Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Coach Killing Canucks?

During last week’s seven hour tribute to bafflegab, TSN brought a panel hosted by Dave Hodge to the broadcast, Hodge and his fellow Sunday regulars on the “The Reporters” held court during the infrequent trade announcements and wild speculation leading to that final hour energetic sweater changing.

During one of the early sessions, Steve Simmons a regular with the Canoe chain offered up the opinion that the Vancouver Canucks were a team divided up into cliques, one a group of two consisting of Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, the other all the other Canucks. The only thing all had in common, a no longer disguised hatred of their head coach Marc Crawford.

At the time no one gave it much thought, most likely they considered it just one of those throwaway quips one uses when there is really not much to talk about.

But, considering the won loss record of the last four games (0-4) by a team supposedly fighting for its playoff life, there may be some merit in Simmons comments.

There is something terribly wrong in the land of the Canucks, each night after each game Marc Crawford offer up the same observations that his team needs to play more intense, take less penalties and learn from their mistakes. Then the next game comes along, and all the same old problems cough themselves up again.

Monday night in Dallas was a prime example of that. The Canucks battled back to tie up the Mike Modano led Stars, only to retreat into the pattern of badly timed penalties and expensive give aways. Making those mistakes to a talented and hard working team such as the Stars is only asking for trouble and by the end of play the Canucks were on the wrong end of the 4-2 score.

More importantly they have allowed the Ducks, Oilers and Sharks plus any other Western team coming up the thought to now consider seventh place as a possibility. Granted the West is a rather tight conference at the moment and with a few wins a row you go from almost out of the playoffs to leading a division, but at the moment the Canucks are showing no such danger of putting a few wins in a row together. In fact if this pace continues they could very well find themselves out of the playoffs, an unthought of situation at the start of the season.

There’s no real way to know for sure (unless he wants to play us some tapes) if Simmons is correct in his analysis of the state of the Canuck’s lineup and its relationship with their coach. But in the absence of any results on the ice, one has to wonder if Crawford has indeed lost the confidence of his players.

They’re certainly not showing that their paying much attention to him at the moment that’s for sure; listen in to the press conference after tonight’s game in Nashville. Should the Canucks go to 0-5, you’ll be hearing the same old mistakes outlined since it seems like December.

If you listen carefully you will also hear the sound of the Crow’s gotta go chorus warming up back in Vancouver, the media beast is already suggesting he’s a Dead Man Walking. If his team keeps playing the way they have of late, they’ll be the ones pulling the switch.

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