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April 2006

April 13, 2006


Filed under: Hockey — Bob @ 9:35 pm

The Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the playoffs tonight in their 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks. They played the Sharks last night too, we went to that game, it was our last game of the season. We had 1/2 season tickets this year – 20 games – sometimes we saw good hockey and sometimes so-so hockey and occasionally hockey that stinks. Let’s not talk about the Red Wings game back in March.

There are many possible explanations for the problems this season. There were many injuries, especially to key players such as Dan Cloutier, Sami Salo, Matt Cooke and Ed Jovanovski. There were obviously – despite the claims to the contrary – problems between players. The Bertuzzi vs. Moore incident and its carry-over lawsuits, news coverage, etc. didn’t help at all.

My opinion: the players stopped listening to the coaching staff and management. It didn’t help that the Canucks’ best general manager got booted at the end of the 2003-2004 season. Brian Burke was a great influence on the team; Dave Nonis seems to be a bit of a loser by comparision.

Mark Crawford has been a great coach but he should have pushed to do more rebuilding of the team at the end of the last season. It was clear there were player issues even back then and its even more of an issue today.

Let’s hope these things will be addressed in the off-season. First up: get rid of Bertuzzi. Pay someone to take him if that is what is required. He can be a great player but most nights he is not a great player; typically he is slow, gives up the puck if the wind blows hard, and takes way too many lazy penalties. I expect Naslund to retire but if he doesn’t then consider trading him too. Not because he is a bad player but because he doesn’t play like he wants to win anymore.

Next, evaluate whether Dave Nonis is really the right General Manager for the club. Who knows, maybe he will work out, but now is the time to look around. Better look into getting more depth in goal too. I’d expect Cloutier to be back but Alex Auld probably won’t want to play second-fiddle to him.

I’m sure there will be people calling for Mark Crawford’s head on a platter. We should keep him, he has done a great job and is still a great coach. Probably management will need to put pressure on him but otherwise they should keep him. It’s the players who aren’t delivering, not the coaching staff.

Anyways, the Canucks are hosting the 2006 Entry Draft in June. Maybe they can pick up a few good players. You never know. Time to look forward to the 2007-2008 season.

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