The Vancouver Canucks lost again tonight, now dropping to 28-22. That record is good for the eighth seed in the Western Conference as of right now, but the Canucks won’t make the playoffs the way they have been playing lately. The team has lost its last six games now and risk dropping out of playoff contention. Coach John Tortorella needs to get his team back to playing solid all-around hockey before it’s too late.
Tortorella’s Canucks are struggling to put the puck in the net, and it is having a negative impact on the team’s record. Vancouver was just 4-11-1 in the month of January. The Canucks are struggling to do many of the things that the New York Rangers failed to do while Tortorella was coaching. The Canucks look disorganized and hesitant on offense. Injuries to Henrik Sedin could play a part in this inability to score, but this is something the team has to overcome. Ryan Kessler, Daniel Sedin, and Alex Burrows should be able to shoulder the load left by Henrik’s absence.
The problem for the Canucks isn’t lack of talent. Vancouver rarely had trouble scoring under Alain Vigneault. As a matter of fact, the Canucks were considered an excellent offensive team during Vigneault’s stay. The problem is the system which Tortorella has brought with him from New York. The system asks too much of forwards in the defensive zone. They exert too much energy and get caught too deep to be as effective once they get back into the offensive zone. It happened in New York last year, and it’s happening in Vancouver right now.
The Vancouver Canucks may be in trouble if this losing streak isn’t turned around quickly. After tonight’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Canucks find themselves searching for an identity. That burden lies on the shoulders of the head coach. John Tortorella has two options. He can either find a way for his players to buy into his system, or adapt his system to his players. The Canucks are currently in a tailspin that could jeopardize their playoff hopes.