The 2022-23 version of the Vancouver Canucks seems to be about a team who’s perfected the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Of course, the season is just barely two weeks old but for the Canucks, this year has begun to unravel as a team on the edge of living out a “victory or death” mantra in its near future.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau was brought in last December to help salvage what was left from an early-season collapse and make anything positive happen for the Canucks as a franchise. To be fair to Boudreau as a veteran coach with decades of experience, he did turn around this team to the point that they finished with a winning record but no playoff berth. For his efforts, Boudreau’s contract was not extended and in fact ends at the end of this season.
Maybe Boudreau’s lack of any contract talks was a harbinger of things to come from the Vancouver front office duo of Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford. Quite possibly, Boudreau is looked upon solely as a caretaker coach until someone “better” comes along. However, that mentality basically spells out that this franchise is waiting for another franchise to possibly fire their head coach and then sign him to a new contract with the Canucks while sending Boudreau off into the sunset.
Bruce Boudreau will have to wait another day to claim his 600th NHL coaching victory as the Canucks are now 0-4-2 after the beatdown they suffered at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. Through a quirk in scheduling, the Canucks were one of the last NHL teams to finally have a home opener; however, playing in front of a home crowd at Rogers Arena didn’t seem to make any difference with yet another defeat. There were sightings of the Boo Bird species inside Rogers Arena as the Canucks are now the only NHL team without a single win under their belt this season.
Are the wheels falling off the Canucks’ wagon early on?
So far the early part of the 2022-23 season has been anything but successful for the Vancouver Canucks. Sitting at the bottom of the standings with two points (the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes also have two points apiece but those are from wins) is the last place the Canucks wanted to start this season, given the early disaster that happened in the 2021-22 campaign. Pundits and fans can point fingers at the coaching staff, the front office and the players alike and more than likely all bear some responsibility for this impending debacle. Its’ good to remind fans that the coaches behind the bench are responsible for X’s and O’s – drawing up plays but it’s the “Jimmys’ and Joes'” who are responsible for getting the job done on the ice. NHL players are paid a very good livable salary to take care of business when they’re on the ice and let’s face it, the 2022-23 version of the Vancouver Canucks have underwhelmed in every aspect of the sport of hockey to this point.
Whatever the case may be, the Canucks are heading in the wrong direction quickly and if this ship doesn’t right itself soon, the whole season may again become a total loss. The Canucks have already accomplished an NHL record for losing in three consecutive games while having a multiple goal lead either leading into or in the actual third period. The Canucks special teams have been abysmal to say the least in the last six games with a power play percentage sitting at a mere 13% while their penalty kill looms at 55.6% which rightly is rock bottom in the NHL. This team seems determined to find ways to lose games even when leading and forget about a home crowd advantage as the Canucks dropped their home opener to the Buffalo Sabres in a listless 5-1 loss.
The Canucks are running out of excuses.
Excuses can be created and they may be creative but when it comes down to it, the Vancouver Canucks are rapidly in danger of losing control of this season before the month of October is over. Yes, Quinn Hughes is out with an injury and this hurts the Canucks defense; however, you can create as many fill-in-the-blank excuses on why this happens or that happens but hockey is a team sport and players like Hughes are just a component of that team. The good news is that this season is young and the Canucks can effectively repair the damage done and get down to the busines of winning hockey games. The bad news is this franchise needs to figure out all the way down to the core of what’s wrong with it and fix it quickly or this season will be another dumpster fire burning up in British Columbia.