Canucks Need More Help From Secondary Scorers
When everything is going your way it’s sometimes difficult to notice the weeds if you always see things through rose tinted glasses.
Vancouver is still sitting atop the NHL with 63 points, the team has the best points percentage .711, and are continuing to dominate in the face-off circle with the number one face-off win percentage of 55.7. If that wasn’t enough the club also has the second best PP and are seventh on the PK.
Offensively, players like the Sedins and Kesler are among the best in the league. Daniel is third in goals with 27; Crosby and Stamkos are first and Second. Henrik has a league leading 46 assists. Kesler is having one of his greatest years with 24 goals if he can keep up the momentum by seasons end that figure could be well over 40.
Defensemen like Edler, Ehrhoff and Bieksa are all contributing, Ballard and Hamhuis are proving to be good off-season acquisitions. The team is giving up the third fewest ‘goals against’, a game with 2.36.
Then there’s Bieksa who is enjoying a career year, at times he has been considered a dispensable player that is often at the centre of any trade rumors, he is presenting a pretty good case as to why he should stay in Vancouver
Yes everything is rosy for the Canucks. Isn’t it?
It’s no fluke that Vancouver are the best team in the league, for the players coaches and management its all smiles confidence and enthusiasm. Even when faced with a loss the organization glows with positivity. It’s great to be at the top, the view is wonderful.
Everyone has a few skeletons in their closet even the Canucks. With the club riding on a high its quite easy to forget about or miss the things that they are doing wrong.
There is a distinct lack of secondary scoring.
The fact that Vancouver has had only three forwards score in the last seven games, is something that can go unnoticed when the wins keep piling up. During those seven games D Sedin and Kesler have been scoring the most goals, Burrows provided 1 while Edler and Bieksa contributed on defense.
Perhaps the biggest concern is with 4 players, Samuelsson, Torres, Tambellini and Raymond, as they are all mired in lengthy goalless droughts. Raymond is the only member of the quartet that has found the net in January, but that was as long ago as January 2nd. Torres last had a goal on December 31st whilst for Tambellini it was December 28th and Samuelsson December 26th.
At least Raymond Torres and Samuelsson who have a few assists to their credit can sleep more soundly at night than Tambellini, who hasn’t scored a single point in 10 games. Its these individuals that are responsible for being the supporting cast to carry the offensive load, they have a combined total of seven points dating back to Boxing Day.
Its no wonder that during the recent 4-0 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Wild, head coach Alain Vigneault was forced to juggle his lines to try and find a spark. Mike Gillis has already looked to the farm club, Manitoba Moose, for reinforcements by calling up soon to be 2011 AHL All Star, Sergei Shirokov. Shirokov is on a 12-point streak that’s a Moose franchise record; the Russian may replace Tambellini on the second line.
When competing against different teams game in game out a problem like having 4 forwards who can’t score can be compensated by relying on star players to carry the workload or the defense chipping in with a goal or two. This is something that the coaching staff will have to address because the longer it progresses the greater problem it will become.
It’s not easy reaching the top it’s even harder staying there.
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