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Hodgemail: Are the struggling Canucks in trouble?

TSN.ca Staff
3/22/2012 2:32:24 AM
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With the regular season winding down, the Vancouver Canucks have the Northwest Division all but locked up and are sitting comfortably in second position in the Western Conference.

However, despite sitting nine points clear of their closest division rivals, the Colorado Avalanche, all is not well in Vancouver at the moment.

The Canucks have dropped five of their last seven games and look nothing like a team getting set for another run to the Stanley Cup Final.

Their latest stumble was a 2-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild on Monday. It was the first time since October 26 the Canucks have been held without a goal and a tough way to start their current four-game road trip.

One of the big reasons for the team's recent troubles has been a lack of production from their top lines. Leading scorer Henrik Sedin and brother Daniel have combined for just seven points between them in the team's last eight games, with four of those points coming in a win over lowly Columbus.

The Canucks have also been shaky at the back end with inconsistent play in goal. Roberto Luongo, who was back in net when the Canucks visited the Blackhawks Wednesday, has lost three of his last four starts and was pulled in the other.

So here was Dave's question to you: "With the Canucks' recent struggles in mind, is Vancouver in big trouble, a bit of trouble, or no real trouble at all?"

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

Leon writes: "The Canucks are in no real trouble at all. That comes when they're facing elimination in the playoffs, and the only question is: which round?"

Dave sends this: "Scoring is down, Luongo is struggling, and puck possession is horrible - if they're not panicking, I certainly am!"

Ed had this to say: "this question could have been asked of the Bruins last week. Then they played the Leafs. The real trouble is, the Canucks don't."

Stu is an optimist: "The Canucks aren't in trouble until they lose four times to the same team in the playoffs, and I'm thinking that won't happen...this time."

Dan says: "I don't worry about the Canucks. I worry about the fans who think Vigneault should be fired."

Andrew is apparently one of those: "Let's look on the bright side. The team needs a shakeup, and a first-round playoff exit would provide it."

And from another Andrew: "You picked a good night to ask this question. I'll have my answer after the game against the Blackhawks."

And Dave's Reply to All:

If the month of March winds up costing the Canucks a second straight Presidents' Trophy, well, you know how much time they should spend worrying about that.

And if they don't head to the playoffs on a winning streak, no big deal. They lost twice to Edmonton in last season's final week - scored one goal - and then won their first three playoff games.

There is an eye-opening stat from these last 10 games - the number of Vancouver players who have outscored Henrik and Daniel Sedin is no less than seven, and three of them are defencemen.

That's not supposed to happen, at any time, to a team's leading scorers.

But no matter what the Sedins are doing in March, the fans are waiting to see them and judge them in April.

As for goaltending, I believe my time is up.

I see no real trouble for the Canucks. When they lose to Minnesota and Montreal, you can safely say that won't happen in the playoffs. Maybe a game against Chicago is just what they need.


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