After 7 games last season, the Vancouver Canucks had 6 points (3-4-0). After the first 7 games this season, they have – yes you guessed it – 6 points (2-3-2).
|First 7 games||2009/2010||2010/2011|
The Canucks aren’t scoring as much but they’re not allowing as many goals against either. Given this, it’s probably not surprising that their powerplay isn’t as good but their penalty kill is better.
As much criticism as Luongo has received in the last couple of days, his save percentage after the Canucks’ first 7 games is slightly higher this season (6 GP, 1-3-2, 175 shots against, 0.903 save%) than it was at the same juncture last season (7 GP, 3-4-0, 161 shots against, 0.870 save%).
He’s doing this too with a defense missing 3 of its top-5 in the last couple of games, a depth issue the Canucks didn’t have to deal with last season until, IIRC, sometime in November.
A couple of days ago, GM Mike Gillis mentioned that he would review this team after 9 games – conveniently, just before the Canucks get a 6-day layoff. Alex Burrows should return shortly after that and the Kevin Bieksa rumor mill seems to be turning again. (Darren Dreger was quoted on TSN last night that, “As soon as the Canucks can move Bieksa, they will.”) Who knows what Rick Rypien’s status will be at that point – he’s been suspended for 6 games and will be eligible to return on November 6th against Detroit – and whether or not Jeff Tambellini or Peter Schaefer will still be with the team.
The Canucks may be in same position (points-wise) as they were at the same point last year, but the fans aren’t happy. Maybe it’s the elevated expectations this season or perhaps it’s their style of play. Certainly, the Canucks have looked great in some games and obviously not in others. The bottom line is, we expect more from this team, and if they truly want to be seen as contenders, then they need to play with more consistency, more effort and more finish.