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Slumping Canucks search for answers as losses pile up

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TSN.ca Staff
1/16/2009 3:36:14 PM
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The day after the Phoenix Coyotes spoiled Roberto Luongo's return by handing Vancouver a 4-1 drubbing, the Canucks are a team searching for answers.

Talk radio in Vancouver has even started heating up with discussion of firing head coach Alain Vigneault.  But Canucks GM Mike Gillis dismissed that notion on Team 1040 radio Friday morning.

"Listen, everyone is here because I brought them in so the responsibility is mine.  We're at the point in this where we can get emotional and we can get angry and we can start pointing fingers," said Gillis.  "Instead, my approach is that we're going to be more analytical, we're going to boil it down, and we're going to work hard."

"To suggest that the same coach that people were saying has changed his style - the team plays great, everyone's happy - a month and a half ago should now be replaced, is nonsense," Gillis added.  "It's all of our responsibilities, it isn't just Alain's, and that's how we're going to approach it."

Luongo, out since November 22 with a groin injury, was shaky in his first game back on Thursday night, allowing a goal by Joakim Lindstrom on the first shot of the game.

"For myself it was a rough start," said Luongo. "These next couple of days are really going to be important for me in practice to sharpen up as much as I can."

While some rust on Luongo is perhaps to be expected after such a long absence, it doesn't change the fact that the Canucks have struggled mightily of late.  The spiralling squad has now lost four in a row, having been outscored 19-10 over that span. 

"I understand the frustration that our group is going through. I understand the frustration of the fans," Vigneault said after the loss to Phoenix. "They believe we have a good team. We believe we have a good team. We need to show it and obviously right now we're not showing it."

The Canucks are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games, and have struggled to a 1-4-0 record since the much-hyped acquisition of former Maple Leafs' captain Mats Sundin, a move which was supposed to bolster the club's offence.

Sundin, who turns 38 next month, has a goal and an assist in five games.

Despite their recent woes, the Canucks are still 22-19-5, good enough for seventh in the Western Conference through 46 games.

Roberto Luongo (Photo: Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
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