The Canucks are the smartest, laziest kid in the class; motivated to succeed by ego and challenge, but frustrated by their own inability to pass pop quizes and assignments.
That’s my definition of the Canucks’ identity this season. How else do you explain the infuriating lack of consistency and effort? They’re that teenager whose IQ is off the charts, but won’t do thier homework and can’t keep a job.
Much has been made of the Canucks’ ability to rise to the challenge of strong opponents and big games, but whose concentration derails once the interest wanes. Why? Because they are (or at least they think they are) too smart and too good. No one will say it out loud, and the Canucks themselves may not even realize it, but it’s true. I really do believe they care, because they don’t like losing, but the character that Mike Gillis wants this team to be built around is inexplicably absent — otherwise this team, despite their injury woes, could easily be well over 500.
This is a pattern with these Canucks. Look at last year’s playoffs for a microcosm of this season’s lacklustre performace: The team drives hard through the last half of the season, riding high on their record and trouncing the almost equally favoured Blues. Then the seemingly young and overacheiving Hawks (who they had blown out in their previous meeting) fall into their playoff laps. What happens? Overconfidence. They take the supposedly “lesser” team for granted and lose it in six.
Fast forward to this pre-season: a team half-filled with prospects and farm-hands, steamrolling the competition and riding a wave of confidence. What happens? They fall apart to start the season and struggle to stay at 500.
I really thought the losses of Luongo and Daniel Sedin would be a good thing for this team. It’d force them to rely on the system and hard work to get them through, then the reinsertion of their two stars would put them over the top.
Not so much.
So here we are, sitting 10th in the west and facing Nashville, one of the hardest working, best-coached teams in the league. Think they’ll win? I do. It’ll be a hard-fought contest that could even go into overtime. Then who do we draw next? Edmonton.
Pop Quiz: Where do they currently rank?
Answer: Last in the west.
You think the Canucks know the answer to that one?