by Bill Heintz
Most sports have trash talk.
Football is notorious for it, with D-backs constantly reminding wide receivers about the loose morals of their sisters.
Hockey is much the same. Guys like Sean Avery raised (lowered?) the bar set by guys like Mathew Barnaby a few years back.
On the Canucks we have Kesler and Burrows getting involved in chirping at the opponents. Ray Ferraro said he heard five short jokes in a skirmish with the Nucks and Habs recently. And he was pleased to report that he hadn’t heard three of them before!
After the Minnesota game the Canucks were saying all the right things about team effort and such. The newspapers concurred the next day. And that’s a head scratcher for me. I maybe watched a different game. I thought the Canuck efforts on the weekend bordered on the pathetic.
They didn’t look anything like a team. As my friend Gord said, “we were supposed to have great depth! A couple of injuries and we look like a bad high school team.”
Certainly we have a couple or three key injuries. But good teams pull together at times like these. We aren’t pulling together and the quest for the Stanley Cup is falling apart before the season even gets going.
No need to panic, true, but when I see rival teams playing with twice the intensity of our guys, it brings up some serious questions. And I mention the quest for the Stanley Cup only because the leadership of this team spoke openly about it before the season began. The last time we did that we didn’t make the playoffs.
The good thing about the collective malaise is that it is early. This attitude thing can be turned around. I’ve seen other teams do it and I know we can. But attitude is amorphous. It’s difficult to identify the exact problem affecting the team. But for my money, I see a sense of entitlement in this group and that is an infection that may be difficult to cure.
Will it help that we are playing another division rival tonight?
The Edmonton fans are salivating at the prospect. They love to refer to the Sedins as the sisters, but that kind of ridiculous bravado belies the fact that Daniel and Henrik have absolutely owned these stubble jumpers from the oil sands for a few years now.
Now, with Daniel out, the Edmonton fans see a ray of hope, built both on our injuries and the fact that Edmonton hasn’t stunk out their own arena this season…much like they did for most of last year.
But talk is cheap. Our boys are all singing the same tune about work ethic and commitment to sixty minute hockey.
I just need to see it on the ice.