The four veterans were the first to speak during Monday’s locker clean out day for the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena, and they didn’t shy away from pointing fingers exactly where they needed to be pointed – at themselves.
“With the way things have gone the last couple of years with having had a coach let go last year and a GM a couple weeks ago, it’s not a good feeling for us right now, especially the four guys up here, we feel responsible for it,” said Bieksa.
“The bottom line is if we win more games, guys don’t lose their jobs. Moving forward, we’ll see what decisions are made but we’re looking at ourselves first and foremost and that we could have been better and should have been better.”
The Canucks were all kinds of better through the first 41 games of the season. Vancouver sported a record of 23-11-07 at the midway mark of the year, good for 53 points, the same amount the Canucks had after 41 games during their 111-point Presidents’ Trophy winning 2011-12 season.
The calendar then flipped to 2014 and the wheels fell off.
Forget you 2014.
Vancouver won just 13 of its remaining 41 games and were it not for Sunday night’s 5-1 win over Calgary, the Canucks would have finished below .500 for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
Either way, the Canucks are on the outside looking in and are facing a long off-season.
“We’re going to rest for six months and see what happens,” laughed Daniel Sedin, who was in good spirits despite the major scare he encountered Sunday.
“This is on us and we have something to prove next year, that’s a good feeling,” said Henrik Sedin. “We want to work hard and come back and play well for these guys and for our teammates.”
Dubbing this summer the 'off-season of change' is a bit harsh, but change is already underway. Trevor Linden is now president and a new general manager will be brought in soon.
As far as roster turnover, the veterans warned that while youth needs to be served, they aren’t ready for the slaughter just yet.
“I don’t think we’re too far off,” said Bieksa. “With the year that we had, there were so many things that went wrong, we didn’t quite get any breaks, but halfway through the season we were in good shape. We were playing good hockey, we knew what our system was, we were playing it well, we were executing.
“We have the right pieces, we still believe in this personnel, I still believe in this core, we don’t buy that the core is too old. We have a lot of good, young players coming up: Tanev, Kassian, Stanton, Jensen; we’ve got a lot of young guys coming up that will get big roles and influence this team in the near future.
“We’re in our prime, we’re not past it, but it’s up to us to prove that to everybody again next year.”
Maybe the best word to sum up the veteran media availability isn’t self-loathing.