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Off Ugly Night, Vancouver Canucks Prep for Huge Weekend



Vancouver Canucks, Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche score their seventh goal against the Vancouver Canucks.

What needs to happen for the Vancouver Canucks? They need to pull their heads our of their arses after the debacle that was the 7-1 loss in Denver, where for all intents and purposes some of them took the night off. They need to pull together their pride as individuals and as a group, ignore all the Vegas bells and whistles, and bear down on playing a focused and disciplined road game. It will be a test of their character, their chemistry, and their camaraderie.

Two of the more important other “C’s” are commitment and coaching, and in this case, with the team’s early season struggles, one’s commitment to coaching. Discipline to systems, if you’ve bought in, is every bit as important, if not more so, than the discipline of staying out of the penalty box.

OK, yes, I’ve seen the Vancouver Canucks penalty kill, so maybe those latter two are equally important.

Buck the Trend

Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Travis Green admitted after the game Thursday that the come-from-behind factor is indeed starting to take it’s toll. The Canucks have given up the first goal in twelve of fourteen games. It’s deflating, especially when you give up the second one.

“I did tonight, for the first time, I felt that way a little bit,” Green said.

It’s not just a grind, but it wears on confidence. Then the fear of giving up the next goal before finding the equalizer hangs over the team like the Sword of Damocles.

“Just Pretend He’s Injured”

The Canucks could use Travis Hamonic, but because of Covid protocols, he’s with Abbotsford of the AHL. I’ve spelled all of this out before, broken related news stories, built out hypothetical timetables, but it all really doesn’t matter. For now you just pretend he’s injured and you miss out on his 19-plus-minutes of ice time.

Once he’s completely back, he’s played four NHL games this season up until now, and feeling his oats, he’s a likely candidate to work the top pair with Quinn Hughes to his left. Is he the best the Canucks have to offer chemistry-wise and practically on the right side given the current depth chart. Yep. Tyler Myers is munching minutes at the moment but in a perfect world he’s elsewhere.

The problem is we have to sit and wait. Which Hamonic-is-fully-back timetable is the accurate one. Shhh, it’s top secret apparently. I mean, why share that information, unless he or the team have something to hide. Is it really going to hurt game prep knowing in advance which games he’s going to be available for and which games he’s not. Pro scouts from future opponents know what everyone is capable of and are generally aware of the differences depending on pairings and line combinations. Right now we just know Hamonic is playing home games.

“He’ll be double vaxxed and we’ll be following all of the protocols,” Green said on November 1st.

Great, when exactly?

The right side problem has multiplied. Defenceman Tucker Poolman will miss the rest of this roadie due to a two-game suspension after his dumb/careless high stick to the head of Kiefer Sherwood of Colorado in the third period. It seemed semi-intentional out of frustration. The Canucks have called up Madison Bowey from Abbotsford.

Golden Fright Knights

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and worry about Sunday at 5 pm Pacific when the Canucks seek revenge against the Ducks in Anaheim. The team can’t look ahead and worry about two games in under 24-hours. It’s all about Vegas.

It’s a team that many predicted would finish this season atop the Pacific Division but it jumped out to a slow start mainly because of Covid protocols and injuries. Key veteran forwards Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty remain on long term injured reserve, as does recently acquired Jack Eichel. He won’t be available until after neck surgery and after the Winter Olympic break. The Golden Knights gave up Alex Tuch and prospect Peyton Krebs in the deal.

Boo hoo. As is often said by coaches, “no one feels sorry for us” when we’re missing players. Never has it applied more than right now. The Canucks sleep-walked into Denver against a Nathan MacKinnon-less Avalanche team and got crushed. They shouldn’t expect Vegas-lite come Saturday because of the VKG wounded list. Come ready to play. That’s the thing to look for this weekend.

This is on the players.

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