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The Canucks were terrible last night

Nov 4, 2011, 1:28 PM EDT

Canucks lose Getty Images

Sometimes a team plays well and still loses. This was NOT the case for the Vancouver Canucks last night in Minnesota. The Wild dominated the defending Presidents’ Trophy winners, outshooting them 45-25 and outscoring them 5-1.

What did Canucks’ coach think of his team’s effort?

“We lost 5-1 and our best player by far was our goaltender (Cory Schneider),” said Alain Vigneault. “That about sums it up right there. Our execution was non-existent and [the Wild] were the much better team tonight.”

The players didn’t disagree with their coach’s assessment. In fact, they took it even further.

“This has got to be one of the worst performances I have been part of in this jersey,” said defenseman Kevin Bieksa. “We’re not happy right now.”

Alex Burrows concurred: “It is probably the worst game we have played since I have been here.”

There were plenty of Canucks who had bad nights, but perhaps the biggest concern was the play of Bieksa, who’s struggled badly all season.

Here’s Guillaume Latendresse walking around Bieksa on the Wild’s first goal:

Oy.

Bieksa signed a five-year, $23-million contract in June. The previous summer, the speculation was he’d be traded for salary-cap reasons. However, injuries to a number of Vancouver defensemen and some, uh, “savvy” cap management by the Canucks allowed them to keep the hard-nosed blue-liner that had become a favorite whipping boy of the fans.

Bieksa subsequently formed a successful shutdown partnership with newly acquired Dan Hamhuis, finishing plus-32 while playing the toughest minutes of any defensive pairing. Thus, the big contract.

So far this season, Bieksa is minus-7. Not all his fault, but some is. And if he doesn’t turn his game around, it won’t be long until the whips come out again.

“Kevin is a character individual who knows that we need him and obviously he can play better and quite a few other guys can play better,” said Vigneault.

The Canucks play again tonight in St. Louis.
  1. greatminnesotasportsmind - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Maybe the Wild just played that well? After all they just came off beating Detroit twice in a home and home. But since Minnesota is fly over country, why would anybody say anything nice about Minnesota?

  2. danphipps01 - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Bieksa has two levels of play – “Contract Year” and “Everything Else.” Seriously, Ehrhoff was far and away the better player – hence why he finished eighth in Norris votes last year and Bieksa, with that shiny plus/minus rating, didn’t even crack the list. Partnership with a GOOD defenseman in Hamhuis and pressure from the realization that his salary was on the line got him performing well above the level he can typically be assed to put out. It’s not a talent thing – obviously, he can play well if he wants to – he just doesn’t like working that hard.

    • Nowhere Man - Nov 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      AMEN. Sure he had skate cuts but his results would have been the same. Good talker and that’s about it.

    • vshehane - Nov 4, 2011 at 5:15 PM

      I will just say that we don’t miss Hamhuis in Nashville.

      • danphipps01 - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM

        You have Suter and Weber. Why WOULD you miss him? He was redundant down there. Up here he’s the most solid own-zone guy on the roster.

  3. whatswellydoing - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    The Wild played well, but the Canucks didn’t show up. Don’t know why you singled out Bieksa though. The entire defense looked terrible with Salo out.

  4. imleftcoast - Nov 4, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    I’m waiting for a coaching change.

  5. canucks18 - Nov 4, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    A coaching change? Do you forget last year? Some of you people are so blind to the fact that the season takes 82 games and if you win in the reg season and lose in the playoffs everyone says “the reg season doesn’t matter if you can’t win in the playoffs”.
    Put your pitchforks aside for a few games and let the season get underway a little bit and settle down on the constant “burn em at the stake” attitude

    • danphipps01 - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      “Get underway a little bit”? Five games in I’d have agreed with you. A full month into the season and that excuse is officially crossed off the list. I don’t like the idea of a coaching change either, but goddamn, they’ve got to start doing SOMETHING right. It’s not “Luongo sucks in October,” it’s not “play Cory Schneider, he’s better anyway.” They’ve both played multiple shoddy games, as has just about every player who isn’t a Sedin, Chris Higgins or Alexander Edler. There are holes in every line, in every D pair, and there are a lot of players who just don’t seem to be interested in delivering the work it takes to win. It’s not a “slow start” – it’s pervasive laziness.

    • imleftcoast - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:16 PM

      I remember last year. Alain left Luongo in for 8 goals in Game 3, and started him in Game 4. You want to explain that classic coaching decision to me canucks18? How about benching Ballard in the Finals and calling Baumgartner on the f’ing beach. Squandering talent and chewing gum seem to AV’s only qualifications.

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