Canucks start slow with new system

BARRY MACDONALD -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

Heading into last night's preseason game in Edmonton, the Vancouver Canucks were not exactly evoking memories of dynasties gone by.

They had scored nine goals in their first five games, and weren't exactly offering up a compelling example of synergy.

This wasn't lost on the astute morning gang at the Team 1040, as they asked listeners to state their level of concern regarding the Canucks' struggles. Two out of every three respondents admitted they were troubled by the locals' play through five games.

Some clarification may be required here. The NHL does not count preseason results as part of the regular season standings. This is not a recent development. When you hear someone mention the season opener is in Detroit Oct. 5, take it at face value.

A victory that night would result in two points, and render any talk of an 0-and-82 season senseless. Stay with me here - THE GAMES THAT MATTER START OCT. 5.

Which is not to say there isn't work to be done, but let's not forget the daunting task facing new head coach Alain Vigneault. He has a system to implement, and while hockey may be a universal language, every coach has his way of putting a stamp on a team. The stamping process does not happen overnight.

The players, who have been programmed by several different coaches at several different levels, will take time to assimilate into the system Vigneault embraces. That is reality.

It will take time, that is a given. TSN's Pierre McGuire says at least 15 games. That is almost a fifth of the season, a time when precious points could be frittered away as the team tries to forge its identity and learn the system.

This is the time when Roberto Luongo may be his most valuable, covering the backsides of teammates who are still learning where they should be and when they should be there.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and the 2006-07 edition of the Vancouver Canucks won't be either.

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Barry Macdonald is co-host of BS in the Morning on the Team 1040 from 6-9 a.m.


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