Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What happened?

Slump aside, this is not a championship team.

We've heard Mike Gillis talk about how the team can push the button, unfortunately, at their best, this team ain't going to the promise land, and they've spent more time wandering in the desert now than Israel so the grace period is up. 

Who is to blame for this abomination of a team?  Ownership?  The Players? AV?

The man I feel is mostly responsible for this innexplicabable backward step is a guy I greatly respect, Mike Gillis.  He is the GM of this team, and he has been given the helm of the Canucks ship to stear it as he sees fit, and he's now guilty of self-preservation-based decision making which has left the Canucks adrift.  Sadly, it will be Alain Vigneault taking the fall when this Gillis-built team tanks in round one (yes, if, not when).

He's gone overboard on following the Red Wings prototype.  He's had one too many sips of Ken Holland's Kool-Aid.  Even the great architect of the Wings would've made better, more drastic deadline moves. 

AV is not without guilt.  His line juggling is infuriating and pointless.  He finally had the gutts to put Raymond in the press box after Gillis failed to pawn him off, but now, and without any good reason, his one game banishment sees him in a top six role again.  The way he always has a whipping-boy to make an example of finally cost the organization.  It was OK when it was Willie Mitchell, Keith Ballard, Shane O'brien, hell, even Captain Canuck had an extended run in Coach V's dog house, but when you take the future of the franchise and bury them until they force managements hand, well, blood is on your hands Alain.  But it's not just Cody Hodgson experiencing a puzzling playing time drought, why are David Booth, and the prized return for CoHo, Zack Kassian starved for ice?  It's bad enough AV's lack of emotion fails to inspire great play, as has always been the knock, but he now looks as if he's finally run his course in this town.

Perhaps most mystifying is the double-speak from the front office.  Gillis swore this team wouldn't add gritt just to match up against one team, but on deadline day this team took a new direction, and unfortunately the change in plans exposed some strucural issues with the foundation of the group.

Ryan Kesler is proving to be a primadonna; a one man show, and AV couldn't have been more right when he said he needs to use his linemates more.  Rather than calling him out if AV had moved trigger-happy RK17 to the wing and given CoHo the minutes at second line center this team would still be the offensive force it was earlier this year, but now CoHo is gone, Kess is still a shoot-first pivot, and if you don't think that's a problem see exibit: Jokinen, Oli. 

This is why I feel Gillis is more to blame than AV who will undoubtedly be first to the breadlines.  Given AV's propencity to shuffle why of all people was CoHo left out of the blender?  Because managements plan of keeping players under value didn't fit with Cody Hodgson's unexpected success.  What he did offesnively with minescule dolings of ice time forced him to get more minutes, and if he had gotten them, and with the Sedin Slump, he probably would be the teams leading scorer and due for a Mike Richards or Jeff Carter-style second contract, and this is why we got another RFA in return.  Kassian is buried on the fourth line, while MayRay gets back in the top six and Chris Higgins, perhaps the most consistent Canuck forward, and totally deserving of second line minutes, is a third liner on a championship team.

Gillis gave up nothing at the deadline, and then totally handcuffed his coach and this team.  His commitment to longevity and lack of ability to pull the trigger on a deal that would take this team over the top has deflated this fan base.  We don't want to be a great regular season team for the next decade, we want a cup - NOW! 

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