It’s hard to imagine a bigger litmus test for this year’s Vancouver Canucks than tonight’s game against the Avalanche in Colorado. The Canucks not only squandered a pair of points by coughing up third-period leads to both the Avs and Blue Jackets on home ice last week, they responded by playing their worst game of the season on Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
I feel sorry for any Canucks fans that chose to set aside two hours of their weekend to watch an atrocious performance devoid of any effort whatsoever. In a game that was a golden opportunity to generate momentum heading into Denver, the Canucks generated a paltry 10 shots on goal against a Blackhawks’ squad that featured nearly as many AHLers as NHLers.
Given the time of the season, the competition and the previous pair of results, Sunday’s embarrassment was both inexcusable and unacceptable, to steal a couple of adjectives from Roberto Luongo’s much publicized comments last week.
With Peter Forsberg’s emotional return to the ice at the Pepsi Center expected to come tonight, there is even less reason to give the Canucks a chance to manufacture a much-needed victory.
In fact, the only reason to believe the local lads are capable of surprising us all is recent history; it was nearly four months ago to the day that Vancouver waltzed into Colorado to face a red-hot Avs’ team after a nauseating 3-0 loss to the Nashville Predators. The Canucks had just lost Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa to gruesome injuries in the aforementioned game, but somehow pulled a 4-3 victory out of the hat in the Mile High city.
Such a victory tonight would speak volumes about the character of this hockey club, but so would another lacklustre effort.
•The Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre was the place to be yesterday morning as a couple Irishmen entertained two different but equally satisfied crowds. CBS golf announcer David Feherty had those who attended the PGA of B.C.’s Spring Seminar guffawing with every word in his first trip to Vancouver, while Anaheim Ducks’ GM Brian Burke also got off a number of memorable one-liners during his address at UBC’s annual Millenium Breakfast.