Heading into October 2014, the questions surrounding the Canucks were endless after a long off-season. Would this team be competitive or would this team be in a rebuild mode? Would the Sedins be able to rebound? Would Bonino and company find their place in the lineup?
Yes it has only been ONE month and counting in the 2014-2015 regular season BUT they have skated themselves into an impressive 7-3-0 record amassing 14 points in the standings along the way. Yes there is still a LONG way to go before all is said and done, BUT no matter what happens the rest of the way, this team already has a much more determined mindset than they did all of last season. It has been refreshing.
October 2014 has shown us a little bit of everything from the good to the bad, to the wizardry to the “how could THAT happen” moments.
The Canucks opened a three game road-trip in Dallas looking the ever tired team falling behind 5-0 early in the middle frame leading to Ryan Miller being pulled. The team did manage to score 3 goals but it was not enough to come all the way back.
That same three-game road trip was closed out with an ugly 7-3 loss in Colorado. Eddie Lack was strong in the first half but did not receive any offensive help from his defense or forwards as the team’s tiredness playing their third game in four nights became more evident as the game wore on. For the Avs, they finally found the scoring they desperately needed and for the Canucks they could not catch up before the game was out of their hands.
Alex Burrows received a 3-game suspension for a hit on Alexei Emelin during the game against Montreal.
The question of whether or not the Sedins and Radim Vrbata would find a spark or any sign of some chemistry was answered emphatically in the first ten games. The trio, “Vrdinery” if you will, has combined for 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) and creating magic moments left and right to the delight of the fans. Yes, it is true that they struggled as the season wore on last year, BUT they are making a case so far to prove that they STILL have what it takes to be point-per-game players.
Speaking of those ridiculously amazing SEDINERY moments, how about this overtime winner vs. Montreal to close out a memorable October?
Last season, it took Alex Burrows 36 GAMES (yes 36 games!) to score his first goal of the year, THIS year he opened the scoring for the Canucks season with the team’s FIRST goal of the year:
Remember the conundrum that was the ability to score an empty net goal last season? It was near impossible with the team only managing 2 through 82 games! THIS year in the 10 games in October, they already scored FIVE of those once near impossible goals and that twist of fate began with THIS most epic empty net goal from Hank:
The power-play through ten games in October struck the net, NINE times while working at a 23.7% success rate. I should mention that THREE of those nine PPG’s came from rookie Linden Vey who has been rewarded for being in the right place at the right time combined with a great wrist shot.
Ryan Miller while adjusting to a new team and new system has been quietly having an impressive start to the 2014-2015 regular season. He has led the team with an impressive 7-1-0 record, a respectable 2.27 GAA, a 0.917 save percentage and earned his first shutout in a Canuck uniform. Also included in his early stats, that shutout was the 30th of his career AND his 300th career win. Most impressive, perhaps his COMEBACK game in St.Louis after being pulled in Dallas making 31 stops including 15 in the third! An impressive outing for Millsy in his first game versus his former team.
Do you like quick starts that include scoring the first goal of a game? The Canucks have adopted that habit more than once this season, including this quick score by Chris Higgins in the aforementioned St.Louis game:
Nick Bonino will probably always be unfairly compared to Ryan Kesler as long he remains a Canuck due to the trade in which he was acquired. If he keeps scoring goals like these, perhaps people will stop comparing the two and simply focus on how awesome these goals are:
Fingers crossed we get to see many more goals just like those!
Ahh yes, I know October was merely only the beginning of the 82-game trek that is the regular season but in those ten games we saw more heart and fight to play for one another in the lineup than in the entirety of the season last year. It has been refreshing to see THIS team play each and every game, with a united determination to play their best as a TEAM. This group is finding its groove again under the leadership of new coach Willie Desjardins who seems to have instilled EACH player with the mindset that if they give their all in every game, ANYTHING is possible.
From an impressive October, here’s to whatever the month of November and beyond MAY hold for the Vancouver Canucks as the season continues. The Canucks will face an big test on their upcoming road trip as they take on the California trifecta that is the LA Kings, San Jose Sharks and Kesler’s Anaheim Ducks. Last season those three teams, caused the Canucks trouble and cost some timely points in the standings, a result they would like to fix THIS year. No one said the Pacific Division would be easy, but it is a challenge the team looks forward to taking head on as the season progresses.
I am sure there will be some more bumps in the road but there will also be some incredible moments and I look forward to being on sidelines of each and every moment along the way.
As always, until next time, nuck said.