2021 for the Vancouver Canucks has been a roller coaster of emotions to date, and on Saturday it took another turn for the worse, losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs in embarrassing fashion, once again.
Prior to the game and coming off another thrashing on the East coast a game earlier, Canucks fans across Twitter and all other social outlets were crying and screaming for change, change that would see team owner Francesco Acquillini let go of his long-running GM, Jim Benning.
— NHL (@NHL) February 7, 2021
What we are seeing on the ice isn’t just a term in a bad state of mind that is dropping close games consecutively, it is a team that has completely lost touch of themselves, and is evidently not providing 100 percent maximum effort on the ice.
Whether it is the fact that the teams front office took a step back in the offseason, letting go of top-notch players that would’ve helped this current group push for another deep run, or if the Canadian ‘North’ division is just too skilled and fast for them to compete, whatever it is, it is quickly turning this season into a complete and utter disaster.
Nothing is more telling than the reaction of their newly signed goalie Braden Holtby, who was visually infuriated by the effort of the players in front of him after Auston Matthews coasted by for his 2nd goal of the game and fourth in this two-game set against Toronto.
At this point, even the most positive Canucks minds on social media are calling for change, for what seemed like a great culture and locker room heading into this year has now completely flipped around to truly feel like a lost cause.
It's one thing to lose games. It's an entirely different thing to get blown out and embarrassed almost every night. This is unacceptable
— Harman Dayal (@harmandayal2) February 7, 2021
Panic has fully set in for the fans. JT Miller has been caught on multiple occasions on this road trip giving little to no effort on back checks, even after being the player to make a half-hearted pass and cause a turnover.
Out of everything that is happening with his organization especially over the past week, nothing feels more disappointing than to see what has happened to MIller. A player who made himself part of the team’s DNA last season when people scrutinized the deal to bring him in. Miller was touted as the Canucks best all-around player and a great leader for the young players, yet it feels he is jumping ship before anyone else has had the chance.
Not only has the team showed an incompetent mindset in the defensive end, but they aren’t early as effective offensively against any other team not named the Ottawa Senators. Players that are not in top-line roles have no way of producing for the Canucks and haven’t really found ways to make the presence’ felt at all, especially over the last four games out East.
If it only couldn’t be worse, Elias Pettersson hits what feels like 45 posts or crossbars per game. He has had a league-leading 7 shots ring off the iron since the season started and it always seems to come at the most opportune times, with the opposing team scoring right after.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 7, 2021
Just one week removed from a really impressive team win in Winnipeg, it is crazy to see where the team is when pinned up against the best of their division, and quite frankly it is scary. If every game against Montreal and Toronto is going to be a blowout loss, what is the use for Canucks fans to continue tuning in every night to support
For a team that handily beat the Senators three games in a row, the Canucks are struggling to generate any sort of offensive zone time. The Senators are currently in a three-game series with Montreal and actually beat them 3-2, followed by a 2-1 close game loss on Saturday morning.
The results across the Canadian division go to show that all of this shouldn’t be such an overreaction right now, as teams like the Oilers and Senators have beaten the likes of Montreal and Toronto, who have done terrible things to Vancouver.
Yet, it feels like Vancouver is in a different race than all those teams. It feels as if Vancouver is in a race with themselves and trying not to lose the game on a nightly basis rather than trying to attack and win it.
People a highly anticipating some news to come out of the Canucks camp soon, whether that is the firing of GM Benning or Coach Travis Green. Nobody is sure of what the owner is thinking and if he wants to buck up to have more than 1 coach/GM under contract during these unsure times.
One thing is for certain, is that this team needs a shake-up immediately. Last night, all of Jake Virtanen, Olli Juolevi, Adam Gaudette, and Zack Macewen were healthy scratched and sitting in the press box to allow older players such as Loui Erikkson and Justin Bailey to be put into the lineup.
Healthy Scratches tonight….
Virtanen – 2.55 cap hit
Gaudette – 950k cap hit
MacEwen – 825k cap hit
Total = 4.325
Tyler Toffoli – 4.25 cap hit
— Taj (@taj1944) February 6, 2021
This is a message from the head coach to say he doesn’t have an effect on what kind of talent is being put on the ice, he just has to play with it. This is correct, Travis Grene should not have to face the consequences of the team’s poor asset management, that is not his job.
It will be a long and highly anticipated few days here in Vancouver and we will see what happens, for now, just enjoy the Super Bowl, friends.
Evan Power, Evolution 107.9