The Canucks came up with a big overtime win against the Flames on Saturday, and at the same time gave me an early Christmas present. It silenced the seemingly endless outpouring of needless panic.
Vancouver was previously amidst a 5 game losing streak, prompting masses of fans to proclaim that the sky is falling, which seems to be the standard reaction whenever Vancouver loses more than 2 games in a row. Tragedy. Pain. Hope. Rebirth. All in a 5 game span. Shakespeare never wrote such a tale of woe.
Maybe a road trip should be scheduled to Edmonton, where they have something to legitimately cry about.
If the Canucks were playing so badly that it re-defined futility, then the fan’s emotional outbursts would be understandable, but it just wasn’t the case, and happily Chris Tanev’s goal brought the fans in Rogers arena some early Christmas cheer.
Reasons At A Glance
Whenever reasons for losing are examined you immediately hear shouts about how it’s all a bunch of excuses, etc.
No, actually, reasons are the events that transpired to lead to the loss. Excuses are what you make when you don’t want to go to your In-Laws for dinner.
There were a few different reasons for the Canucks streak, and you will find that they are eerily similar to events experienced by other NHL teams prior to a loss.
Injuries, whether you like it or not, factor in to a team’s performance on the ice. Every team, including the Canucks. Take out a key member, like Hamhuis, and it will cost you a couple of games eventually.
Opponent’s goaltending is also a bit of an issue from time to time, as most NHL goalies are quite good. For example, Bernier was terrific in Toronto, Vancouver outplayed them badly and could have won by 5. Instead, Toronto skates off with 2 points.
And sometimes, you just play awful and lose the game, as was the case against the Rangers. Nothing went right in that game, and that will happen over an 82 game season.
If the above reasons sound like extraordinarily common circumstances, it’s because they are. The Canucks are not setting new standards for mediocrity, nor are they losing games in a manner previously unseen before in the annals of hockey. They are just another team in the league dealing with the ups and downs of a season.
It’s a frustrating sequence of events that seems to repeat itself. Canucks fans are fond of pointing out how much the team needs and how far they need to go to challenge for a Stanley Cup, blah blah blah, and yet are astonished when they lose a couple games and react with horror. It’s like arguing with a crazy person.
And of course the inevitable comparisons to last year came forth, which was probably the most infuriating result of the losses. Yes, the Canucks season began to come apart about this time last year. However, they have 6 new players, a new coach and new management since last season. If you seriously think this team resembles last year’s, you need to get yourself to Lenscrafters, where ironically Trevor Linden can probably help you out.
The Upside Of Losing
Losing, however unpleasant it is for the fans and the team alike to experience, can have positive effects on a team truly dedicated to improving.
For one, it will keep a team from getting complacent, not that I think that will ever be a problem in Vancouver, especially with the new regime in place.
In addition, losing a few games in a row will often expose a weakness in a team, forcing management to address it.
But most importantly, losing creates adversity, and if you are a team hoping to make some noise in the playoffs, you will definitely encounter adversity. For a veteran team it may not be as much of a factor, but for a team with as many additions as the Canucks, it’s critical. It’s important to have some kind of foundation to build on, some kind of shared experience that the team can look back on for reference when things go badly. And I think if given a choice, fans would much rather have the team acquire that experience in the regular season than in the playoffs.
“They were on us pretty good. It just shows how resilient we are.”-Chris Tanev Canucks.com
Let Hope Spring Anew
The Canucks were not expected by many to make the playoffs, in fact, where they are now is where most hoped they would be in a couple years. So a couple bad stretches here and there really shouldn’t cause fans to lose their faith in humanity. Because brace yourself for this news: the Canucks will lose again this season.
It is as inevitable as a dazzling Sedin goal, there is no avoiding it. Some nights they will be awful, some nights the other goalie will be inhuman, and some nights the other team’s best game will be better than the Canuck’s best game.
But take solace in the fact that this is a different team than previous incarnations, with good leadership, some great players and some up and coming talent. Losing is part of hockey, it even happens to the good teams, and I suspect Santa will be bringing the Canucks more wins than losses for 2015.
Darrin Hayes is a regular contributor for the Vancouver Canucks on TheHockeyWriters.com. Follow Darrin on Twitter @HayesTHW or on Facebook via TheHockeyWriters fan page.