If you wanted it, you probably got it.
On Monday night – in a 6-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes – the Vancouver Canucks were faster, hungrier, and a little happier. Bo Horvat put up two assists, Mike Santorelli potted his second goal, and Hunter Shinkaruk was a bumble bee that buzzed back-and-forth across both bluelines. The Sedin Twins and Alex Burrows were timely in their playmaking, setting up backend slapshot goals from Yannick Weber and Jason Garrison, both of whom were tremendous.
And, still, there was a lot left to work on.
“It’s coming along. It’s coming along,” said head coach John Tortorella, still sounding not quite fully convinced this team is ready for the runway. “Tonight was encouraging with some things, but there’s still a number of things that, I think, there are habits one way and we’d like to try it another way… that we’ll continue to work at as we go through the next couple weeks.
“I thought we chased pucks down. I thought our defencemen were up the ice and pinched really well, and we just had an aggressive attitude towards the game.”
The last line there was a bone, and Torts was appropriately complimentary towards his better players, specifically Weber and Santorelli, who are both fighting for roster spots – and, perhaps, have earned themselves an inside track.
Of course, then there’s John’s first paragraph, and that line about “habits” – we’ll assume he means bad ones. It was said with that tone.
The coach has mentioned those habits before, without being too specific on the solution.
The Canucks are too easy to play against. We’re not hard enough on the puck. We need to be hungrier. We need to be stiffer.
That about covers it. It sounds stuffy and party poop-ish, and it is. It doesn’t make it wrong, though. Someone’s gotta tell the guests to turn the music down, after all, or else the neighbours blast 9-1-1 with a noise complaint and the cops show up.
So, let’s revel in one win. One preseason win. But, let’s forget it before the next one.
Game Highlights – Vancouver Coyotes 6, Phoenix Coyotes 1
1-0 Goal: Chris Higgins
2-0 Goal: Jannik Hansen
3-1 Goal: Yannick Weber
4-1 Goal: Mike Santorelli
5-1 Goal: Tom Sestito