The Vancouver Canucks looked gassed during their 2-0 loss in Detroit Thursday night, and they are once again off to a slow and sloppy start. After the first four games, Vancouver has a 1-2-1 record.
Is it time to push the panic button?
It is understandable how some Canucks fans might feel a little uneasy with the start they’ve witnessed.
After all, there isn’t much good to talk about with Vancouver. Roberto Luongo has looked shaky at best, has given up a few weak goals and is back to flopping on his belly at every opportunity.
But he’s not the only one.
Vancouver’s second line is still struggling, and newcomer Marco Sturm looks slow and generally lost on the ice.
To make matters worse, they have started games slow and can’t kill penalties, which they are taking a lot of.
It may seem bleak.
Despite all the evidence, the Vancouver Canucks are not in trouble…yet. Here are four reasons why Vancouver fans can take a deep breath and relax.
How close are you to pushing the panic button?
It’s true. Vancouver is a terrible October team. Counting this season, the Canucks have gone 17-17-3 in the past four Octobers.
This should be nothing new to Canucks fans. In fact, last season Vancouver lost their first four road games. They’ve already improved on that with their 3-2 victory at Columbus this week.
They have been able to get away with these starts over the past few years, and this year should be no exception.
Keep in mind that they had a short offseason and that the Canucks regulars only played in two preseason games. In many ways, they are still in preseason mode.
So do yourself a favor, wait until the calendar reads “November” before freaking out. They look bad now, but this team is way too loaded to not turn it around.
Vancouver has struggled in the first week without their best player. Kesler is recovering from hip surgery he had this summer and is close to being back on the ice.
They have missed him, as their second line is being led by a rookie and two other guys who look like they are skating in mud. Kesler’s return will give Vancouver a second scoring line along with a line that can shut down the opposition’s best.
Pavel Datsyuk put on a clinic Thursday night in Detroit without having to worry about facing Kesler.
You have to believe that Kesler could have at least evened out the ice.
That’s a schedule that is going to be tough for most teams, and when you are missing your best guy and are notoriously slow starters, it is doom.
It will even out, though, and Vancouver will get their chance to right themselves against the Edmontons and Calgarys of the world.
As bad as the Canucks have looked—especially you Marco Sturm—it hasn’t all been bad.
Rookie Cody Hodgson has arguably been one of the best forwards for Vancouver. He has shown that he can skate in the NHL, scoring a goal and having two more that should have been in the net. When Kesler returns, it appears that Hodgson will move to the wing and play on the second line.
Chris Higgins has also been pretty good for the Canucks. He is skating hard and has a couple of goals for his efforts.
Keith Ballard also has worked his way out of the doghouse and has been flying around the ice.
Cory Schneider has had two early starts and looks like he is picking up where he left off. Despite getting the loss in Detroit Thursday, he was brilliant. The Canucks gave up more shots than Lindsey Lohan on a Saturday night, and the score should have been much worse.
All of these good things are things to be excited about. Once the rest of the team wakes up, it will make them stronger.