HFNHL Canucks make off-ice moves, and continue on-ice struggles

Discussion in 'HFNHL Talk' started by Hossa, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    9,435
    Likes Received:
    81
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Occupation:
    Student of the Game
    Location:
    Abroad
    Home Page:
    HFNHL Canucks struggle out of the gate

    The defending HFNHL Stanley Cup Champion Vancouver Canucks have struggled to start the season. Through 13 games, the Canucks have lost 10 of them, all by one goal. Granted half of those losses came in overtime or a shootout, but the lack of offence and the inability of the club to win close games has fans nervous about a championship hangover.

    The off-season saw several notable changes in the Canucks make-up, but the belief is the team entered the 2010-11 season with as much potential as the previous year's version. Although Tomas Kaberle, Kevin Bieksa and Mike Ribeiro were traded, and Matt Cullen lost to free agency, internal improvement and other additions were expected to compensate. Particularly worrisome was the loss of offence on the blueline and the breaking up of the league's most dominant line last year, as Ribeiro was shipped to Tampa Bay.

    Another important change occurred when Head Coach Jacques Lemaire retired, and was replaced by veteran Terry Murray. So far the new bench boss has struggle to recreate the chemistry that last year's unit demonstrated.

    "Our offence runs through Eric Staal and Evgeni Malkin, and so far this year we haven't been able to find the right combination for those two," said Murray yesterday. "We have a lot of depth and flexibility, so hopefully it's just a matter of time."

    Although the season is barely underway, the slow start has allowed division rivals Colorado and Calgary to get a serious headstart towards the Northwest title. There is hope though, as the Flames held a commanding lead in the division earlier last year, and eventually squandered it in the middle of the year.

    "Nobody is panicking yet," said Murray. "We like our roster and feel it's just a matter of chemistry and getting some things clicking right now."

    Flurry of Moves

    Over the last several weeks, the Canucks have also made a series of moves to plug a couple of holes and alter the team's depth and cap situation.

    First, veteran Bryan Helmer was signed to bring in veteran experience and serve as the traveling seventh defenceman. The belief is Helmer is perhaps being groomed for a minor league coaching position next year.

    Second, the club acquired Colin Stuart and dealt veteran fourth line center Dean McAmmond. The move saved the club some cap space and brought in more physicality, as Eric Perrin's successful training camp tryout forced McAmmond to the wing. Drafts picks were added and subtracted in the two trades.

    Third, the club packaged veteran blueliner Brad Lukowich and a second round pick for Toni Lydman, a top four blueliner the club plans to pair with young James Wisniewski. Although Lukowich had only been signed in the summer, Helmer's addition made him redundant.

    As a result of this trade, the Canucks moved swiftly to trade Matt Greene and reclaim the necessary cap space. Greene was shipped Carolina with cash in return for a second round pick and young Swede Tom Wandell.

    Perhaps the most puzzling trade was made with the Dallas Stars, as the Canucks dealt Cody McCormick and two prospects for another prospect. McCormick had played on the fourth line, and the club wanted him to play there next year as well, but the few hundred thousand dollars of cap savings was the first motivation for the deal. Going with McCormick were Brian Connelly and Ryan Bourque, the latter acquired over the summer in the Kaberle trade. In return the Canucks received Maxime Sauve, a former second round pick with speed to burn and second line potential. The knock on Sauve is a long history of injury problems.

    With the moves the Canucks remained cap compliant and emerge with a roster management nonetheless believes can compete with any this year.

    "Lydman is a huge addition for us," said Murray. "He has been around the league for a while, is extremely intelligent in all three zones and gives us a great compliment to Wisniewski on the second pairing."

    New Lines in Practice

    At the morning skate on Sunday, Terry Murray restored the lines the club used to start the year, reuniting Eric Staal and Evgeni Malkin. Tomorrow the Canucks travel to Calgary to play the surging Flames for yet another rematch of last year's Conference Finals blowout.


    Eric Staal - David Krejci - Evgeni Malkin
    Nik Antropov - Antoine Vermette - Patric Hornqvist
    Ryan Callahan - Brooks Laich - David Backes
    Colin Stuart - Eric Perrin - Brandon Yip

    Mattias Ohlund - Dan Boyle
    Toni Lydman - James Wisniewski
    Kyle Quincey - Kris Letang
    Bryan Helmer

    Martin Brodeur
    Carey Price
     
  2. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    7,892
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Location:
    Great White North
    Losing record or not, that's a scary good lineup.
     
  3. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    9,435
    Likes Received:
    81
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Occupation:
    Student of the Game
    Location:
    Abroad
    Home Page:
    Unfortunately the sim isn't as frightened as you.
     
  4. Ohio Jones

    Ohio Jones Game on...

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2002
    Messages:
    7,892
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Location:
    Great White North
    The centre position is pretty critical. You may have to bite the bullet and put your big guys down the middle in order to get the biggest bang for your buck.
     
  5. Hossa

    Hossa Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    9,435
    Likes Received:
    81
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Occupation:
    Student of the Game
    Location:
    Abroad
    Home Page:
    I've tried that to no effect, but it might be worth retrying. The key problem is Geno wins more fights than faceoffs these days.
     

Share This Page

monitoring_string = "358c248ada348a047a4b9bb27a146148"