Friday, October 26, 2007

They don't have it this year

Bill Simmons, one of my favourite sports writers, used to have a running story in his column about a yearly ritual between him and his dad. A few months into every baseball season, after yet another losing streak, and Bill would ask his dad what he though about the Red Sox that year. His dad would respond with "They don't have it this year." and they'd start talking about something else. Over time this yearly pronouncement came to mark the unofficial end of the Red Sox season for Bill, the point at which he kind of accepted that, while there were still games to be played, the season was done.

So what does this have to do with the Canucks? Well, ten games into the season there's a defenite sense of "they don't have it this year" about this team, what with the weird snap personel moves three games into the season, Markus Naslund's emergence as media whipping boy, and the lack of a full 60 minute effort during any game so far. The "20 guys who genuinely got along and played hard every night" vibe that this team gave off last year doesn't look like it's there this time.

In my oppinion chemistry, or "a team working together" or whatever you want to call it, is a huge factor in hockey, more so than the other 3 major sports (just look at how a 6th or 7th seed gets hot for 2 months and makes it to the cup final every year). Comparing this year's team with last year's kind of provides an example of that. I think most people would agree that this year's team's got a better overall lineup, but for whatever reason they just don't have it together the same way they did in 06/07, and the result has been a far worse team on the ice.

This isn't to say I'm writing off the season. Just the first half. Every year there's always a couple teams that aren't quite up to snuff during the first half of the season, but get their shit together right about the time of the all-star break and finish things up on tear. Here's hoping that happerns.

(And yeah, I know this is exactly what happerned last year: crappy team hovering around .500 for the first half, awesome team tearing up the league in the second half. The difference, though, is that last year's team was playing hard from the begining. The issue for them during the first half of the season was just everyone learning their roles and overcoming huge scoring slumps from a lot of the forwards. This time around it's the playing hard that's the problem.)

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