The Worst Lead in Hockey

The worst lead in hockey

The good news is the Canucks have had a 2-0 lead in five of their first eight games, and a one goal lead in two others. The bad news is they’ve given away 8 points to conference opponents in those games.

That being said, the Canucks are off to the best start in years. And so is Luongo. As I said last time, try and remember that the calendar is meaningless. Forget that it’s January and just pretend that it’s October.

The Canucks’ start feels way better now, doesn’t it?

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting there is nothing to worry about in Canucksville. In fact, there are always plenty of concerns. The last time I completely gave on my pessimism, they were up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final. And we know how that turned out…

So for Canucks’ fans, it’s important to stay grounded and take solace in the fact that despite the team’s preseason early season struggles holding on to the "worst" lead in hockey, they’re still picking up points and leading the division, depending on which day of the week it is.

Despite this being a short season, it’s still important to manage expectations. Sooner or later reality catches up:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Expectations meet reality

The Oilers and their fans are a perfect example of this. There’s so much pent up demand in that city for a return to competitiveness that the start to any new season is brimming with optimism. And fair enough, after years of cellar-dwelling, their talent cup doth runneth over with youthful exhuberance.

Some of that exhuberance spilled out onto the ice a few games back, when Nail Yakupov knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champs with an overtime goal and promptly took off down the ice celebrating like he had just scored the biggest goal of his life. I didn’t have too much problem with it. It was a bit out of proportion to the situation, but whatever. The kid likes scoring goals amd that’s ok with me. (As an aside, that was the one thing that always bugged me about Mario Lemieux. He just looked so bored every time he scored.)

So, yeah, maybe Yakupov went a little over the top, but at least he wasn’t childish:

Grow up. All of you!

But back to the Oilers, and their early success, or at least lack of general suckitude. The team and its fans can definitely feel confident in the strong core that’s been assembled. They certainly have burgeoning talent up front, and the addition of Justin Schultz has certainly helped the blue-line. But they still need some help back there, and I’m not at all sure about Dubnyk as a long term solution in goal.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

So, yes, their time will come. Just not yet. You certainly need confidence to be successful, but it takes experience and maturity to not let it go too far:

Confident to a fault

At the other end of the expectations spectrum are the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’m not sure that even in the darkest days of the Mike Keenan/Mark Messier era, Vancouver fans were as down on the Canucks as many Leafs fans are these days. Sure there were plenty of Canucks fans that were disgusted and just plain old gave up on those teams. Leaf fans are disgusted and manage to keep coming back for more. I guess you have to admire that kind of perseverance.

So with that in mind, I think the whole tiff over who really is the Mecca of the hockey world is just rubbing salt in the wound. C’mon, Pittsburgh, just let them have this one:

C'mon Pittsburgh, let them have this one. 

By the way, I should clarify that I only keep picking on the Leafs because those guys can take it. Heck, most of the Toronto fans that I know are so hard on the Leafs that it almost takes the fun out it. Almost. 😛

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Anyway, I could never be this hard on the Flames. At least not while Jay Feaster is still GM. Just doesn’t seem right.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Phixieus666

    Here is something to think about. Why is it when the team doesn’t have Horcoff they look totally different? Last nights game was the same you saw clear differences in the team pre-horcoff injury and post. Lack of confidence or commitment when hes not there maybe. Dubby was the only reason they got into OT and I would argue if Hall wasn’t in the way Dubby would have likely saved the tying goal.

    Also what is diagnosis on Fistric? is it short term long term or just an involuntary bowel movement??????

    • Phixieus666

      I think the same argument could be made about Luongo, he had to shut the door on some really good quality chances. Also the linesmen were really breaking up potential odd man rushes last night. It was a weird game all around.

      • Phixieus666

        I’ll admit at the beginning of the game the refs were really pissing me off with their calls but they evened out in the end and the Oil just didn’t capitalize. Those refs were in the way everywhere last night. They broke up at least two amazing breakaway chances for Hall alone. Those guys need to get out of the way because those kinds of opportunities could have completely changed the game.

    • Just like a spirit, a hockey team has to go through three metamorphoses; donkey, lion and the child.

      A donkey is needed to put work in the defensive zone. A lion to will his way through the neutral zone. Finally a child to turn that will into a creative Yes.

      Oilers have some lions and a lot of children with creativity for the joyful innocence of the Yes. Horcoff is a donkey of a man that balances and carries the load for some of his teammates child at play.

    • If Kruger was named Spector, maybe.

      The Oilers problem is not shooting the puck. Let Callgirly shoot the puck, they shoot the puck a lot and they’re one of the worst teams in the league to date. Most of the teams that shoot more than the Oilers do, have a worst record than the Oilers do. Shooting the puck more is neither the solution nor the probem.

      • Phixieus666

        It is when you have possession for almost a min and don’t take a single shot on net. Number one rule in hockey, if you don’t shoot on net you wont get goals and goals win games.

  • Oilers21

    Unfortunately, being a good offensive player and being good at faceoffs appear to be mutually exclusive things for the Oilers. Damn does Smitty work hard but he’s clearly exposed playing that many minutes.

  • Kevin R

    Well Mr Graphic, dont concern yourself with Mr Feaster and piling on. In fact the great debate in Flameland is proving that what took the Oilers 5 years we can do in 1. Thing is, when we go to Banff, walk up the mountain & look down at Canuckleland, we see your GM, looking like one of your graphs running around screaming “get your goalie here”. He stops, gets very agitated when asked “which one?” Then jumps on a plane and flys to Washington.
    We are very concerned & now you are here saying Feb is Oct & life is good. Okkaaayyy.

  • NHL has to have the worst officiating of any professional league on the planet.

    Not only do the 4(4?#@$%!) refs miss calls on the regular and make up calls for the sake of it, they get in the way of the plays flow waaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much.

    It is a joke that the NHL has operated for so long without trying to fix this or even acknowledge a problem.

    The two linesman need to be taken off this ice. They should be sat in booths along the bluelines and watch for off-sides from there. The two other refs need to divide the ice to a half each. They each follow/observe the play from the front and the back as it goes back and forth.

    Football has 7 refs to follow the play of 21 players, soccer has 3 to follow the play of 20, NHL has 4 to follow 10. 4 to 10 and thats the product/system they’re putting out? Laughable.

  • beloch

    The Oilers are riding a very hot goalie right now. They’ve outshot their opponent in just 2 out of 9 games, and on average they’ve been outshot badly. However, Dubnyk’s SV% for the season is 0.925, which is well above his NHL average. It’s not impossible that Dubnyk simply took a big step forward, but if he regresses, so will the Oilers results. In any case, the Oilers “lack of general suckitude” is attributable primarily to Dubnyk, and not to the rest of the team which is still pretty awful.

    Vancouver has also been outshot in most games, but not to nearly the same degree. Their shots for minus shots against total is 1, but it would be rather negative if not for one game where they absolutely beat up on Edmonton and finished +15 on the night! Schneider wasn’t too great in the games he played, but Luongo has averaged a godly 0.940 SV% over the six games he’s played. That’s unsustainable for any NHL goalie, but it has certainly given the Canucks a nice boost. The Canucks are probably not on a pace for another president’s trophy unless they really pick things up or Luongo continues to sacrifice goats in his spare time.

  • Word to the Bird


    What’s with all the Messier hate in Van?

    They brought in an aging winner to help them learn how to win, and then complained he wouldn’t go into the corners and muck (from my experience). Perhaps having too many crappy players was more the issue.

    Seems like a strategy problem to me. Maybe the urban legend is different?

    • Graphic Comments

      Guess you had to be there.

      There was a real air of arrogance and indifference around the team during that time. It largely emanated from Messier and Keenan, who were pretty much running the team together. They brought in a bunch of Keenan cronies, moved some fan favourites, and the results were dismal. That made for a pretty bad cocktail of suckiness tht left a bad taste.