When John Tortorella was brought in to replace Alain Vigneault as the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks this offseason, everyone was wondering how things would go when the team hit a rough patch. Surprisingly the fiery coach had maintained his composure during a recent four-game winless skid. Tortorella thought his team had actually been playing well, but things finally boiled over after a 3-2 shootout loss on home ice to the lowly Florida Panthers.
The Canucks saw their winless skid hit five games, and they’ve netted a mere six goals during that span. Tortorella was distressed by the poor effort and felt his team showed a lack of respect for an opponent and ultimately paid the price. The Canucks fell to 11-8-4 on the season in a game where their coach termed the performance lethargic and said it was their worst game of the season.
Tortorella is bang on in that description and really seemed at a loss to explain the clunker. He added there were no easy games in the league and given their struggles they shouldn’t have taken the Panthers lightly. It’s been a difficult season in Florida where they’ve already made a coaching change and find themselves near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The coach’s message was a clear one, and he’s hoping that the coaching staff and his veteran group can figure things out moving forward as the Canucks tumble down the standings in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
Henrik Sedin continues to lead the offense with four goals and 18 assists on the season, and his twin brother Daniel has added 17 points on the campaign. However, there are currently a number of players in prolonged slumps. Alex Burrows hasn’t scored this season in 11 games while David Booth continues to be a disappointment. He was a healthy scratch against his old Florida team, and the injury-prone Booth has produced just one goal and two assists in 13 games.
Fortunately for the offensively challenged Canucks, there’s been no issue in goal. Both Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack have been strong this season. Tortorella has issued his first real stern message of the season, and it’ll be interesting to see how his charges respond moving forward.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports