Even for a preseason game, the Canucks’ 4-0 loss to the Kraken was embarrassing
From start to finish, the Canucks played such a poor game that not even the standard “it’s only preseason” excuse could save them, and the whole team knows it. Ask Luke Schenn.
“Yes, it’s just pre-season, but at the same time we absolutely have to clean up some areas,” Schenn said after the defeat. “In my opinion, I think we need to have more balance on the puck in the D zone. I think when we don’t have the puck, we just control the stick, we’re too weak.
“Give them credit, they skated hard tonight too. But much of that was self-inflicted.
Schenn was right about self-inflicted errors, as almost every goal in that game was the result of player error. Matty Beniers broke the ice in the second period after four Canucks were caught covering the same side of the ice, leaving the former second overall pick far too much time and space to get into a hard wrist shot.
Then early in the third period, Tyler Myers returned the puck behind his own net after attempting a no-look pass that landed directly on Oliver Bjorkstrand’s stick. Bjorkstrand sent a quick pass to Alex Wennberg and snatched the puck past Thatcher Demko to take a 2-0 lead.
The icing on the cake was a poor breakout pass from Tucker Poolman that was easily intercepted by Wennberg. Poolman then stumbled near the blue line as he turned towards an already streaky Yanni Gourde, who made no mistakes on the ensuing breakaway.
Yes, it was a preseason game where the Canucks dressed a roster without Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and new fan favorite Andrey Kuzmenko. And yes, they were also missing Brock Boeser and Ilya Mikheyev due to early injuries.
But the actual results of the game are not what is of concern. It’s the efforts themselves, where the Canucks look disengaged and get overtaken by clearly inferior rosters.
In four preseason games, the Canucks have scored only two goals at even strength, while allowing eight against. In the second period tonight, Vancouver outshot Seattle 12-4, but in the first and third periods, the Canucks fired just five combined shots.
Schenn didn’t mince words when it came to tonight’s effort.
“We need to understand what ‘difficult to play’ means and what it looks like. We realized that last year.”
Bruce Boudreau, who was clearly showing signs of frustration on the bench, echoed those sentiments.
“We have to be physical. We need more guys to do this, that was pretty much the message since the last time we played these guys,” Boudreau said. “We will improve, but it’s not happening as fast as I would like.”
Luckily for the Canucks, there are still plenty of opportunities to fix those issues before the games start counting. But once the regular season begins, there won’t be time for nights like this.