Thursday, January 29, 2009

Full-blown frustration sets in as Mitchell and Raymond square off at Canucks practice

From the Vancouver Sun:

They can't win a game to save their lives, but the Vancouver Canucks have their game faces on at practice today at UBC.

Losers of eight straight home games, the Canucks' tension and frustration boiled over with a practice altercation involving defenceman Willie Mitchell and winger Mason Raymond.

Mitchell ran at Raymond during a drill and, when the speedy sophomore came back at the veteran in the corner, Mitchell punched Raymond in the head and cross-checked him hard on the shoulder. VIDEO OF THE INCIDENT

The fracas drew several players and coaches, and tough defenceman Shane O'Brien skated to Raymond's defence and challenged Mitchell to fight before tempers calmed.
This only adds to speculations that team chemistry is in question, one of many problems that are plaguing the group.
I don't have many further comments or opinions on this depressing mess right now. It's tough to be positive. It's also too bad they couldn't go on a massive road trip to get away from the pressure-packed GM Place. But they have to wait until February 10 for that to happen. In the meantime they play Minnesota, Carolina and Chicago at home.
This could get ugly. At some point a change has to happen if this team cannot turn it around. I just hope that some kind of change happens before they get too far into the hole.

The Sun article also mentions that Mats Sundin was assigned to the Kesler-Burrows checking line. That may just work. There hasn't been much chemistry between Sundin and anyone else lately, except maybe Pavol Demitra, who remains out with a sore groin.

Below is a clip of several fights between teammates in the past. Remember the Probert-Primeau tilt in the Red Wings practice in 1994?

Here is some post-practice interviews. The players and coach like the aggression in practice and understand the frustration levels right now.

It appears that Wellwood and O'Brien are going to sit out against the Wild, while Rob Davison and Pavol Demitra will draw back in.

Image above from Vancouver Province

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At January 29, 2009 at 1:57 p.m. , Anonymous Rich in Seattle. said...

This season is very close to becoming a trainwreck.
I have tickets to saturdays game and I plan on setting my expectations really low in order to have a good time.

At January 29, 2009 at 2:31 p.m. , Anonymous J.J. said...

I'll be at Saturday's game too. I plan on having A LOT OF BEERS in order to have a good time.

At January 29, 2009 at 2:56 p.m. , Anonymous Mike said...

Wow J.J. - that sounds like a poll! How many beers does the man need before he sees a good team in front of him. I say 10 flat. 12 if Sundin does play on the third line.

At January 29, 2009 at 3:09 p.m. , Blogger Judy said...

Song of the Day: Smashmouth -- Waste ("...oh to be drunk and forgetful...")

At January 29, 2009 at 3:34 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

So I guess beer consumption depends on tolerance. I like rum to cheer me up!

I think Rich has a great idea. Go in with low expectations. That's how I'm approaching it. (Plus drinking)

At January 29, 2009 at 4:01 p.m. , Blogger Judy said...

Ya know, I cleaned my bathroom today and that was way more fun than watching last night's 3rd period.

As for one's drink of choice, I think I'll go for champagne because, if the Canucks keep going like this, it doesn't look like there's going to be anything to celebrate later.

(Okay...this is just catharsis, right?)

At January 29, 2009 at 4:12 p.m. , Blogger Billy said...

Settle down folks!!! The Nucks have been terrible of late, but there is 30+ games left to turn it around.
Havin a fight in practice is great news, and if O'Brien came to Raymonds rescue, even better. This team is not that far off, and a couple of wins would mean the world to them.
I'm predictin that in 2-3 weeks this mess is long forgotten and there will be ragin debate over who would be the best matchup in the playoffs.

And please, please, please don't talk of tradin the Sedins. The absolute worst thing the Nucks could do is trade there consistently best offensive weapons who outscore there nightly matchups on a scary regularity. Madness to even think of, in my humble opinion.

At January 29, 2009 at 5:02 p.m. , Blogger Judy said...

Sundin with Kesler and Burrows makes sense to me. I thought that as soon as I saw them together last night. But what happens to Bernier? He was looking pretty good in that line too, as did Hansen (remember all the buzz about that line combo, way back when?)

Now, bear with me here: If the Sedin/Pyatt line is the brain, the fourth line the brawn, the checking line (in my opinion) the heart, what does that make the second line? Sloppy seconds?

I think the real thing the Canucks will be struggling to overcome is the stats. Painful. They can get their game together, but they'll have to bear the burden of that record for the rest of the season.

Billy: Thanks for the positive vibes. I'm diggin' it.

At January 29, 2009 at 5:10 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Well, Raymond better get his shit together.
Fighting in practice does show emotion, Billy. But O'Brien challenged Mitchell after that. So they had better kiss and make up.

Steve Bernier is a failed experiment and I think it's almost time to move on from him. Yeah he can hit and check, but he isn't scoring.
Hate to say it, but Wellwood has been awfully silent lately as well.
At some point these guys either get going or they should be flogged.
2-3 weeks and we'll be happy huh? Well I may agree. I'm not hopping off the wagon. At least on the 10th they go back on the road.
Just 1 win could turn this mess around regardless if it's at home or on the road.

At January 29, 2009 at 5:33 p.m. , Anonymous Mike said...

OK that song scared the crap out of me.

At January 29, 2009 at 5:36 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Haha! I'll take it off tomorrow. It's just a consolation thing.

At January 29, 2009 at 5:38 p.m. , Blogger Judy said...

I'm tellin' ya', Raymond is too pretty for his own good. The hype about his speed wore off a long time ago, when he started losing the puck before he could get anywhere with it. As for the fighting, I buy into the "boys will be boys" theory. It's got to be a major powder keg in there right now. Diffusing things a little is only going to let the boys get back to work.

Wellwood, you say? Wellwood who? (Have you ever noticed that he looks like Mr. Potato Head?) I think he's been useless of late, and he's a lousy spokesperson for the team. I always feel like he's lying, or that he thinks he's above the other guys. Just a vibe.

p.s. What song? I missed it!

At January 29, 2009 at 5:47 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Love Hurts by Nazareth..

Wellwood is being benched next game, as is O'Brien.

I've seen what kind of hands Raymond has, I just wish he'd shoot more instead of skate around in circles.

At January 29, 2009 at 6:02 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

perfect heart-rending voice; the words need a bit of work though... replacing every "love" word with "canucks" or "nucks" would be a good start


At January 29, 2009 at 6:11 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Nah, love meaning LOVE FOR THE TEAM.
It hurts right now. I feel so vulnerable...

At January 29, 2009 at 6:16 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

gush....hmmmmm..... well, there is ice-cream at home OR low-calories cheerios with strawberries...

At January 29, 2009 at 10:24 p.m. , Blogger KevinV said...

If O'Brien is benched, can we conclude from that that AV is saying he was in the wrong? Or is the benching unrelated?

At January 29, 2009 at 10:26 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

That's what I'm wondering. I didn't think O'Brien played all that terribly against the Preds. Not worse than Bieksa.
I'll bet it's because he stepped in on the Mitchell-Raymond scuffle

At January 29, 2009 at 10:31 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

Then again, O'Brien only played 10:28 last game which was half of what any other Canucks defenceman played. Huh.

At January 31, 2009 at 3:02 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck waiting til Saturday night to drink, I have been hitting the sauce since the Third Period on Wednesday. It is all I can do to deal with another season going down the shithole.

At January 31, 2009 at 3:54 p.m. , Blogger Sean Zandberg said...

It tough being a fan lately isn't it?
I swear a potential ulcer is what's keeping me from drinking every day.


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.