The Hockey News has sparked a lot of talk in the hockey world lately by picking the Canucks to win the Western Conference last Wednesday. The Hockey News has also picked the boys from the West Coast to win the Stanley Cup this season. This is significant because to the best of my knowledge, no well respected publication has ever picked the Canucks to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of a season. This, of course, terrifies me.
Well, we’ve all had a chance to take a deep breath, sit back and really think about the year that was for our beloved Vancouver Canucks. Gone is the emotion/heartbreak/disappointment/anger from their second straight second round loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. What’s left is a better chance for impartial analysis as to what they did, what they have and what they should do.
What a debacle game 3 of the second round turned out to be. A 5-2 result in which the Canucks looked out of it past the 10 minute mark of the 1s t period. At the end of the night I felt like the Blackhawks had won, and won easily. In game 2 they had to scratch and claw their way to victory, but not in game 3.
Roberto Luongo saved his best game in the first round for game 6, and was the best player on the ice. Everyone will be talking about his big save off of Ryan Smyth, dubbed the “save of the series” by Jim Hughson, but his game was more than that save, as big as it was. The Los Angeles Kings were the best team on the ice for the first 40 minutes but it was none other than their team captain Roberto Luongo that kept them in it. They were outshot 26-11 through the first two periods, but were bailed out by Luongo until the Canucks finally found their groove and grossly outplayed the Kings in the third.
Game 4 had a similar feel to it to Vancouver vs Chicago in game 6 last year. The main difference, of course, is that the Canucks found a way to win this one. They did it on the backs of their top players.
What a bizarre, infuriating game it was. Vancouver came out and dominated most of the first period, hitting like they’ve never hit before, making the right plays, getting scoring chances, causing turnovers and getting the first goal by Mason Raymond on the reunited speed line with Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson. Then it happened.
The moment Canucks fans have been waiting for all season is almost upon us. That’s right, round 1, game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Canucks faceoff against the Kings in what promises to be an entertaining series. Lets see how the series breaks down.
We’re finally in the home stretch and we’ve saved the best for the last month of the regular season, the Sedin twins! PS, WHAT A F’N BARGAIN @ 6.5 MILLION!!!
After lets face it, a boring first 20-30 games this season, there are now lots of things going on in Canuckland. In fact, I can think of at least ten of them:
The defending Olympic champions, Team Sweden, announced their 23 man roster on Sunday. The Swedes are flying a bit under radar at the moment, as a lot of their top players from years past are now retired or nearing retirement: Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Nicklas Lidstrom.