Ask Katie about the Canucks: How can the best get better?
[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and gives her take on the Canucks in her own cantankerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@KMaximick)]
After a Charlie Sheen WINNING road trip for the Canucks (5-0), Canucks Nation is busy photo shopping Ryan Kesler into their Facebook and Twitter avatars and inventing hashtags like #WeareallCreepyKesler. Why? Because the fans are bored and don’t really have much to complain about on this dreary Monday morning. The Canucks are doing so well, in fact, that the usually deep pool of questions I get each week has dried up to, well… this:
Ed (@edlau) asks: Why does Donald Duck wear a shirt but not pants? And why can Goofy talk but Pluto can’t when they’re both clearly dogs?
Bruce (@transcendwebs): … and .. what the hell IS Goofy anyways?
What kind of Mickey-Mouse operation do we have going here?
Aside from the skulduggery happening to me online in my innocent plight to get some questions, a few real ones did pop up thanks to some loyal fans on Twitter.
Kevin (@Kev_MacD) asks: Playoffs are not like the regular season. What do we need to adjust for the coming playoff season?
Katie: Good question, Kevin. Also, thanks for not bringing up any random Disney characters. If I heard one more question about Donald Duck’s speech impediment I was going to throw my laptop out the window and call it a night.
As mentioned above, there’s not much to complain about at the moment (aside from Christian Ehrhoff if we’re to follow last night’s Twitter feed). The Canucks are top in the league not only in points, but in most other categories as well. But the team’s not perfect, and yes, the playoffs are very different. Size matters. If the Canucks play a big team like Boston there could be a problem as it doesn’t take much to shut down the Sedins with a couple big guys. Team toughness might have to increase a bit, even though that’s not how Vigneault wants his team to play, but what other choice would they have? Being knocked around like a victim between the brothers in Night at the Roxbury? No thanks. Maybe the Lapierre we all love to hate will have to show his true colours in the playoffs to stir the pot (so long as he doesn’t take any unnecessary penalties).
Another minor thing I’d personally like to see change before the playoffs: more shooting, less fancy passes on the PP. Canucks are ninth in the NHL for shots in a game at 31.9 and personally I think this should be higher. Top 5 teams for shots? SJS, DET, BUF, BOS and MTL; most are big teams the Canucks could struggle with. If we can’t magically make our players grow another four inches and fifty pounds, then I’d like to see shots increase to raise our odds a little better. There’s no reason why the team should be NINTH, not with this roster.
To repeat the yelling heard at any Vancouver pub during a Canucks’ power play: “SHOOT THE PUCK!!”
Herve (@1stLineCenter) asks: When will Kevin Bieksa be back?
Katie: Not sure anymore. Fans thought Bieksa would be joining the Canucks on this last road trip until Dan Murphy announced he wasn’t leaving Vancouver at all. Originally it was projected he’d be back mid-March, but with this latest decision not to send Bieksa on the road, it has me wondering if he’s still not ready. Perhaps this means he’ll be back closer to Andrew Alberts’ estimated return date in another week or so.
Andrew (andz205) asks: How patient will the Canucks be with Roberto Luongo come playoffs? How many bad games are we looking at before AV puts in Cory Schneider?
Katie: I think they’ll be pretty patient and give him the benefit of the doubt (unless we magically play Chicago then all bets are off). His save percentage in last year’s playoffs was a homely .895, but as I recall, the defence in front of him wasn’t playing very well either. It’s a team sport, and Luongo’s carried the load for years. For once I’d just like the rest of the team to play great at the same time, rather than one area lacking while the other two are doing well (which always seems the case in the playoffs).
BUT, I don’t think it’s a matter of bad games in a row; more like bad goals. If Luongo lets in three bad goals in one period he should be pulled then can start the next game, unless he pulls a Martin Brodeur circa Feb. 2010 — only then should Schneider take over a series. AV doesn’t have the best judgment when it comes to pulling goalies, and if Luongo’s clearly struggling in a very important game (say, a game 7) Vigneault better drop The Punisher attitude and put Schneider in. Why? Because Luongo deserves to sit, Schneider deserves to play, and the damn team deserves an honest shot at the Cup. Forget your pride, AV – because if you don’t, and this team doesn’t go past the second round again, you can kiss your job goodbye.
And, call me crazy, but I think Canucks fans have been waiting long enough for a Stanley Cup.