo is as good as advertised.  Then again, even if he wasn’t, Bertuzzi isn’t playing and Cloutier is officially the worst starting goaltender in the league right now.

Vigneault is holding his team accountable, and the team is playing aggressive and exciting hockey. 

The Verdict

The Canucks have enough to make the playoffs this year.  They are bound to get some bounces go their way which will make up for a few they lost due to bad bounces.

But this team does not have what it takes to make any run in the playoffs.  You have to be able to score some goals if you want to be any sort of threat.  This team does not inspire fear in any of their competition.

You know that every night that they’ll outwork the other team, but it just isn’t enough to win their share of games. 

What the team really needs is some scoring ability and a bit more depth on defense.  While I think that most teams would say they want this, it’s getting close to becoming a dire situation in Vancouver.   

The Chief Canuck

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One Comment on “2006-07 Canuck Analysis 1-15”

  1. Matt Says:

    Good post


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