Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Crow’s not the problem

There’s been no blogging for a while as I’ve been down in Orlando for a conference (warm and humid, btw, and Universal kicked ass) but I’m at the airport now waiting for my flight back to Toronto, cruising the Internet and catching-up on some of the news I’ve missed (and add Orlando to the airports with free wifi, although I understand it’s only temporary, which is a shame).

There’s been a lot happening on the political front it seems, mainly to do with flags and fallen soldiers, and more posturing between Stephen Harper and the media. Perhaps more on that later. Hockey is on my mind though, especially since there hasn’t been too much hockey news down here in central Florida.

I see though that the Canucks have fired their head coach, Marc Crawford. While this may have been inevitable, Crawford wasn’t the Canucks’ problem, the players were. It’s always the easy way out to fire the coach, but it doesn’t necessarily change anything.

I watched a lot of Canuck games this year (subscribed to NHL Centre Ice, won’t next year though) and the problem with this team, some key injuries aside, wasn’t coaching. It was an inability to score goals, particularly the big goals at the big times, and to hang on to a lead.

I stood by Todd Bertuzzi for a long time. I don’t support his actions on the ice in the Moore affair, but I felt he had paid his debt and it was proper for him to come back. I wanted to see him recapture his magic with Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison. The so-called big line just wasn’t the same though. More than that, they were a defensive liability most of the time. I haven’t examined their plus/minus, but I’m sure it’s not pretty.

Todd has to go. Not because of the incident, but because it’s obvious he won’t regain his form in Vancouver, and instead he has become a liability and a distraction. Morrison has value at centre, and while there’s the risk Naslund will go back to Sweden if buddy Todd leaves I hope he stays around.

The future of this team is the Sedin brothers and Anson Cater, and I hope they use the money they save on Bertuzzi’s salary by locking those guys up long term. Another solid defenseman that can score is also needed, the absence of Ed Jovanovski for much of the year really hurt.

The big question mark as always with the Canucks is in goal. This was to be the last chance, make or break year for Dan Cloutier, but then he went and got injured early in the season. Alex Auld came in with little experience, and none as a regular NHL starter, and he played really well. Auld can’t be faulted for the Canucks’ finish, he got little to no defensive support for much of the season. So do we give Cloutier another shot, dump him for Auld, or trade for a name? It’s tough. With Auld’s play last year it’s hard to bump him for Cloutier.

It will be a long, interesting off season in Vancouver. The Globe speculated the Canucks want Brent Sutter as their new coach. He’s been successful with the kids in the WHL, it would be interesting to see if he fares any better with some of the egos in the Canucks lockeroom than Crawford did.

In the mean time, while the Canucks aren’t in the playoffs I take solace in the fact the Leafs aren’t either. Go Flames, and Go Sens!

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1 comment:

Spitfire said...

The Crow was not THE problem but was part of the problem. He lost control of the team. The Canucks hit the 'perfect storm ' this year.
Major injuries to marquee players, just look at the impact 'Jovo' had on his first game back, a rookie goalie who proved himself capable, a very distracted Bertuzzi and a lack of discipline. So it becomes a time for change and the coach has to be part of that change. Bertuzzi should be the next to move on. Pat Quinn would look good with a California tan.
The best thing that happened to the Canucks this year was Anson Carter and his impact on the team.