No Excuses

Wednesday, 06.12.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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No Excuses

DEC.06.06


INJURY BUG

 
The Canucks have enough to worry about with their scoring slump and 2-7-1 record against vital divisional match-ups but you can add just one more to the list. Injuries to some key players will definitely play a factor in their success over the next few weeks.

With injuries to Sami Salo and Taylor Pyatt, the Canucks will be missing some offensive presence. Salo and Pyatt both scored in the Canucks last win against Edmonton and Pyatt is the second on the team in goals, behind Markus Naslund.

The Canucks will have to just grin and bear it.

"We're a good team and a good team has to find ways to win even when you're short personnel," said Alain Vigneault. "Everybody goes through situations like this and we're no different than anybody else."

"Teams have issues with injuries all the time, said Willie Mitchell. "So we're just going to have to play a simple game when your numbers are down and maybe sometimes that's what the doctor ordered as far as scoring some more goals: keep it simple."

The Canucks were 1-4 without Salo in the lineup, who missed four games with injuries earlier this year.


STEP IT UP

The recent injuries on the Canucks leaves room for other players to step in to fill the void and this means more offence from the guys who haven't been producing results on the scoreboard.

"Guys who are going to get to have a bigger contribution are going to have to do that," said Vigneault. "They're going to get more ice time and maybe in a different role and hopefully they'll be able to help us win games.

"What I have here is a good team and players right now that are underachieving."

Players who he named Matt Cooke, who has five points (1-4-5), Brendan Morrison with 12 points (6-6-12), and Alex Burrows, who's yet to score his first goal this year but has six assists, although the list is not extensive.

"I can't believe all their skill and talent has gone out the window," said Vigneault "Their focus has to be what they have to do to be successful on the ice, not who they're playing with, who they think they should be playing with, and that's we're going to try to do."

"Some other guys have scored in the past and they have to find a way to contribute so that we can win more games."

"Guys who are going to step in are going to make the best of it," said Salo. "I think we have a lot of guys who can step in and do the job."


LINE DANCE

It's been talked to death and we all get it, the Canucks are struggling with scoring but that's not completely true. There is goal scoring , it's just all on one line.

Naslund has 12 goals, tied with the likes of Petr Sykora and Ryan Getzlaf, he's even ahead of Sydney Crosby. However, the Sedins and Naslund account for 22 of the Canucks 58 goals. Pyatt and Salo have another 13.

Although the Canucks top line is working, maybe it's time to try something new.

"Obviously right now we're not a very tough team to shut down. We have one line, if they play their top line or their top d-pair, if they play those guys hard, that's why we need other guys to live up to expectations."

"I think right now, we're probably going to split them up but we're not on the ice until Thursday so I have until Thursday to think this through."

With the injuries to Pyatt and Rypien, Vigneault maybe switching things up. Chances are the Sedins will have a new linemate and Naslund will be reunited with an old one.

Tuesday's practice saw the Sedins skating with Ryan Kesler, while Naslund and Morrison get acquainted with Jan Bulis, who 's been kept scoreless in the last 13 games. Marc Chouinard replaced an injured Rick Rypien to join Alex Burows and Tyler Bouck. Matt Cooke, Trevor Linden, and Tommi Santala round out the group of forwards.

"I think we're all hoping to do whatever it's going to take to get the wins and get the scoring," said Naslund. "I enjoy playing with the twins but if it benefits the team then there are other players I can play with."

"Everybody that's played with [the Sedins] has found a way to score some goals," said Vigneault.

Pyatt, who played with the Sedins earlier in the season already bested his numbers from last year and hopefully Kesler can get going with his new linemates.


EVEN KEEL

The Canucks are now last in the league at 2.07 goals per game, although they've been able to pull out some higher goal totals, there haven't been many.

"We're not getting scoring that we need to win on a consistent basis," said Vigneault.

"We haven't been scoring a lot of goals consistently and it's just time to bear down and put the puck in the net and score some more goals," said Salo.

A theme that's arisen is consistency, we're all consistently talking about the lack of goal scoring but with eight of their last 17 games scoring two or fewer goals, it's hard to ignore.

But something else that's been consistent is the team's work ethic. Something to be admired with the critics nipping at their every move.

"I think we're being challenged and I think we're facing adversity," says Vigneault. "We've got to stick to what we are. What we are is, I think, a smart, hardworking hockey team. Today the mood is not upbeat but it's a work day. We came here, we have work to do."

"That's the way it is, we've got work to do and we're going to come here everyday and we're going to work and we're going to get it done."

The Canucks, who are 2-2 on their current homestand, will not use their struggling offence and current injuries as an excuse when they face last year's Stanley Cup champs, Carolina Hurricanes, on Friday.

"With our goal scoring that hasn't been going and you lose a couple key players, that's not good but good teams find a way to get things done under the turmoil and we're going to have to do that so we've got to keep it simple," said Mitchell.