Things aren’t going well for the Vancouver Canucks at the moment.
After last season’s 40-30-12, much of the fanbase has been promised an improved performance for 2022-23, especially with head coach Bruce Boudreau at the helm of his first full season. But instead, the opposite has so far occurred, with tempers boiling over over the past weekend.
The Canucks, who opened this season with five straight road contests, returned to Rogers Arena for their home game against the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday. There should be optimism for a team that went out of goal 0-3-2. Unfortunately, instead, they encountered enduring frustration.
Buffalo took a 2-0 lead early in the opening 20 minutes and didn’t look back to eventually secure a 5-1 win over Vancouver. In the later stages of the game, some fans expressed their displeasure by littering the ice with jerseys to protest the team’s early efforts.
After another crushing defeat, Captain Speaking to reporters, Bo Horvat was asked how the home team threw shirts on the ice. However, his comments are unlikely to ease the pain fans are currently experiencing.
“My jersey was thrown on the ice last year and I will never forget that as long as I play,” said Horvat. “It’s something that’s coming home and when you see it happening again this year, it definitely sucks. But I understand your frustration.
“We didn’t really give them much reason to celebrate. It’s been a lot of years in the rebuild phase and… at this point in the season it just feels like it’s never going to happen, like we’re never going to win again.”
For a team that’s six games without a win, that crushing reaction probably isn’t something you want to let come out of your dressing room. It’s actually the opposite.
But it’s hard to blame Horvat for being so honest. After all, the Canucks became the first team in NHL history to lose four straight games after leading by multiple goals in each competition earlier this season, according to Sportsnet Stats.
JT Miller, who was at the center of Vancouver’s struggles, shared his own thoughts on fans’ decision to ditch their well-deserved team merchandise.
“If they want to throw their shit on the ice, it’s up to them … If they want to come to the game, they spend all that money and throw their gear on the ice, that’s up to them,” Miller said.
And Horvat isn’t the only Canucks player frustrated by the club’s miserable start. Teammate Curtis Lazar, who grew up with this franchise, believes fans deserve better than the product they saw this season.
“I feel like the way we played justified it, especially towards the end of the game,” said Lazar. “This year we had every game a chance to win (in the third half) and our reaction wasn’t there. That’s an area where we need to find that urgency and come together in that dressing room.
“The fans are passionate, that’s the great thing about playing here. They want to see a reaction and we want to see a reaction ourselves. You can talk about those external things, the fans and what’s probably everyone saying about us, but it it’s so.” depends on what we have in this dressing room. We think we have a good team – much better than we showed. But it’s like I told you before: Words are one thing, actions are another.”
That sentiment runs through the organization, particularly Boudreau, who questioned the professionalism of his players during Saturday’s post-game press conference. The 67-year-old manager is demanding more from his players as the club have faltered in six games.
No one could have imagined this dreadful start for the Canucks, especially after they finished 32-15-10 under Boudreau last season. If anything, most experts assumed they would hit the ground and not fall flat.
But with 76 games remaining, Vancouver still has plenty of time to turn that ship around, although it will likely have to happen sooner rather than later to avoid a third straight summer without playoff hockey.
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