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Press Round-Up: OCT.30.07

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver slow out of the gate, weak on the draw

Grant Kerr didn’t expect Halloween so soon as he discovered that the Canucks haven’t been themselves lately.

“The Vancouver Canucks are clearly possessed because they can't seem to gain possession often enough after the puck drops early in the NHL campaign,” said Kerr.

“Vancouver is ranked a dismal 30th and last on faceoffs with a team efficiency of only 43 per cent, which partially explains the 5-7 start to the regular season.”

Kerr said, “The Canucks often are chasing the play after draws, and frustration sets in, especially on special teams when possession has added importance when killing penalties or on power plays.”

"Starting with the puck is such a big difference," head coach Alain Vigneault conceded yesterday after practice. "Our guys have been working on it, like every other part of our game. Hopefully, we'll improve and all get better."

“The Canucks showed some improvement in their last game when going against the best faceoff team in the league,” said Kerr. “The Detroit Red Wings won 52 per cent of the draws last Sunday during a 3-2 win. The Canucks were at 48 per cent, well above their norm.”

"A lot of it with faceoffs is timing," Morrison said. "When you get into a groove, it seems really easy and you have a tough time losing them.

"When you're not winning draws cleanly, that's when you have to change your mindset and almost play for ties, getting your wingers involved in battles. That's kind of where we are right now."
Needed: More goals, better defense

Ben Kuzma said that Coach Alain Vigneault is beginning to bring awareness to his offensive and defensive line that he needs more.

"It's not about sending messages or being critical," said Vigneault. "I'm just stating the facts. Pressure does different things to different people, whether it be the twins or Roberto or our defence."

"Major breakdowns are leading to goals and they can be corrected with proper awareness," said Vigneault.

Kuzma said, “Mitchell twice failed to break up cross-ice passes on a 2-on-1 break that resulted in Mikael Samuelsson's goal with Bieksa caught up ice on the play.”

"For a player of his calibre, it shouldn't happen to have a pass go through you twice," said Vigneault. "And in Kevin's case, he can be better.

"Our defensive play is probably the most alarming thing as a whole," said Brendan Morrison. "I'm not pointing the finger at our defencemen, but when he had it going last year we had a total confidence that we could shut down anybody at any given moment.

"Right now, we don't have that."
Double trouble

Elliot Pap said that the twins started this season at the top of the league in power play points, but they aren’t producing enough during 5-on-5.

“The Sedins' lack of production at even strength is just another in a lengthy list of problems bedeviling the 5-7-0 Canucks. One day, it's the penalty kill, the next day it's faceoffs, the day after that, it's an inability to generate shots on goal,” Pap said.

"The coach doesn't have to say that, we know it already," Daniel responded Monday following an hour-long practice at the PNE Agrodome. "We haven't been good enough 5-on-5 and that's the bottom line. If we start producing 5-on-5, we'll probably start winning some games, too. It's up to us to get it going."

Pap said, “Henrik insists the twins' lack of production at even strength has little to do with Vigneault's revolving door on their right side. So far, the rascally redheads have skated with struggling rookie Mason Raymond, last year's partner Taylor Pyatt and journeyman Brad Isbister.”

"It doesn't matter who we're playing with if we're not going," said Henrik. "We have to play better. I think the Detroit game was a step in the right direction. We had our legs moving, we were moving the puck and we had a couple of scoring chances."

"It's up to Henrik and me to start taking charge out there," Daniel stated. "It's up to us to start playing well."
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