Murphy’s Mailbag: How did Canucks react to collapse against Columbus?

The Columbus Blue Jackets scored four-straight goals in the third period to rally and beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3.

The Vancouver Canucks have fallen into the first wild card spot and lost three in a row, the latest of which was a third period collapse against Columbus. So this week we start with…

There is no question that some losses affect the team more than others. For instance the game in Pittsburgh earlier this season was likely more of a collapse than the one suffered in Columbus on Sunday. However, the collective mood of the team felt much more somber after the recent loss.

And why not? A 3-1 lead in a game in which Vancouver had played very well up until the Blue Jackets’ second goal of the game. Their opponent was hobbled by injuries. The game had obvious playoff implications. And, let’s be honest, a comeback authored by Evgeni Malkin is easier to swallow than one that includes Emil Bemstrom (no offence to Emil, but you know).

Even though it was just one loss, it felt like more than that considering the stakes at this time of year. I’m guessing some of the older guys who were coming home to wives and children could likely move on a little quicker than the younger players who have a little more alone time to stew over it. There is no doubt, though, you could feel the shock and disbelief after the Columbus game, whereas the feeling after the Pittsburgh game, — and the Capitals one for that matter — was more of anger.

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I would say 20 points from here on in gets the Canucks into the playoffs. And most of the sites that put odds on these things say the Canucks are still somewhere between 80-90 per cent to make it if their record over the final 17 games is 9-8.

I’m not sure I can pick just one. He is authentic. What you see and hear on TV is exactly who he is. Sure he’s a bit of a Canucks homer (I think Shorthouse does a good job of keeping the call of the game down the middle), but he knows who his audience is. Having played for the Minnesota Fighting Saints with the actual Hanson brothers (Carlson brothers) he’s got some amazing stories (which we hear multiple times a season and love every time).

And Cheech is a very kind and generous dude. I’ve said it before that I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen him in a bad mood. And I think that says a lot about someone. Just one picture for you here: as we were taking the bus from L.A. to Anaheim and stopped for a few snacks, this is what Cheech came out with for the handful of us on the bus.

I know it’s Coors Light, but the gesture was nice.

Oh wow. Given the company I keep on the road we don’t tend to hit a lot of high-end places. I’ll tell you one of the most humorous places. McSorley’s Old Ale House on East 7th Street. Opening in the mid-19th century, it is the oldest Irish Saloon in NYC. A lot of it is bench seating and there is usually sawdust on the floor. For most of the day the two drink options are light or dark beer (although some whiskey comes out at night). And the menu is a chalk board. Raw onions come with the cheese platter. I remember ordering cheese and crackers one time and out came a plate with saltines and some cheddar slices.

I have had very good meals at Tao and Nobu in NYC. And I’m not sucking up to ownership when I say that Oceans (which the Aquilini’s opened last last year) had some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted. I’m also a sucker for shows on the Food or Travel Networks that show some must-visit places. And a little joint called Los Tacos was excellent.

I like and am interested in this question, but didn’t have time to discuss it with either or the strength staff Tuesday. Will hope to include in the next mailbag.

We are very lucky in that we have a wonderful woman named Deb Berman who takes care of us on the clothing side. I defer to her judgement in picking out suits for me and Deb’s done an amazing job. However, if something I’m wearing doesn’t look good it’s likely that I paired the suit with the wrong shirt or tie and that’s on me. Maybe I should get Deb to number the things that go together so I don’t mess up in the future.

She is still very sweet. Totally driven by food, but sweet. Sometimes she stays at our friends for the weekend if we’re out of town and can’t take her. You can see how stressed out Peach seems to be when we aren’t around.

I don’t think I’ve ever been blocked by a coach. At least not for long. I do remember doing a story on the Canucks one day and when I was done writing it I wondered if I’d be hard enough on them. Wondered if I’d been critical enough. Anyway, I kept it as is and apparently when the story aired it definitely frayed some nerves because when I got to the rink I was told to stay away from Marc Crawford as much as possible because he was hot at me. Perhaps even wanted to kick me off the plane. Anyway, cooler heads prevailed I guess because I made the next road trip.

Former head coach Rick Ley didn’t talk to Shorthouse for a couple of months after Shorty said he was going to be fired. He was fired, albeit four months after the report.

Off the record conversations can be great if the person you’re talking to has trust in you. Players and coaches all have unreal stories to tell. Travis Green is a good one with this current group. Back in the day Brian Burke was very entertaining. As for players? Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and Shane O’Brien were probably my favourites as far as the Canucks go. Jason Strudwick was a beauty. And I’ve known the Pronger brothers forever so they’ve always been enlightening in conversation.

On that note…

I went to the University of Ottawa and lived in residence my first year. I became very good friends with a couple of guys on my floor that were from Dryden, Ontario (the Prongers’ hometown). So in the summers I would go visit my buddies in Dryden who just so happened to be very tight with the Pronger brothers. So I got to know Sean and Chris very well. Since I ended up working in hockey broadcasting it was very easy to keep up with those two. So I’ve known them since the summer of ’89.

We were actually teammates in a tournament that we finished second in. Don’t ask me what happened after. We’ve played a few times together and I’m going to get the better of him most rounds (he’ll likely dispute this because he’s argumentative). But as you can imagine he loves to talk crap and try to take you off your game. Sometimes effectively. Bieksa hits it pretty well though. I remember him hitting a six iron to about 15-feet for eagle into 18 at Richmond a couple of years back. I will say this though: his brother Bryan is a better player than both of us.


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