Sports Hockey

What's wrong with them? 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

It was a tough pill for Vancouver to swallow Saturday night.

They outshot and outbattled the Wild, but in the end, the result mirrored much of this depressing month of January, with another L on the stat sheet.

This team has lost nine straight at home, and ten out of the past 11 overall. They have been outscored 36 to 22 by their opponents during that skid, and now sit 11th in the division prior to Monday night.

So what exactly is wrong with the Canucks?

"There's nothing wrong with us," said forward Steve Bernier. "We're on the way there and we just need to keep pushing and we're going to get [a win] pretty soon."

Nothing wrong might be too unfair of an answer, considering that this team averages 18.1 penalty minutes a game and seven infractions per match during this skid.

But the lack of discipline isn't the only problem.

Only one skater - Daniel - has more then two goals during the slump, while goaltender Roberto Luongo has yet to return to his top form since coming back from a groin injury.

The defensive unit is struggling, especially blueliner Kevin Bieksa, who has gone minus-8 in as many games, while the club's penalty kill has dropped to 22nd in the league with six of the past eight game-winning goals against given up with a man in the box.

And then there's Mats Sundin.

There is a problem with the Canucks, and something needs to be done.

If the Canucks fall to the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, coach Alain Vigneault's job will be even more in jeopardy, considering that the four days until their next game is a good time to implement a new coach.

If they continue to lose, players will have to be moved, and with the trade deadline just four weeks away, adding a puck-moving defenceman or an offensive winger might be a good way to start the mending.

But don't expect GM Mike Gillis to blow up this team entirely.

Despite the lack of Ws, the Canucks are not out of the playoff picture - they are far from it. In fact, going into last night's games, Vancouver was only three points behind fifth in the West.

"You just keep moving forward and eventually the tide will turn and you get the result you want," said Darcy Hordichuk. "Sometimes when you do work as hard as you can, you do get the victory."

Moving forward must involve changes, because as seen Saturday, just working hard isn't enough for this team to win.

And right now, wins are all that matter.


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