“I think we’re too inconsistent right now, from game to game. That’s coaching, too. The coach has got to step up. That’s his job to get guys ready, and we weren’t ready. So I’ve got to find a better way to motivate these guys, and get them on track.”
That was Canucks coach Willie Desjardins following last night’s 5-1 loss to San Jose, a game in which his team was outplayed from start to finish by a Sharks side that had lost the night before in Calgary.
Considering the standings, there was absolutely no reason for the Canucks to be lacking motivation, or to require receiving any from their coach.
The truth may just be that the Canucks aren’t a good hockey team, that their encouraging start to the season was buoyed by an easy schedule and, perhaps, a temporary jolt of enthusiasm and energy following a summer of significant organizational change.
Save for Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win versus the Jets, one that required Winnipeg netminder Ondrej Pavelec to surrender a questionable third-period goal to rookie Ronalds Kenins, Vancouver has not beaten a team that’s in a playoff position in a month.
Since starting the season 18-7-1, the Canucks have gone 10-12-2.
The power play isn’t producing, and they aren’t scoring five-on-five either.
It’s not about to get any easier either. Of Vancouver’s next 17 games, 11 will be against teams currently in a playoff position, plus two against resurgent Minnesota and one against the defending champion Kings. All three “easy” games are on the road, in New Jersey, Arizona, and Buffalo.
The Canucks host the Penguins Saturday.