Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 2/11/14

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 31: Brad Richardson #15 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates his teams second goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on January 31, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. The Kings defeated the Devils 3-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
When it was presented to Brad Richardson that the Olympic break is coming at just the right time for the Vancouver Canucks, he vehemently disagreed. “We could have used it two weeks ago,” an astute Richardson pointed out. What has happened since has been disastrous, and will rank among the most crushing stretches in Canucks history. Over the course of a seven-game losing streak, the Canucks failed to earn a point, lost their coach for six games and lost their ironman and captain, who played three games in three weeks, and none of them well. They lost their best free-agent signing, Mike Santorelli, for the season. They lost defencemen — several of them — to injuries, including three of their best: Dan Hamhuis, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev. They lost the confidence their most-devoted fans had in them. They have not, however, lost the faith of their general manager. “We’re going to be all right,” Mike Gillis valiantly predicted. His message was a simple one. Don’t expect this team to base any decisions on what has happened in the first six weeks of 2014, no matter who miserable they were. He has the backing of owner Francesco Aquilini, who visited his team here, and is as upbeat as he’s ever been. He is as convinced as his general manager that these Canucks, the ones who would make death row look good, are not real the Canucks. They do have a case. The Canucks have been, at times, without five of their best players. Six if you want to include Alex Burrows, who has been hopeless with that shield protecting his jaw. There are not many NHL teams who could have sustained success missing those kind of pieces. “Quite honestly, I’ve never been through so many injuries at one time in all the years I’ve coached,” John Tortorella said.
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