by Bill Heintz
The urge to point fingers can be overwhelming. Especially when off season signings and pre-season hype were so overwhelmingly positive. The defense looks terrible. Edler is confused. Bieksa can’t skate. Who is this Ehrhoff character? Can Salo hit the net? Ever?
Remember the picture of Cloutier with a beach ball behind him? How about Roberto’s performance last game!!! Kristian Huselius beats him…with an unscreened wrist shot? Ah, jeeze Louise.
And where’s the offense? Anyone who said we were a one line team before the season was roundly thrashed on the chatboards. Kesler, in a contract year, was about to take the next step. Shirokov was being mentioned in Calder Cup previews. Newly slimmed Wellwood and Bernier would team with newly bulked Mason Raynmond and suddenly we had a first line and two second lines, all of whom could be counted on to score. In bunches.
Talk about a WTF moment three games in!
Now before we get too deep into hysteria (from the Greek, wandering uteris) take a quick glance at the current standings and see who the last place suckers are in the three Western Conference divisions. Yep, Detroit and Anaheim also are undergoing early season struggles so we ain’t alone in the pity pit.
Of course the pundits tell you that a win will clear all the fog away and we will once again resume our journey to our assured destiny. Well, I’d like to make a small point here. What I’m looking for tonight is not a win. What I’m looking for tonight is a total team effort where the Canuck automobile runs on all cylinders. A team in synch where everyone does there own jobs and trusts that everyone of their teammates does the same. A game where no one is hung out to dry.
Because I’ve watched the game long enough to get a sick feeling in my stomach when I don’t see that team effort…and trust me it takes all of about three minutes to see whether it’s there or not. When it’s not, we see players struggling to get out of their own zone, passes that end up in skates, slap shots that are “just wide” and sure goals bouncing off posts. And a group of players that deflates at the first sign of adversity.
We’ve seen the other side of this coin as well. And when that happens the sun shines in Canuckville. But that kind of magic is, by definition, ephemeral.
We know it comes out of work, of couse, but we’ve seen hard work produce horrid results. It’s simple really: true team work results in wins. And team is what’s missing. That’s what I need to see tonight, win or lose.
I need to see a team.