Frustration, anger, disappointment, and embarrassment. Four words that best describe the Vancouver Canucks home opener as they fall 5-1 to the Buffalo Sabres for their sixth consecutive loss to start the season.
Once again, the team collapsed in the third period, which led to “sell the team” chants, booing, and jerseys being thrown on the ice. Here are three takeaways from the game.
Boo Birds Out In Force
Teams getting booed off the ice is nothing new but getting booed off the ice in a home opener is something rarely, if ever, seen. With the Canucks down 3-1 and looking like they had given up, the fans inside Rogers Arena started booing. Not even an attempted sing-along to Sweet Caroline could stop it, as fans also included a “sell the team” chant directed at Canucks ownership. Once again, this is not game 70; this was the home opener and just the sixth contest of the new season. Fans are angry and did not shy away from the chance to let the organization know how they felt.
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If the booing was not bad enough, fans threw jerseys and hats onto the ice. A similar event happened last season in December following a 4-1 loss on home ice to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Regardless of personal views on whether or not throwing jerseys and, in this case, hats is appropriate or not, one thing is clear, fans are fed up. After an offseason of promises that the organization would be better, they seem to have done the opposite and taken a step back. Against the Sabres, Canucks fans let the team know exactly how they feel and that something needs to change sooner rather than later.
Canucks Struggle To Create Chances
Despite outshooting the Sabres 30-27 in the game, the Canucks struggled to create chances that actually hit the net. Whether it was one too many passes, shooting the puck right into the opposition, or missing the net completely, Vancouver was frustrating to watch all night. Instead of making simple plays, they were determined to try and pull off highlight reel plays which is a big reason why they ended the night with only one goal.
The overall high-danger chances are a great indication of just how ineffective the Canucks were in this game. Despite having over seven minutes of power play time, Vancouver finished with one high-danger chance for and one against. In total, they managed five shots on goal, while Buffalo had two shorthanded. At even strength, the Sabres finished the game with 17, while the Canucks managed just seven despite controlling the play most of the game. Vancouver needs to find a way to simplify its play and get back to basics. They were way too inefficient tonight, and it was a major factor in why they suffered their sixth consecutive loss.
Second Intermission Argument Between Schenn & Miller
At the end of the second period, J.T. Miller and Luke Schenn were caught on camera arguing as they left the ice. Although there was no microphone present, the argument was heated enough that Conor Garland had to skate between the two players as they returned to the locker room. These things are going to happen throughout the season but rarely do they get so heated another player has to act as a barrier in the middle of a game.
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When Miller was asked by a reporter after the game about the incident, he responded with, “No offense, it’s none of your business.” As mentioned, frustrations are high surrounding this team, but arguments like the one that occurred are problematic. If two teammates are so heated they need to be separated prior to entering the locker room, then something is seriously flawed surrounding the team. Hopefully, the two can put whatever issues aside as they both are expected to play key roles for this organization throughout the season.
Canucks Fans Deserve Better
Whether it was on social media, in articles, or on the radio, the phrase “fans deserve better” has been said a lot after this loss. This market has been through so much mediocrity since its 2011 Stanley Cup Final loss and deserves a fun team to cheer for. As for the Canucks, they will look to prevent their losing streak from hitting seven when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, Oct. 24, with puck drop scheduled for 7:30 PM PST.