The Vancouver Canucks return home with a mere two points out of a possible ten. They have entered the realm of legends on their five-game trip – the hard part is deciding which one.
Canucks Return Home for a Change
The good news is that the team still has a chance to exit October at a break-even pace. Because of the two overtime losses, they could even lose one more in OT and get to .500! Well, “NHL .500” but it still counts!*
Funny thing is – Canucks fans will want to hold their sides for this – they’ve had a lead in all five games. The first four, as you may or may not have heard, included multiple-goal leads. Game Five didn’t, which was nice, but did have multiple times of being up one goal. So.
The good: Vancouver didn't blow a multi-goal lead for the first time this szn.
The bad: Vancouver blew two one-goal leads and lost once again.
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) October 21, 2022
Now, the Canucks haven’t actually been all that bad. They’ve certainly been in all five games, and – counting one empty-net goal against – four of five were by a single goal. Elias Pettersson has been playing like a man possessed, which has to be raising some eyebrows in various pools.
Yes, injuries have been a bit of a nightmare, but only because they deplete an already gauze-thin blue line. A side benefit of that is seeing Kyle Burroughs making sure he belongs in the NHL. And good for him! And if you want to talk records, the surreal stat of Spencer Martin continuing to gain points for Vancouver – every one of his seven games – is downright heartwarming.
Then there’s the rest. It gets hard to describe them in plain statistics because they look bad, but not shockingly so. Not at five-on-five, anyway. Special teams have been burying the Canucks, just like early last year. At least this time they seem angry about it. They’ve played better since their closed-door meeting after loss number three, but they still haven’t won.
Gods and Monsters
There is a myth – and we’ll get to those – of early road games “bringing the team together”. They can get away from the distractions of home and cohere as a unit, especially if there have been big changes. As the hippies put it in decades past: hit the road to find yourself.
The Vancouver Canucks return home after five games and it’s still a question. Like many philosophical questions, we can turn to mythology for archetypal examples to draw from.
Sure they got leads in five straight games. Sometimes they even pushed those leads into the third period, where if they could just… hold… on… The Canucks fit this myth like a glove, which you should really wear when moving rocks. Every lead they’ve had has been lost by weirdly sloppy play. High-risk passes, players getting out of position to chase the puck, staying on the ice too long, and not taking the easy clear. Rookie mistakes done by veterans highlight how much pressure can affect players.
Having the last two games of their trip go to overtime is a perfect capper. A combination of exhaustion and external pressure leads to mistakes. It’s great that Quinn Hughes has five points in five games, but he’s also playing 27 minutes a night!
Then there are the White Collar folks on the team – including the owner. By always preaching how close the team was, no rebuild has taken place. Instead, the team has looked for just a little edge that would guarantee their return to the playoffs. Okay, this one actually might be a little too on the nose for comfort.
The past year has brought fans in Vancouver such joy from deep, deep sorrow. A revitalized team, new energy in management, and fan-led chants. It’s not like they’re going to leave the team, after all. Any fan base that made it through the Benning Era, successfully driving out both the former general manager and coach, is here to stay.
Clearly, the fans went too far in demanding a wholesale change and thus are being eternally punished. Every off-season, every new arrival, every contract done is regrown organ meat for the masses.
New liver, same damn eagle.
Can’t get much lower than being the only team in the NHL without a win, after all. The mediocre salesman returns home, unwilling to accept that he’s actually really bad at his job. The successes of his past ring in his ears loudly enough to drown out the current reality, leaving him unable to act. Reality is hard to ignore, though, and one possible solution is the last resort: blowing up the team.
This would be a true image only if the players weren’t so obviously frustrated by their results. Most of the team has been here before, dragging through last season’s horrendous start and have no interest in repeating it. There is plenty of talent here if they can just harness it. Or is that just management being delusional again?
The Washington Generals
Well, the Canucks sure aren’t the Harlem Globetrotters, but they can be close! Physically anyway, if not in actual results. Look at the results so far:
- Helped the Edmonton Oilers open the season with a dramatic, come-from-behind win with a Connor McDavid hat trick!
- Contributed to Philadelphia’s “Winning Weekend“.
- Let the legendary Alex Ovechkin kick off his goal-scoring this season with his first – and second – of the year.
- Broke the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild’s three-game losing streaks in front of their home fans.
If that isn’t in the tradition of the world’s most famous patsies, we can’t tell you what it is.
Sure, it’s never happened before, but maybe this time they’ll win because the other team won’t show up?
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