Shooting From the Hip With @AY604: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
Although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting @AY604 in person yet, we have a connection that extends beyond Twitter. It turns out that one of Adrian’s good friends played hockey with my cousin Dusty in Japan back in the day. And thanks to the generosity of both his friend and my cousin, Adrian is the proud owner of some bright red Vaughn goalie pads. They look pretty darn sweet.
In his words:
Adrian (@AY604) was born on a tiny island in the South Pacific known for its high end, square shaped bottled water or what the locals call ‘tap’. Immigrating to Vancouver and eventually settling in Burnaby at the tender age of 4, Adrian spent his formative years as the only Asian kid in his neighbourhood crying daily over his $5 Chinatown bowl cut. In his spare time, Adrian is a trophy husband and father. His main goal in life is to teach his daughters that a bathroom is not a photo booth. His other interests include gossip, yelling at bad drivers, judging people and Schadenfreude. He sounds like a terrible person. Adrian began supporting the Canucks in 1982 after a chance meeting with Thomas Gradin. That’s 31 years of punches to the gut yet he still bleeds black, yellow, orange, blue, green and sometimes salmon red.
1. Are you concerned by the Canucks’ poor start to this shortened season?
I wouldn’t say this is a poor start. It’s not ideal but fortunately the Canucks play in a Division that’s weaker than vending machine coffee. The other four teams in the Northwest aren’t terrible per se but I don’t believe they have the goaltending to win this division. In less than two weeks this team should be 6-3-2 and we can go back to planning the parade. For a team with two key players out with injuries and whose best players haven’t played meaningful hockey for 9 months, a .500 start is to be expected. What concerns me the most is their inability to finish out games and protect a lead. When you’re up 2-0, the mentality should be to bury your opponent not to park the bus.
2. Do you think Alain Vigneault’s job is in jeopardy?
If AV’s job is to be witty and self-deprecating during interviews then he should be fine. However, if his job is to find a way to get The Kassassin on the ice in OT or figure out why the power play is staler than riot jokes then I think his gum chewing days could be over.
As former Canuck’s coach Harry Neale once said, “Coaching is about keeping the half of the team that hates you away from the half that’s undecided.” I don’t think the players hate AV but I do think they’ve tuned him out to some extent. All coaches have a best before date and I fear that his is approaching BC Place processed cheese status.
I think he needs a long playoff run to save his job but with that said, the Canucks only last 5 games last year and he was given a contract extension. So what do I know.
3. What do the Canucks need to do to get back to their winning ways?
Everybody knows the Canucks are notoriously slow starters. They just don’t look sharp right now. The Sedins’ cycle looks like it’s missing a gear, Higgins is skating with cement skates and the top four defensemen have been less than stellar. Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa look like Div. 6 beer leaguers and I’m one turnover away from calling Alex Edler, “The Baker”. So it’s going to take time for them to all start clicking but unfortunately time is not a luxury in a 48 game season.
I do think that any turnaround starts with figuring out why their special teams are so poor right now. Pundits will say that it’s still early and both the PK and PP are close to last season’s averages which were top 10 in the NHL. To which I say, facts and rational opinions have no place in discussions about the Canucks. My eyes say the PP and PK look terrible and my eyes don’t lie except for that one time in Grade 9 when I thought I could pull off French rolled jeans.
The PP has become too predictable, cycling on the perimeter, passing it around the horn until they find the perfect shot for their defensemen. Teams know what’s coming and seem to shut it down with an aggressive box (that’s what she said). The Canucks need to start getting bodies and pucks to the net. It’s time to stop looking for the pretty goals and get all Zdeno Chara in there, ugly! It may be an overly simplistic solution but sometimes you have to K.I.S.S.!
4. Will Roberto Luongo get traded? If so, what’s fair value coming back?
Honestly, I’m of the mind that the Canucks should keep Lu this year. Having a 1 and 1A in a shorten season could prove to be an Ace up their sleeve. No one knows how Schneider will perform in the playoffs after being a Number 1 and all the pressure and work load that goes with it. Having a Luongo safety net if Schneider ever gets anxious about a Barker/Alberts pairing may pay dividends down the stretch.
If Lu is traded, the Canucks need to get back at the very least goal scoring help for the 2nd line and a proven backup now that Eddie Lack is out for six months. I’m sure both of those things are a dime a dozen.
5. Who is your favourite Canuck? Least favourite?
I’ve played the position for 30 years, so my favourite Canucks have all been goalies. So currently, I’m a fanboy for Lu and Schneider and before that Kirk McLean. Hell, I even paid actual dollars for a Dan ‘I make grown men cry in their sleep” Cloutier jersey.
Least favourite Canuck? David Booth with a bullet.
6. Aside from Vancouver, what is your favourite NHL team and why?
In reality I’m a Canucks fan not a National Hockey League fan. In fact I would say I’m way more of Whitecaps and Major League Soccer fan than the NHL. But if I had to follow another team it would be the Montreal Canadiens, an original 6 team with tonnes of history, tradition and one of the best jerseys in all of sports. Also, the crowd shots, zut alors!