To say it has been a rough start to the season for the Vancouver Canucks is putting it lightly. Feathers in Space kind of light. For a team that is a little over six months removed from their most successful playoff run in recent memory, this is a disaster you can’t look away from.
After eliminating the defending champs, St Louis Blues and taking the Vegas Golden Knights to seven games, the team and fan base were rolling high. Both knew they were in for a difficult off season but the optimism to build off of the playoff run was there. The team had been through a full rebuild and seemed to finally be on track. There were some inevitable hiccups to come that were expected, but nothing to the level that we are witnessing this season.
As to how the Canucks reached this point, sitting second to last in the all-Canadian division, is a story that requires more than just one article to properly decipher. For Habs fans to make it very simple think early Bergevin years. More specifically when the team, much like the Canucks, aggressively put all their chips in their young core.
Remember how that poetically went to sh*t in 2015? Of course this is ignoring the Carey Price injury but this is an over-simplification to make a point. The Canucks are going through the same thing except they have significantly more talent with much higher expectations from their fans.
The off season saw the team turn into an outbound turnstile with a few significant pieces leaving in Free Agency. This proved to be the tip of the iceberg. The team currently sits second to last in the division with close a third of their season completed. Something needed to give for the Canucks.
Owner Francesco Aquilini got the ball rolling when he posted a thread on Twitter defending the team, players and management, giving all a vote of confidence.
As the media and fans alike were talking about Aquilini, the players started arriving. Not in the typical two or three piece suits that we are accustomed to, but in work boots. Work boots and lunch pails (optional and metaphorical) for everyone. Hockey players love their pre-game routines and rituals, but sometimes you need to get out of your own head.
Quick side bar; best dressed by far has to go to my man crush Brock Boeser.
The end result? A dominating win from start to finish. The Canucks put up double digit shots in every period, coming out of the gate with 20 in the first alone. This was more shot than the Flames had all game (19 shots total), translating to 3-1 win. More importantly all three goals came at even strength, an area in which the team has struggled all season.
You can’t help but get the feeling that this is more of a bandaid than a real fix. The team has a lot more problems to fix than just moral in the locker room. However, at a time where the fan base desperately needed a win, the team gave them one.
The Canucks remain three points back with four extra games played. A tough hill to climb for anyone, but the Canucks do not suffer from a lack of skill. Their young core has the talent to turn things around, but have they reached a stage of maturity that would allow them to put it all together?