Vancouver Canucks A Cursed Organization?


Are the Vancouver Canucks a cursed organization?

There is a plenty of evidence that suggests that the Vancouver Canucks are cursed. The injury woes are not the only things that seem cursed with the team. The curse seems more evident with the ex-Canucks and the Canucks’ trade partners this season.

How do you explain that every team that has traded with the Canucks this past season is struggling mightily? The Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, and even the Carolina Hurricanes; they are all struggling, either tied (Penguins) or below the injury-plagued Canucks. The curse is rubbing off on these other teams!

Related: Last Sunday’s Canucklehead Lament “Linden Vey means Frustration”

How do you explain the slumps of former Canucks, from players to coaches? Well, a coach. Talk about John Tortorella’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and their season falling apart systematically. Ryan Kesler is out of it, and so is Nick Bonino. Kevin Bieksa is also stuck with Kesler on the Anaheim Ducks, who have become this year’s worst team in the Pacific Division.

So here it is, this Sunday’s “Canucklehead Lament“.

The Former Canucks

Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard — long time Canucks who were part of that great year leading to the Stanley Cup Finals. Guess what, they are both out of the sport, thanks to concussions sustained while they were playing for the Canucks. Andrew Alberts was demolished by Brian McGrattan, and Keith Ballard’s tenure with the Minnesota Wild was cut short by Matt Martin. Something to think about. What other NHL organization in the past five years have had two players resign from hockey due to in-game concussions?

Take Kesler and Bonino for the case of the most recently departed Canucks. Ryan Kesler has 12 points and is a minus-14 player in 33 games. For a player getting paid $6.875 million for six years, those are certainly underwhelming numbers, when Daniel Sedin — who is getting paid $7.0M per year for this season and the next two following — put up 36 points in 36 games.

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Bonino is playing third-line duties with Phil Kessel. Not a bad linemate if you ask me. And yet, Bonino has just three goals and eight points in 31 games for the Penguins. His Corsi percentages are even worse than his Canuck days, he is just at 48.3 percent. As for his trade counterpart, Brandon Sutter, he is riding a steady 50.3 percent, with eight points in 16 games.

In other words, Bonino took twice as many games to produce the same numbers as Sutter. Meanwhile, Adam Clendening, the highly touted former Canuck prospect, was scratched 24 times this season, only playing 9 games as a Penguin this season. He has just one assist. Another cursed former Canuck.

Another cursed former Canuck might be none other than Frank Corrado, who became famous in the league for not his play, but for his waivers and his scratches. Corrado, after being claimed off waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs, has played just three games all this season. Had he stuck around for the Canucks, he would have been one of the regular blue liners. With all the bodies out, perhaps even Clendening would have become a regular for the Canucks.

Now, now, now. Don’t forget about our good ol’ Eddie Lack. He’s under the fire, too. The Carolina Hurricanes were losing Cam Ward fast, and they brought in Lack on a two-year contract paying him $5.5 million in total this past off-season, from Vancouver. Lack, in 12 appearances, is looking at a .876 save percentage, working up-hill against a 3.34 goals against average.

Last but not least, there is Montreal Canadiens forward Zack Kassian. First, he crashed his car and got suspended for that. As soon as he was cleared to play, the Canadiens put him on waivers, but nobody claimed him. As if that was not enough, his club asked him not to report to the AHL St. John’s IceCaps.

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These former Canucks seem to be so snake-bitten, that it makes me wonder what black magic Jim Benning is putting on his former players. But had we all these players still in Vancouver, the team would have been even more of a disaster this season. Good for you Mr. Benning, for making yourself look good in hindsight.

But it is not only about the players, it is about the coach, too.

Enter John Tortorella, who was relieved of his duties as the Canucks’ bench boss after just one season for Vancouver.

Vancouver’s “Lost Season” under Torts might have killed the Canucks, but also killed Torts’s career. Now the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tortorella sure wants to turn Aston Matthews into a shot-blocking machine. That is what the Blue Jackets seem to be doing, having played the most games (36) in the NHL as of Saturday, and still being dead-last on the league standings with just 29 points.

The best thing Tortorella might have done for the Canucks is getting them a second round compensatory pick for being hired mid-season, before his contract with the Canucks was up. Ever since he took Vancouver’s coaching role, his record to date is 49-55-4, good for a .45 win percentage. When you bench a player like Ryan Johansen, that will happen to you, Tortsy.

Next: The Kids could be Nice Trade Baits

So, how do you explain how all these slumps and curses are following the former Canucks — from the players to the coach? How do you explain how all their trading partners are struggling, from the Ducks to the Penguins? You can’t. The Canucks are simply cursed. That was this Sunday’s edition of The Canucklehead Lament.