The Vancouver Canucks are still a highly skilled team. The Sedin Twins are still the Sedin Twins and there is plenty of offensive firepower on that blue line.
But the Canucks are not a very tenacious team. That is why general manager Mike Gillis hired hard-driving coach John Tortorella to change the culture in the dressing room and on the ice.
This Torts Reform is going to take some time. Learning to play more desperate hockey is not an overnight project, as the Canucks demonstrated during a 4-1 loss at San Jose.
“We played in spurts. Kind of a disjointed game with all the penalties,” Tortorella told reporters after his coaching debut. “We have a lot to learn with tenacity and consistently being on pucks. Some good things and some teachable things. It's consistency.”
The Canucks want to apply pressure with aggressive forechecking. To do that, they must get the puck deep shift after shift and keep the puck deep. Against the Sharks, turnovers and bad pinches killed them.
“We have to learn fast,” Canucks center Ryan Kesler told the Canadian Press. “We’ve got to get these points. These points are going to be important for us and the end of the year. I thought we did a good job for a large part of the (San Jose) game.
“I think we’ve got to trust each other, that’s the big thing. We’ve got to trust each other that we’re going to work hard, We can only be aggressive if that happens.
“As a group we have (the system) locked down, it’s just a game of mistakes. Sometimes you make the wrong read and it’s an outnumbered rush. Things like that are going to happen.”