March 28, 2008
What the hell's wrong here?
By BARRY MACDONALD -- Sun Media
So, what the hell happens now?
What on earth can we possibly expect from this Vancouver Canucks group tonight?
If you have the answer, Alain Vigneault would like to hear from you. Quickly. Like now. Because I'm not convinced the man who had the midas touch last year knows what buttons to push right now.
On Tuesday in Calgary, the Canucks started well enough. They took a 2-0 first period lead against a team that had played, and lost, the night before in Denver.
You know the rest of the story. Vancouver imploded over the final 40 minutes, getting outshot and outhit by laughable margins, and getting outscored 3-0.
In a game of such importance, it was an alarming result.
More alarming; Wednesday night in Colorado. Teams with character, teams with spine tend to bounce back from bad performances. Especially with so much at stake. The 2006-07 version of the team did.
This week, this team, did not. And that to me, is really, really disturbing. It makes me wonder about the leadership, or lack thereof. And it makes me wonder if the message from the man behind the bench is getting through to the guys sitting on it.
Something is amiss, and I'm not convinced a "one and out" playoff round will make a difference.
Yes, the bean counters would love a couple of home playoff dates, but it doesn't mask the dynamic issues that have surfaced over the course of this season. There is something missing from a leadership standpoint. And in hockey, that is death.
There is something to salvage here, starting tonight in Minnesota, and continuing through the final four home games next week. Play your collective asses off and make the playoffs. There is a sense of accomplishment that goes with that; something 14 other teams in a 30 team league won't be able to boast.
But major surgery is pending, and the players know it. And maybe that is part of the problem here. They know a dismantling is imminent; that many of them will have a change of address over the summer. That can't be good for team chemistry.
But the last time I checked, these guys are still getting paid to represent the Canuck organization, and this city. A little professionalism, a little commitment should be expected on the way out the door.
Barry Macdonald is co-host of BS in the Morning on the Team 1040 from 6-9 a.m.