Mar 112014
 

titanic-canucks

Do you have your life vests on, Canucks fans? If not, grab a door floating in the choppy waters and hope for the best! Because the Canucks are sinking.

We’ve known this for a while now, haven’t we? With every trade GM Mike Gillis made in recent years the return seemed to be less and less, at least it seemed to me anyway. It was like, when the Canucks ship started leaking, Gillis started trading giant buckets for teacups. David Booth? Well that didn’t quite go as planned. Keith Ballard? He didn’t get to reach hipcheck greatness because that’s hard to do from the press box. Zack Kassian? Those flashes of potential haven’t sparked into what we were told they would. And then away went our “number one goalie” Cory Schneider. And then away went our old… I mean new number one goalie. And now the sweetest Swedish kid in the league with a smile brighter than the sun is drowning, locked in the third class cabin as the Titanic that is the 2013/2014 Vancouver Canucks goes down.

So let’s first talk about Lack. What angered me the most last night about the Canucks’ third period meltdown is the way a few fans hung the whole thing on the newly-appointed, unexpected starter. And when the attacks were coming from the same people who continuously defended every single goal Roberto Luongo ever let in… well, it’s a miracle I didn’t punch my Twitter timeline in the face. You know why you should have apathy for Lack even more so than you did for Luongo? Because Lack is a rookie. Lack didn’t have a so-called outstanding record on another NHL team before he landed the #1 spot. Lack also isn’t making MILLIONS of dollars. Luongo was making $6.71 million a year. Lack makes $850,000. Also Lu came into Vancouver as the starter. Lack was supposed to be in the clearly defined back-up role this year. Schneider was declared the number one guy last year. Lu was supposed to be traded. Then Gillis traded Schneider and re-crowned Lu, and we all thought we know what was what. Even I accepted what I considered the biggest mistake this franchise had made, and jumped on the Luuuuu bus. Then Gillis gave Luongo to Florida. This isn’t supposed to happen to Eddie Lack yet. So with all due respect, Luongo-mourners, STFU and blame the right person for this mess – Mike Gillis. Not Eddie Lack.

As for John Tortorella, I think we all agree he’s a failed experiment. But I doubt there’s a single thing we can do about it until the season – and playoffs – are lost. Then, just like Rose did to Jack, we can unhinge Torts’ fingers from the reminants of the Canucks and watch him drift to the bottom of the ocean… or into a commentator position for NBC.

Let’s get some things straight, fellow Canucks fans, since we’re going to be treading water with each other for a while – and fighting for space in lifeboats – can you please stop whining that “real fans” don’t “attack” their team. Because, well, it’s not true. The Montreal Canadiens have arguably the most passionate and dedicated fan base in the league and yet, they boo their players on a regular basis. They don’t have to be in a long-term slide, they will boo the Habs after one bad game in a solid season. When things got really rough in the late ‘90s, they stopped buying tickets. Yes, the great Habs, an Original Six franchise, winners of 24 Stanley Cups, had low tickets sales. Canadiens fans expect nothing less than the best.

If fans truly do make a difference in the motivation and playing ability of a team (I don’t think we do, but some of you think it) then complaining and getting angry at your team isn’t a bad thing. In my opinion, if you keep dumping money on them for expensive tickets and merchandise when they drop 7 goals in 1 period, you’re part of the problem.  Why would the Aquilinis change anything if they’re still making giant bank? They won’t. The biggest reason an owner wants to win a Stanley Cup is because it increases sales. So then it makes sense that an owner would feel more pressure to make huge, sweeping changes if the see their revenues decreasing.

And please keep in mind there is a difference between expressing your discontent and giving up all together. I will still watch the Canucks on TV, when I can, without making it the priority it used to be. I will still hope for a miracle. I still want them to win. Most of the angry and vocal fans feel the same way. But we know better than to follow them blindly and sink with the ship. This is not something that can be fixed with hugs, people. The Canucks need an overhaul, not lifeboats.

  • yoata

    Agreed, on all counts, Gillis is the laughing stock of the NHL and has been since he publicly offered Sundin $10M per (that would have at the time gutted the core that Gillis inherited and who went on to be so successful – no thanks to him). He has done little to improve that core in the time he’s been here and in fact has damaged the team significantly with his awful trades and signings, and if ownership doesn’t get rid of him soon he will finish the job and leave the Canucks with years of futility ahead.

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  • Justine Galo

    So Lack doesn’t have to try to make any saves and is allowed to make McSofties (2 of them that help lead to the loss) along with phantom calls by the refs and desperation moves by Bieksa. No he doesn’t deserve to ‘hung out to dry’ but he does deserve some criticism. This is the NHL, not adult safety league hockey. He’s 27, but Fleury was a lot younger when he took to the net and took a lot of heat, because like the Canucks, Penguins had no one else. It’s only been a week removed, but Gillis and Torts take the main blame. The guys scored 4 last night, Lack should have only allowed 2.

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    For me personally, it’s no so much that Lack should escape criticism – he should be criticized for at least 2 of those goals – but moreso that he’s been put in a position he doesn’t seem ready for. Dangerous way they’re handling the kid. If he is the future, they better not wreck his confidence.

  • Victoria

    I never said Lack deserves no criticism, Justine. He just doesn’t deserve ALL of it. No goalie is blameless (although a great many – a lot of whom are blaming Lack for everything – like to think Luongo was blameless for every goal he ever let in) Fleury may have been younger but he had a much stronger team in front of him.

  • Victoria

    Amen Yoata! Well said!

  • Tawnya C

    What I want to understand is why is the guys getting killed on the ice the coach, owners, GM’s etc.. fault? Are they not professional hockey players? Have they not played hockey for umteen years? Do they not know how to play hockey? Are they grown men? Yes to all of these questions! So why the heck is it anyone else fault but the players themselves?? They need to suck it up and play like they did when they wanted to get drafted!!! Seriously!!!

  • M_Babyface

    Exactly. I’ve been saying the same thing on the FB Canucks site. Tort, Gillis and management don’t lace up or hold the hockey stick. The professional players do. The players have 1 job. That is to score, get ahead and stay ahead for 60 minutes. PERIOD. If the players are not playing to their pay grade emotionally and physically, then they need to “hit the bricks.” And true fans need to start pointing fingers in the right direction. This whole #firemikegillis is getting really old.

  • Victoria

    You both have valid points. And I think it is the players responsibility too. So do we trade the Sedins? Kesler? Lack? See the thing is, if the players aren’t producing we have to find ones that do. That’s where it’s the GM’s responsibility. And Gillis has done a horrible job getting something worthwhile in trades. Also, if the coach is leading the players, which he is, and dictating plays and “style” (like blocking shots) then he is also responsible. They follow what he tells them. But yes, the players need to produce no matter what and they aren’t which is why I’m ok with them trading all of them if they have to.

  • Orland K

    All goes back to the game in LA top of the new year. Their last real shot at playing Torts hockey — gritty, battling, playoff-type game, which ended absurdly with Brown landing on Luo and scoring. After that, the team said screw this to Torts, starting the next night in Ana. The have turned on him, there is no other way to interpret this awfulness. They want him gone. The problem is, the rumour is that Torts is Aqua’s guy, and so does this mean Gillis out and 3 more years of shot-blocking zero-offense terribleness? What burns me most about the latest bout of exploring the definition of rock bottom is that we’re very likely going to ruin Lack. There is no tragicomedy in the history of the NHL like the Vancouver Canucks.

  • Justine Galo

    Fleury came in before the Crosby/Malkin era. When the Pens were still in last place to attain aforementioned players. So hardly right to say the Pens had a much stronger team in front of him to come into the situation. Drafted in 2003 MAF. 2004 Malkin 2005 Crosby. Hardly fair to say that Fleury was thrown in a much better situation. That’s just down right incorrect information. If anything, Lack had a better situation going in, if not for the injuries, the mismanagement etc. etc. etc. Fleury was 18 or 19, Lack is 27. Never said once it was all criticism and all his fault, but he isn’t blameless in this situation.

  • Justine Galo

    lol landing on Lu. Putting it mildly there, he pretty much bowled him down, but yes that was “Moral Victory” night.

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