Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Finger on the button

The latest loss by the Vancouver Canucks has many of the locals in a semi state of panic. With Monday night's 4-1 defeat to the bottom dwelling St. Louis Blues, the Canucks should be thankful they are on the road, the reaction to their recent efforts is bordering on hysteria in Canuck land.

Callers to the Dan Russell show on CKNW following the Canucks rather effort free game against the Blues, suggested many options for GM Dave Nonis to consider. The three most favoured suggestions were to get Roberto Luongo without delay, fire Marc Crawford and make a blockbuster trade to shake up the roster before the rot sets in.

Vancouver fans are dedicated to the art of the bandwagon and when things go wrong in Canuckland they are quick to make changes for the sake of the change. It was a common refrain heard by Brian Burke as he put together the current core group of Canucks during his reign, but this is the first time that Nonis has had to hear from chorus as things go wrong.

Injuries have taken their toll on this team this year so far, a starting goaltender gone for the season, defencemen in and out of the line up with alarming frequency giving the Canucks blue line a very Manitoba like feel of late.

The Big guns on offence have been terribly inconsistent all season, if Bertuzzi is having a good game then it seems that the Sedins will be taking the night off. If Markus Naslund has a successful night, you can pretty well guess that nobody else on the team has decided to put it into drive that night. It's hard to put a finger on what is wrong with this team right now and more importantly what its going to take to shake things up and get some more desired results.

The long January road trip is just underway and already it's shaping up as a trip that may bring the Canucks back home falling further and further behind the pack in the Northwest. With losses in Minnesota and St. Louis over the weekend and trips to Dallas and Chicago on the way. It could be a nasty reception waiting for them when they return home for the weekend and Hockey Day in Canada festivities with the Flames. With 11 road games in January, the Canucks had best find a way to win a few here and there, the trick will be to try and come home at least .500 by the end of the extended road trip and get back to their winning ways at GM Place.

Absence isn't making the heart grow fonder in Vancouver, the more they lose on the road the more the fans get nervous. The dominant team of the early season run has given way to a tentative squad, one that squanders chances and can't seem to find the right combinations to make things happen.

It's all making for a dark start to the New Year for the fans, a start that has many Canuck fans making resolutions for change sooner than later.

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