Leave it to Eddie Lack to provide some needed levity amid the seriousness of the situation. With vultures circling and ready to pick at the carcass of the decaying Canucks — whether John Tortorella survives for now in Vancouver, or falls on his coaching sword and is replaced at some point — the last line of defence is now the first concern if the Canucks hope to defy long odds and advance to the postseason. With Roberto Luongo long gone and Jacob Markstrom on a long learning curve, it’s like the Canucks need a caped crusader. This one is a 26-year-old NHL rookie who plays like a veteran while exuding a charming boyish demeanour. Still, that’s a load of expectation weighing down Lack. “I don’t think it’s a difficult position,” said Tortorella. “He’s earned this opportunity, and he’s going to have to go through the process of what it is to be a No. 1. It’s Batman and Robin. It’s easy to be Robin. When you become Batman, it changes a little bit. I’ve seen him handle so many different situations and this is where we’re going. He’s playing (Wednesday) because it’s the proper thing for him to do to find his way.” And maybe find a cape along the way. “I always wanted to be Batman,” said Lack. “The Batmobile is pretty cool. I’m just going to do my best and get back at it. I didn’t track the puck that well (Monday) but I didn’t quit. The sun came up today and I’m just looking forward. ... It’s a process here. I’m trying to learn. There are going to be bumps.” From hip labrum surgery 13 months ago, to winning an expected backup battle with Joacim Eriksson, to being thrust into the Heritage Classic spotlight and looking uncomfortable while Luongo sat, it’s been a quick study for Lack. And somewhat ludicrous to not have the security and sounding board of a proven veteran. The Monday meltdown that included four third-period goals in 5:15, leading to a stunning 7-4 loss to the New York Islanders — coupled with a 6-1 setback in Dallas last Thursday, where he allowed five goals on 17 shots and was yanked after two periods — saw Lack slip to 11th in goals-against average (2.30) and 18th in saves percentage (.916.). But Tortorella didn’t want to throw Markstrom to the wolves Monday after he did the same to Eriksson in Anaheim on Jan. 15 — six goals on 31 shots — after replacing Lack during a 9-1 drubbing.
Are players buying in or tuning Torts out?
Vancouver Province | Mar 12