Vancouver Canucks Coach John Tortorella Continues to Mix Up Lines in Attempts to End Slump

By Casey Drottar
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

While the Vancouver Canucks were having themselves a decent season a few weeks ago, it appears now things have derailed a bit. Losers of five straight, as well as six of their last seven, things are looking pretty ugly in British Columbia. The slump took full effect Tuesday night thanks to a shootout loss to the woeful Florida Panthers at home. It would now appear the bottom drops out in Vancouver literally anytime Tim Thomas beats Roberto Luongo.

Unsurprisingly, coach John Tortorella isn’t exactly psyched about his team’s current funk. He’s still struggling to find the right line combinations that can generate solid play on a consistent basis. He’s even gone as far as -–gasp—splitting up Henrik and Daniel Sedin. So far, though, nothing’s doing. When asked how he’s approaching line combinations, he responded in typical fashion.

“We’re just throwing s— at the wall hoping something sticks,” said Tortorella. “I’m not going to sit here and…say well, this guy’s doing this, that will work.”

One thing’s for sure; you’ll never be able to accuse Tortorella of beating around the bush. Still, can you blame him for being perplexed? Almost two months into the season, the Canucks remain very hot and cold. They were once firmly seated in the top half of the Western Conference, yet their recent tumble has them six points out of a playoff spot. Obviously looking at standings based on playoff contention isn’t as serious now as it will be come March. Still, sometimes these types of skids can snowball, and before you know it the damage is done.

Vancouver is gearing up for a weekend split between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks, and who knows how many line variations will take the ice between the two games. For what it’s worth, Tortorella admitted he’s not a fan of splitting up lines this much. However, he’s doing what it takes to find solid play on a consistent basis.

“I’m being honest with you. I don’t like splitting up, and one thing I know that works is [Mike] Santorelli and [Chris] Higgins. But again, we haven’t scored and I’m not sure where it goes or how long it goes and we’ll see if we can find our way.”

Casey Drottar is an NHL writer for Follow him on Twitter @CDrottar19 or “Like” him on Facebook

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