Monday, March 03, 2014

Canucks seem tone deaf to their many miscues

Sunday's Heritage Classic pretty well tells you as much as you need to know about the malaise of the Vancouver Canucks this year, a condition that seems to be a creation as much of management miscue, as it does from the struggles on the ice.

With the prospect of one of the signature events of the year for the Canucks, Vancouver squandered a chance to build on some positives, by naming Roberto Luongo as the starting goaltender for Sunday's postcard moment with the Senators.

Instead, coach John Tortorella went with Eddie Lack, a reward he said for his strong play of the last two games, which while a generous nod to the work ethic of Lack, was the wrong message for his team, the Canuck fans and even if you will the NHL and its outdoor (kind of sort of in the Vancouver edition) showcases.

Roberto Luongo was the more deserving for the opportunity to take to the ice at BC Place, he has been nothing but class through the last year and a half of soap opera hockey in Vancouver and from all appearances has been nothing but the team player.

Tortorella should have realized that by sitting him on door duty at the bench, he not only was disrespectful to the popular Luongo, he created controversy where none needed to be created.

Eddie Lack has but one year of NHL action under his belt, he has been a very capable understudy with Luongo, and clearly has a very bright future ahead in the NHL.

But to think that he is now at this time, the number one option for the Canucks in the nets, suggests that Tortorella and more likely GM Mike Gillis may be more interested in controlling the room (and the agenda for the media) than in making hockey moves that make some sense.

The dis-respect that Luongo received from his own coach, particularly after a disappointing Olympic tournament that saw him take on the role of observer, is something that should not have happened and seemed almost petty as it evolved.

In fact, as early as Friday,  Tortorella, Gillis and the Aquilini ownership should have welcomed their goaltender back to Vancouver, announcing his return to action as the signature point of their BC Place showcase.

Instead, as they seem inclined to do of late, they made yet another wrong decision, offering up another ugly slew foot to a guy that just wants to play hockey.

Even more disturbing for a team that clearly is operating on the ice with little in the way of confidence, through their ham handed ways, they subjected their young back up to the full force of an angry fan base. Suffering the roar of  the majority of the 50,000 plus in attendance who took their frustrations out (wrongly we might add) on the young Swede in the nets on Sunday.

That disaster of epic creation, is ALL ON MANAGEMENT...

Vancouver's ability to mine drama far too frequently, seems to be playing out in some rather bizarre sense of deja vu, with Ryan Kesler now the topic of trade deadline speculation and Luongo now immersed in yet another controversial moment.

Not to mention John Tortorella's now famous bout of bad prediction of Olympic winners ( pro tip lottery players! Don't have him make your Sports Action picks) and the blow back in Vancouver that came from it.

Proving for all, that if nothing else, over the last eighteen months, holding the title in creating controversy is one stats package that the Canucks can hold high.

Though we suspect no one will be telling them that it's a job well done.

It's interesting to note that on Sunday, when the cameras went in on the close up of Pat Quinn, the crowded erupted in applause.

A heartfelt salute to a hockey man, who had some common sense to the way he handled his teams, including the one celebrated for their achievement on Sunday afternoon.

Fortunately for Mr. Gillis and  for the owners, there was no video placement of their images on that giant screen at BC Place.

Then again perhaps that is really too bad, Eddie Lack probably would have welcomed having someone take the load off his back.

Once again, the Canuck's ownership and management failed their team even in that simple task.

Vancouver Sun-- Canucks coach John Tortorella's classic misplay an unpopular decision
Vancouver Sun-- Lack expected to start ahead of Luongo in Heritage Classic
Vancouver Province-- Why Luongo should have been in goal
Vancouver Province-- Heritage Classic Provies: Where everyone was pissed
Vancouver Province-- "Canucks Goalie Controversy II"; 6 reasons the sequel will be much worse
Vancouver Province-- Maybe this Canucks schlemozzle is a good thing; and, uh, can we trade for the Devils' Schneider?
 Toronto Sun-- Luongo 'pissed' he was benched for Canucks-Senators Heritage Classic
Toronto Star-- Luongo story a Fascinating, Shakespearean-like Drama that Never Runs Out of New Twists
CBC-- JohnTortorella wrong to sit Luongo
Yahoo-- Luongo sits, Lack starts Heritage Classic, because Canucks are addicted to controversy
NESN-- Roberto Luongo Not Happy He's Not Playing in Heritage Classic
Sportsnet-- Luongo making headlines riding pine

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