Bruce Boudreau may officially be out of answers.
The Canucks’ head coach, known for his upbeat and positive attitude, sounded nothing like the guy that first arrived in Vancouver 13 months ago after Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the New York Islanders.
It was just the latest blowout loss on home ice for the Canucks this season — the sixth time in 18 games at Rogers Arena that Vancouver has lost by four goals.
Despite a talented lineup of players, on too many nights, this Canucks team hasn’t shown enough effort on the ice. Their own players have said it before this season, and so has the coach.
It’s almost becoming routine to say post-game that the other team wanted it more — a damning indictment for an NHL team.
You don’t have to look far to see how little the Canucks seemed to care about winning on Wednesday when compared to their opponent.
The Canucks were outshot 29-26 and outhit 30-22. They gave the puck away 13 times, compared to just three giveaways by the Islanders.
New York blocked 18 shots, while the Canucks blocked only three, including none from their forwards — defenceman Luke Schenn had one block, while Tyler Myers blocked two.
After the game, Boudreau wore his frustration on his sleeve.
“We keep giving them goals,” Boudreau told reporters, pointing to the multiple giveaways that directly resulted in goals against.
Asked if his players were perhaps trying to do “too much,” Boudreau was having none of it.
“The three defencemen had absolute full control of the puck; they just gave it away.”
The Canucks actually played well in the first period, but the final 40 minutes were a different story.
“God knows,” said Boudreau. “As soon as something bad happens to this team, the adversity we cannot handle, and it seemed like ‘Aww, here we go,’ and then that’s it.”
That’s where Boudreau began to really call out his team.
“We had three blocked shots and they had 18. We mention it every day, we talk about it every day, and we put it on the wall every day. We understand it, I know that’s something that has to be done.
“I can’t go out and make them want to block shots.”
Asked if he was wondering where the “will to win” was, Boudreau once again seemed exasperated.
“You’re talking to the wrong guy, I want to win every night.”
Do his players?
The Canucks had just four third-period shots and had only two before a rather meaningless late-game power play.
Boudreau praised the Islanders’ “commitment” to defending and said they “outworked” the Canucks.
The Canucks are now seven points back of a playoff spot, with two games in hand on the Edmonton Oilers, who hold the last wild card position in the West. But Vancouver also has three other teams they’d need to leapfrog before they get to the Oilers.
Is a playoff spot impossible? Of course not. But the Canucks will need to get on a roll in the second half of the season.
It took 97 points to make the playoffs in the Western Conference last season. The Canucks would reach that point total if they went 31-14-0 in their final 45 games.
That’s hard to envision right now.
- You might also like:
- Could Canucks get Bedard? A look at the NHL draft lottery odds