The plane arrived at three o’clock in the morning, but the team that was scheduled to arrive never materialized. It was the final rehearsal for the big show, and the team was absent, despite the bodies parading around the ice at HP Pavilion in Vancouver sweaters. Did a flight from Manitoba accidentally get re-routed to Oakland because the Vancouver team wanted to get an extra day for the Christmas break? Did Mike Gillis send Canucks equipment manager Pat O’Neill to meet the Moose in San Jose so they had enough Canuck sweater to fit the likes of Michael Grabner, Alexandre Buldoc and Jason Krog?
Everyone knows that the Canucks are a third period team. Apparently they are a latter-season team as well. In 2006-07 they managed to be the best team in the league after Christmas but their pre-25th record was almost identical to what it is now. Last year was a write-off — you know — Gina and the baby and all. This year, one can only hope that with the gift of Mats Sundin (and a healthy Luongo), the team will finally be augmented by actual talent that will lift the team over the mediocre funk for which they have been embedded the last four weeks.
The Canucks looked punch-drunk last night. Surrendering goals with the generosity typically assumed by Gandhi, Jesus and Santa Claus, the Vancouver Canucks snuk into San Jose with bags under their eyes and snuck out of San Jose with their tails between their legs. A shameful, shameful performance by everyone!
Save Curtis Sanford.Corey Schnieder started the night in net and finished his tenure at the 20:43 mark, surrendering 5 goals on 15 shots before getting the mercy seat by Coach Vee. His timing was off. His positioning was off. And his teammates insisted on preserving their energy for Friday’s tilt versus the Oilers, because they refused to come to the aid of the embattled rookie.
The Sharks looked like they were out for blood, but apparently rigor mortis had already set in on the Vancouver bench, as San Jose was content icing their fourth-line the rest of the game. So with the addition of freely handing San Jose their 18th victory on home ice (now a mindboggling 18-0-2) the Canucks succeeded in ignoring their own bell, choosing instead to sleep through the alarm and the holiday season.
The lone bright-spot in this comedy of errors was the relief of Curtis Sanford. He made some excellent saves and certainly gave his team the opportunity to reverse the 5-0 deficit if not so much erase it. There was an opportunity to save a modicum of face, but again the Canucks politely declined the opportunity.
Ray Ferraro, doing color for TSN, said it was the worst period of hockey by a professional hockey team he had ever seen. High praise for a club that once went 15 straight seasons below .500 — a record in professional sports. I’m remiss to say it was also the worst period of hockey in Henrik Sedin’s career, not to mention Willie Mitchell, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin to name a few more. If the universe collapsed and dissolved into a microscopic entity of nothingness it would not be enough to remove the suck from this team and it’s erratic history.
File this under bullshit and have a Merry X-mas. Let’s just hope an X-factor is available when the team convines on the 26th. Home on Friday to bare the mantle, once again, of the Cardic Canucks: doing everything possible to flumox, enrage and bedazzle a fanbase since 1970.