AAANNNnnnndddd we're baaaaaaack!
Though for how long I'm not sure.
Even after a refreshing break, I am having a really difficult time giving a damn about this team. I'm mainly only going to games to hang out with whoever is my guest for the evening. The usual intensity with which I'm studying things on the ice is really waning. I'm not sure how to get it back and games like tonight only serve to annoy me further. If the team isn't going to care for most of the game, then how am I supposed to?
This issue hasn't been a problem in as many games as most think - but it has been increasing in frequency lately. They're showing up expecting to lose, not giving it 100% effort or focus, then realizing they can win at the end and blasting to the finish line but coming up short.
If they put that effort out there from the beginning, or even for 15 minutes, they probably win. The Canucks outside of Luongo were downright lacklustre tonight. It was clear that they were not on their 'A' game and when you get an opponent like that at home, you have to beat them. Not that that sort of thing matters at this point. I would have much rather seen them goon it up ala the Flames. At least that might accomplish something.
The Canucks visibly treat the Oilers and especially the top line like a joke out there. They use sticks and elbows etc with no fear of any pushback. Taylor Hall won't do anything at this point except get frustrated. That injury he got when he fought Dorsett has warped his brain somehow. Eberle and Hopkins aren't exactly feisty. Eakins won't send Gazdic/Hendricks/whoever after the Canucks good players, so there's nowhere to go in this conversation.
You know I'm not usually worried about this kind of hockey. I think you can skate through just about anything. The thing is, you have to be a good team and actually win. It would be more productive at this point for the Oilers to dress a rotating group of 6 goons in the bottom of their lineup with no fear of being suspended against key rivals than doing what they're doing.
Was certainly interesting to see Ben Scrivens' first game. I'm not overjoyed with him but he certainly looked strong enough in the net. He was good positionally and stayed in control of his body throughout the game. He was also active near his crease in terms of both the puck and opposition skaters. I like that we finally have a proper "paddle-down" style goalie. Didn't like the awkwardness on the first goal, but he was strong other than that. Will be nice to watch him attempt to grab his dream of being a #1. He certainly has the opportunity.
Martin Marincin was just okay tonight. The thing is, I realize that in order to make that call after that game means I've raised my standards. He played a ton of minutes and only made a few mistakes. One key one was an ugly pass out front of his own net. He did have a man wide open for a breakaway but he needs to put that pass in the air. Amazing how far he's come so quickly.
Jeff Petry actually took a slapshot tonight! I was freaking amazed. He's actually got a very good shot but takes way too long to get it away.
Justin Schultz made several bad turnovers at the opposition blue line and took weak shots. I'm not sure why he's struggled so much this year.
The thing is, with players like Schultz I'm just starting to think it is all the crap and noise surrounding the team. Who is going to be able to play their best in this mess?
Liked some of the habits that Hendricks has - he works very hard to get the puck in both his own zone and the offensive corners, then makes generally smart plays with the puck in his own zone. Time will tell if this is a repeatable sort of thing and if he'll be able to do anything offensively. Probably not.
Ryan Jones should really work on his fighting. Kevin Bieksa was, as usual, scared of anyone who can actually fight.
David Perron has checked out. He had nothing tonight aside from a couple decent shots on net. These Canucks games should be his bread and butter. He's a competitive guy. This is how you know they're out of it.
Eberle was the best of the young 3 tonight. He was at least getting opportunities. I'm not sure why he couldn't make a better effort on the break he had in the third. That was pretty much the only opportunity they had to win it.
Hall needs to get it together. I get that he's frustrated. I get that he's getting beat up out there. Sulking and throwing errant passes, then trying to win the game with 3 strong shifts isn't going to do anything about that.
That's about all I'd say was worth it tonight. More might occur to me. I'm going to make a decision pretty quickly on whether or not I shut this down for the season and start again next year as I either need to get into it again and provide you guys what you expect or just start again fresh next year. Will figure that out quickly.