After a solid three-month hiatus, I am back writing a Vancouver Canucks Second-Half Year in Review.
As per always, The Canucks had a very shaky start to the season. No surprise there. What was a surprise was how hard they were hit with injuries, Which still has one of their top centres Brendan Morrison in the press-box. At different points in the season, Vancouver was without D Kevin Bieksa, D Sami Salo, D Willie Mitchell, D Mattias Ohlund, and have since lost D Lukas Krajicek to a season ending shoulder injury. Their only steady D-Man has been that of Rookie Alexander Edler, who has been terrific since he was called up earlier in the season, with a team leading +16 which is also second among Rookie Defenseman.
The Canucks last line of Defense, Goalie Roberto Luongo has stepped up his game posting 2-0-2, 1.92, .942 in his last four games played, His Wife was having complications with her pregnancy near the All-Star break which led to Roberto's absense, and after the All-Star break he still seemed to be bothered, and off his usually stellar performances, It didn't take long for Luongo to turn on the jets, and lead the Canucks to their season's first three-game win streak.
For the Canucks' Forwards, the Story of the Year has been Inconsistent Scoring, both primary and secondary, The Canucks have had a hard time finding the back of the net, It seemed for awhile that when the Sedins weren't producing, then Luongo better have a godly performance, because the Canucks were only going to pot one or two goals. They have had some help from speedy two-way centre Ryan Kesler, Rookie Mason Raymond, and recent call up Ryan Shannon. The Canucks were missing speed up front, with the ability to finish.
One of the other major factors to the Canucks' recent fall has been that they can not hold onto a lead, and every game fans are getting their money worth seeing the game either go into an extra frame or even the shootout, in which the Canucks haven't been exceptionally strong in.
Keys to Success: If the Canucks want to make a big playoff push and be a contender this year in what seems to be an unreal western conference, They NOW need more production from Markus Naslund and The Sedins, Less defensive lapses when the game is huge.
And they have to remember, There is only five-on-five OT in the playoffs, They can't be saved by Trevor Linden and his shootout clutches for much longer, Roberto Luongo comes out to play every game, The players infront of him need to step up and play some playoff hockey during the late stages of the regular season.