You probably don’t realize it, but Wednesday marks an anniversary of sorts for the Vancouver Canucks. Exactly one month ago marked the last time the Canucks scored more than three goals in a game.
Actually, they only scored three during the first 65 minutes of their 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues Jan. 13, but were credited with four because they won the shootout. Hey, when you score as little as the Canucks do, you take the positives wherever you can get ’em. To find a game in which the Canucks legitimately scored more than three goals, you have to go way back to Dec. 27 when they knocked off the Calgary Flames 5-3.
When Alex Burrows is the guy holding the hot stick, you know something is dreadfully wrong.
Or is it?
Most of the Canucks are scoring at about the pace everyone thought they would. And when the defense corps gets banged up the way it has recently or Roberto Luongo is not superhuman, which he hasn’t been since taking the All-Star Game off, then the Canucks’ chances of winning decrease exponentially.
For example, the Sedin twins are on pace to score 80 points each, which is only a couple off their career highs and pretty much what most people thought they were capable of scoring.
You didn’t think these guys were 100-point men, did you?
If so, you must immediately go off into a corner and like Denis Lemieux, the goalie in Slap Shot, feel shame.
Markus Naslund is on pace to score 63 points this season, which is actually three more than he had in 2006-07. Ryan Kesler has already eclipsed his career-high in points and Taylor Pyatt is on pace to score 42, which is five better than his best.
The point is, what did you expect? Did you think Matt Cooke and Brad Isbister were latent 50-goal scorers who were on the verge of busting out? Were you projecting Jason Jaffray to pile up the same kinds of numbers against NHL goalies that he did against second-rate defensemen and stoppers in the minors, or that Mason Raymond would be the second coming of Joe Nieuwendyk?
Losing Brendan Morrison for most of this season has been a blow to the offense to be sure, but the Canucks still wouldn’t be blazing their way through the NHL even with him in the lineup. And it’s that inability to score goals that will make the Canucks either a non-playoff team this season, or, if they do make it, almost certainly first-round fodder.
This column originally appeared in the Vancouver Metro paper.
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