The Vancouver Canucks reached the one-sixth mark of their schedule Friday on a night when they played the Chicago Blackhawks in a game in which nobody touched a soul.

It was enough to give grudge matches a bad name — "boredom" the watchword of the night, or as TEAM 1040 colour man Dave Tomlinson called it: "Dogs playing poker."

"I thought it would be a little more dirty than it was out there," said Jordan Schroeder, the shootout winner, in an understatement.

Why, the only solace Canucks fans could take home was the fact that Chicago pest Dave Bolland had to leave the game with an injury — but that pretty much was the extent of the animosity, and it isn't often you can say that when these teams meet.

Nonetheless, that tiresome chess match has concluded and these put-upon fans find themselves dealing with a team that has virtually the same players that have adorned this roster for a while, now, but most of them are performing in such a way as to make them hard to recognize — other than the team's fairly solid-looking record.

Talk about a tribute to their back end, and most particularly their goaltending, no matter how the coin Alain Vigneault flips turns out. Heavens, Roberto Luongo is even winning shootouts, beating both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane Friday night, and the Vegas odds on that are about the same as getting rollicking entertainment from sloths playing poker.

Where the Canucks once dominated games in their own rink, now they tend to hang on and hope for power plays which, when they come, turn out to be crushing disappointments — lately. at least. They've scored just one goal in their last 21 advantages. Unless assistant coach Newell Brown can get the Sedin twins to wake up and start performing commensurate with the way they're paid, he should perhaps consider the honorable thing and run on his hockey stick.