WORDS OF WISDOM
It wasn’t the kind of welcome back game that the team wanted for captain Roberto Luongo
, but the players showed up in full force this morning to forget last night’s 4-1 loss to Phoenix and get their game back on track.
One notable absence from this morning’s high energy practice was Alex Burrows who spent the morning in the infirmary getting “tender love and care” as head coach Alain Vigneault described it, after getting hit with a Kevin Bieksa
slap shot. The gritty winger will be back for Sunday’s game against Columbus.
“I think everyone within this organization right now understands our situation,” said Vigneault of the Canucks' current slump. “Everyone in this organization, from ownership to management to coaches to players, are all working together to find solution to our situation. Everyone’s sharing input.”
Vigneault doesn’t see anyone blaming each other, but rather everyone working together to get their game to where is should be.
“It’s tough to say sometimes why you lose your game, or parts of your game," said Vigneault. "I do think right now the way to get our game back is a simple one, pay attention to the defensive part of our game. Part of our offence was playing good defence, making the right decisions, the right reads and when we did that, instinctively it lead to good offensive chances. As soon as we do that we’ll be on the right track.”
The mistakes that the team is making aren’t ones that this group usually makes and ones they believe aren’t hard to correct. Vigneault is confident that with hard work the Canucks can play their way out of this slump.
The players aren't making excuses for their inconsistent play that have resulted in a four game losing streak and six consecutive losses on home ice. Their perspective echos that of the coaching staff, that the talent, attitude, and work ethic is there, they just have to stop over-thinking on-ice situations.
“I think it’s just a matter of getting back to basics a little bit,” said Luongo. “We all know what type of group we have and that we’re capable of winning. That’s not a question. I think it’s just a matter of getting back to doing little things, sometimes getting a bit more simple and things will straighten out from here on out.”
Following practice today, Vigneault let the reporters in on his advice to the players, something he rarely does.
“At the end of practice today I talked about, sometimes you think too much on the ice," said Vigneault. "When you’re driving your car, instinctively you step on the gas, you step on the brakes, red light, green light, yellow light, car cutting in front, it’s done automatically without thinking. Hockey is the same way. It’s the reads on the ice, it’s like driving your car, you know what you’re doing.
“These guys have all done our forechecking principles, our defensive zone coverage principles, our puck principles. They all know, they all see it, they all instinctively know how to react. Same thing as driving your car, you can’t be thinking about it too much. That was my last message to them today.”
The players for their part feel that the coaching staff is doing a great job and defend them when the blame gets pointed that way.
“No, it’s not about the coaching staff,” said Mattias Ohlund. “We have a great coaching staff, they don’t play the game. We obviously get instructions on how to play, but it’s up to the guys on the ice to perform. It’s pretty tough to look around the room right now and find a lot of guys that are playing well or playing up to their potential. This league is just way too hard to play in when you don’t have everyone playing at their best.”
The Canucks look to get back to basics before facing off against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.