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article imageNHL: Canucks pick optimism in effort to get game going again

By Marcus Hondro     Mar 17, 2012 in Sports
The Vancouver Canucks are on a skid that just might seem a decent run to their Saturday night opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets. But going 2-4-2 in their last 8, with lackluster play and little cohesion, isn't what the Canucks expect.
At this point, after Wednesday's 5-4 home-ice loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, they seem to be going with optimism as the way to move forward. While team leaders Daniel and Henrik Sedin almost always find the positive, others are doing the same, including the coach.
"There's a couple areas of our game that we need to clean up and we'll address that with our group here after we watch the tape," Alain Vigneault said in his press conference after the game Wednesday. "At the end of the day we can say there's some positive signs" Vigneault went on to say that they didn't win and that meant extra hard work at practice.
Roberto Luongo vs. Cory Schneider
An area the coach can't find the positive in without acknowledging a whole lot of negative is goalie Roberto Luongo's numbers during the slide. What numbers? How about allowing 12 goals in his last 9 periods and sporting a recent GAA that looks more like a bad MLB pitcher's ERA.
On the other hand, Cory Schneider is 3-0-1 in his last four starts with a GAA of 1.40 and a save percentage of .951, and you can take his number back in time and you'll still find excellence. How about 15-6-1 with a GAA of 2.09 and a save percentage of .932 for the season to date?
Luongo did something he's done in the past after the Coyotes loss. He said he could not "control what goes on in front of me" but that he'd have liked to have made more saves. In other words 'it ain't my fault but if you want me to take a hit, I'll take it'. He needs a sit down and against the Blue Jackets Vigneault is going with Schneider, a decision no one will question.
Positive Vancouver Canucks
On the Canucks official website, defenceman Kevin Bieksa weighed in on Luongo, acknowledging the goalie had to play better but suggesting they had to be better in front of him. As for their play in their loss to Phoenix, he, too, took the positive route.
"I don't think we played bad," he said. "We generated a lot of chances offensively, we scored some goals, the power play got going, we got a lot of shots on net. You have to look at the film, but a couple of those goals were bad bounces and bad luck and sometimes it doesn't matter how good you play if the team's got some talent on the other side."
It may be, at the end of the day the most positive thing in the Canucks-world is that they are playing the Columbus 'Slump-busting' Blue Jackets. However if at the end of the game they haven't won it'll be hard for anyone to find anything positive to say.
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