I am sitting beside Greg Shannon on the plane heading back to Vancouver after the Canucks have beaten the Minnesota Wild 4-1.
It was the 10th game of this 48 game season and he tells me that would be close to game number 18 of an 82 game season. The Canucks are 6-2-2 and in first place in their division. Last season after 18 games the Canucks were 9-8-1. They were in third place in the division. They had scored 64 goals in those 18 games and had allowed 51.
The Sedins were on fire. Henrik had six goals and 14 assists. Daniel had six goals and 16 assists. That was all fine and dandy, but the goals against was scary. The Canucks, at that rate, would have ended up with 86.5 points. At the rate they are going this year in an 82 game season, they would end up with 114 points.
I know it is different this year in the shortened season. I know teams are playing as if they are already in the stretch drive mode, so it is a good thing that the Canucks are concentrating on good team defence. In the 10 games so far this season the Canucks have scored only 28 goals. Henrik has yet to score a goal and has only six assists. Daniel has six goals and five assists. The key to the team’s success is keeping the puck out of their own net. They have allowed a mere 23 goals against and seven of those came in the first game.
People say the power play is not good or the Sedins are not playing well, or they miss Ryan Kesler and all these things are true, but is the bottom line not winning?
The Canucks have found a way to do that and do it on a regular basis. Every coach I ever played for said a win is a win is a win.