December was a near perfect month for the Canucks and gave hope to fans that their status as one of the elite teams in the NHL was coming back on-line however the reality of 2014 has hit them hard with more late game collapses, a 9-1 dismemberment by the Ducks and virtually no goal scoring to speak of. So what happened?
Looks like Torts may have started screaming at them behind closed doors, as they are playing with zero confidence. Bieksa has made so many brutal on-ice mistakes these last several weeks it looks like he has mentally checked out.
The key question though is how good is this bunch? They have been at or near the top of the NHL for some time but it looks like this is season when the reality can no longer be hidden as they may well have to fight it out just to make the playoffs. How could this be?
Perhaps an explanation lies in expectations. Everyone on the Canucks expects the same as in the past and why not? For one, they are playing in a new division against real teams, good teams, big teams, ones that have talent that can both score and defend.
In previous seasons, the Canucks feasted on division foes that were very weak with an imbalanced number of games versus the likes of Edmonton, Calgary, Colorado which were all easy wins where the Sedins for two, padded their points totals on a dominant power play giving the impression the Canucks were that good.
This season is turning into little more than a reality check and the reality is they have allowed more goals than they have scored which is not going to get you the Cup nor will it even get you into the playoffs. Consider that L.A., St. Louis, Chicago, San Jose, and Anaheim are plus 27 or more. The Blues are a staggering plus 60 after 46 games yet Vancouver has beaten them twice this year? Not much makes sense except that the Canucks seem to be a team without an identity or goal scorers. Both problems will either be solved in the next few weeks or it will be a full rebuild on the West Coast right from the GM on down starting in April.