Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/9/14
It’s Puzzle Time

It seems as if every game the Canucks play in these days is against a team fighting for their playoff lives. It was Dallas who was in the driver’s seat of the Pacific Division and with their loss to Vancouver on Thursday, they are only tied for 8thplace.

It's gut check time for Vancouver if they want momentum heading into the post-season. (Photo - Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Speaking of being tied for 8th place, how about those Colorado Avalanche? It is truly going to be a dog fight to the finish for the final coveted playoff spot and it’s not hard to see that this is precisely why the Canucks have been slumping.

They haven’t been the dog to any fight with St. Louis pulling away in 1st and the Pacific Division being a crapshoot for 3rd place and at this time, 11 points back of 2nd place Vancouver.

The even more impressive thing for Dallas and Colorado is that they have near identical records in the past ten games. Dallas is 7-3-0 while Colorado is 7-2-1. Oh and they’re both coming off losses to potential 1st round opponents Vancouver and Phoenix.

So what can you watch for when the puck drops once again on Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night?

The Anti-Puzzle

Imagine a hockey season, playoffs and all, shattered into 1000 pieces. Each piece is one part of the puzzle that it takes to have that final empty spot filled by none other than the Stanley Cup.

Logic tells us that since the Canucks beat a team fighting for a playoff spot in Dallas on about 18 hours rest, they can surely beat a team who hasn’t even been quite at Dallas’ level with 36+ hours of rest.

The Canucks have been unpredictable lately with their under-achieving ways so let’s say this is one of those puzzles you glue once you get it all together and you frame it.

This brings me to my next point.


To win the Stanley Cup, the winner has to have played like a team. You can throw any ol’ group of guys together but that doesn’t make them a team if they aren’t a cohesive unit and if there is no give and take throughout the lineup. You have to be happy where you are each night and play like you mean it.

I’m not questioning the Canucks ultimate will to win, but another key to their recent lack of success can be attributed to the number of moves made at the trade deadline.

Gillis essentially shook up every part of the team and glue doesn’t just stick itself. This team, and they are a team, has had to adjust and adjusted they have.

Zack Kassian and Samuel Pahlsson have contributed in recent games and been more reliable than in their first batch.

Marc-Andre Gragnani is still finding his way on the blueline but when you have that much depth at one position, it’s going to be a battle to make it into the lineup each night, which brings me to my final point.

Confusing Canucks

Sure, the Avs are duking it out with about 5 other teams for that playoff spot but for them, the Canucks have been the hardest puzzle to solve all season long.

Gabriel Landeskog shoots on Bobby Lu in a game this past February. (Photo - Associated Press)

The Canucks have outscored Colorado 15-3 in just four games this season and we still have two to see unfold.

It’s hard to decipher exactly why the rumbling ones can’t spin the rubix cube that is the Canucks so that the colours match. Perhaps it is firepower or perhaps it’s just the will of the hockey gods that Vancouver has their way with Colorado this year.

Either way, it’s fun to watch, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.

Picture it this way: The Avalanche led by Matt Duchene and Calder favourite Gabriel Landeskog have completed the very outer edge of the Canucks puzzle and still have around 900 of 1000 pieces to go.

Should they get just 1 piece to connect to the inside of the border, a still fragile and relatively care-free Canucks team could come crumbling down…off the edge of the table…but hopefully neatly into a box.

BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver Canucks

Watch for Gabriel Landeskog in years to come. The rookie point leader has 47 points in 76 games and with Milan Hejduk sure to exit the NHL any time now, the next Canucks killer could be this 19 year old from none other than Stockholm, Sweden.

Oh and notice how I didn’t mention Daniel Sedin. That’s because he can’t be worried about. There is nothing we can do to speed up his recovery unless you or someone you know knows dark magic.

In that case, please stand up.

Otherwise, this team is just going have to deal with being sans Daniel and win like the team they should be able to play like.

Puck drop is at 7PM on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and TEAM1040 Radio. Sadly, we will have to listen to Mark Lee and Kevin Weekes orgasm multiple times over non-orgasm worthy things; that is unless Alex Edler skates end to end for a goal again.

Here’s to hoping.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY ON NWSB Who would you rather see the Canucks face in Round 1?

© Vancan19 for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

Follow NWSB on Twitter or join US on Facebook for real-time updates OR... | Share This on Twitter | Share NWSportsBeat.com on Facebook

Post tags: Canucks Blog, Canucks Clubhouse, Canucks Matchups, Canucks Preview, Canucks vs. Avalanche, Canucks vs. Avalanche Gameday, Canucks vs. Avalanche Preview, Colorado, Colorado Avalanche, Daniel Sedin, Duncan Keith, Gabriel Landeskog, game 75, Henrik Sedin, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Matt Duchene, NHL, pepsi center, Roberto Luongo, Rogers Arena, samuel pahlsson, vancouver, Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Canucks vs. Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver vs. Colorado, Zack Kassian

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate during presser

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China


Wade Phillips is the best coordinator hire this offseason

Bill Belichick gives understated scouting report of Tom Brady

Five teams that failed to improve this offseason

Steelers fans were more profane on social media

Seahawks praise Tom Brady's trash-talking ability

Richard Sherman's girlfriend talks possible Super Bowl baby

Ranking the repeat Super Bowl champions

Eric Decker to Sherman: Time your conception a little better

Could Katy Perry and Russell Wilson be dating?

The Media isn't the villain we deserve, but it's the one we need

Are LeBron and the Cavs ready to make a run?

The Super Bowl and the things that can't be controlled

DeMarcus Cousins calls out writer for five-year-old tweet

What if Drew Bledsoe didn't get injured in 2001?

Who should make up the 2015 Hall of Fame class

WATCH: Porn sounds played during Predators broadcast

Five worst teams to win a Super Bowl

Matt Damon, Ben Affleck defend Patriots on Kimmel

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Katy Perry, Russell Wilson dating?

Rex Ryan has advice for Seahawks

Super Bowl: Things you can't control

LeBron and the Cavs are ready to make a run

Cousins calls out writer's old tweet

Seahawks praise Brady's trash-talk

Who should be in 2015 HOF class

Rex Ryan downplays Deflategate

Brady hopes Manning comes back

The worst Super Bowl commercials of all-time

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.