Farhan Lalji wrote:
Sid Dithers wrote:
But Farhan's hypothetical really bugs me in a different way. One more piece, one more piece, one more piece. When does it become time to admit that the assembled team just isn't good enough, and barring moving half the roster out of here, they aren't going to come close to being a serious contender this year?
What bugs me about your comments, are:
A) Like dr.dork and a few other posters, you are unfairly judging this team based on what they've done WITHOUT a healthy Luongo AND a non-rusty Sundin (although by this logic, I am also guilty of the same thing......only that I'm on the other side of the spectrum in terms of my optimism). It's not fair to write this Canuck team off without actually seeing what they can do with a reasonably healthy line up that INCLUDES their top players at 100% health and/or non-rustiness. By the same token, I also admittedly need to stop "counting the chickens before they've hatched." My biggest fault is that I'm a homer...I can admit that.
B) You fail to acknowledge the fact that in the playoffs, the top seeds are often NOT around when the 3rd round hits. Who cares if San Jose and Detroit are 'better' than the Canucks on paper or on the ice? (and for the record - I still don't think we can conclusively say that....given that we haven't seen the Canucks with a fully healthy and non-rusty Sundin AND Luongo leading this team)....which leads me to point 'C'
C) Look at the Edmonton Oilers from 05/06. These guys were also very mediocre for most of the year....due to the fact that they didn't have adequate goaltending. At the trade deadline, they went out and got Sergei Samsonov (bust) and Dwayne Roloson (huge piece as it turned out). By your logic, Edmonton were foolish for being buyers at the deadline since they were nowhere near being the best team. As it turned out, Dwayne f'cking Roloson literally almost was their "missing piece." Who's to say that the Canucks can't be similar to Edmonton in this regard? With a healthy/non-rusty Sundin AND Luongo...combined with another missing piece...why CAN'T the Canucks be a major major player?
D) In the past 10 seasons, here are some very NON top-tier teams that made the Stanley Cup finals:
1998: Washington Capitals
1999: Buffalo Sabres
2002: Carolina Hurricanes
2003: Anaheim Ducks
2004: Calgary Flames
2006: Edmonton Oilers
So basically, 35% of the teams that have made the cup finals within the last 10 years, have been NON-top tier teams. Lest we forget...the Vancouver Canucks from 1994. Florida Panthers from 1996 are yet another example.
E) The Canucks have the best goalie...or 2nd best goalie...in the league. This is arguably the BIGGEST reason why the Canucks will be a huge factor if they make the playoffs....assuming that Luongo gets a shred of help...unlike the 06/07 playoffs. Given how the Canucks looked earlier this season with Luongo (i.e. beating teams by shutting them down AND winning with a high scoring offense), combined with the addition of Sundin, I fail to see how ANYONE can write this team off....after *1* game of having Luongo back....a very rusty Luongo....and a very rusty Sundin, Johnson, Salo, and Pyatt.
This team needs to be judged based on how they play in February.
After that? If the Canucks fail to live up to expectations during the month of February, then guys like Madcombepilot, dr.dork, Island Knucklehead, Sid Dithers, Robert, DonCherry4PM, etc., etc. can be dismissive of the Canucks to their hearts content. Heck - I'll even join in on the party.
Injuries are part of the game. If the team can't suck up the adversity, they're not good enough. I'm not necessarily talking about winning, but playing at a consistently acceptable level. But let's leave Luongo and the rusty Sundin out of the equation for a minute. Why is Demitra sucking? Why does Bieksa look horrible and why is he handing the puck away as much as he is? Why has Wellwood been shown the press box? Why can't AV find ONE FRICKEN GUY who can at least play with the Sedins and contribute on some sort of consistent basis? Why is Edler half the player he was last season?
What are the answers to these, Farhan? They're not injured, they're just playing lousy. Are they so brittle confidence-wise that they can't at least hold down their end of the deal? The Canucks aren't losing because Luong has been out. They're losing because the players in the jerseys have been terrible. A healthy Luongo will cover for some of their poor play, but in the end, it's still a team playing poorly. If Luongo needs to be in net for the 18 skaters to all pull their weight, what does that say about this group? And if they can't minimize the damage in January, how the hell are they going to do it in a playoff series against a good team?
About the 05-06 Oilers, you are just proving my point. Yes, teams can get lucky and get on the roll. But to chase down old guys and get them in the Canucks lineup just because 'this might be our year' isn't good enough logic. Hell, maybe this will be Columbus' year. Or maybe it will be Dallas' year. You don't sell out your soul to become one of the flock. You continue to build young assets smartly so that at some point you can be a team that has a chance EVERY YEAR. I want the Canucks to be a contender every year. The only way that is done is by building a young core of players you believe in who can grow together to become the foundation. So what happened to Edmonton in 2006-2007?
GP W L OL P
82 32 43 7 71
Nice. Who the hell wants that?
I'll say it one more time. A great goalie is terrific to have. But the skaters in front of him still need to be a damn good team.
In Luongo's absence, the Canucks have proven to still have way too many holes and far too much inconsistency. Luongo will certainly come back to form at some point, but I think it's very uncertain that Sundin will. He may not get it back at all. We just don't know. It's best to assume nothing about him at this point. And as for your assertion that 'This team needs to be judged based on how they play in February', that's bullshit. This team needs to be judged from everything that has happened since October. That's why they start keeping score in October; because that's what is relevant. The whole season counts. Go ask New Jersey. They've been without Brodeur and are still getting the job done. They're a good team. In similar circumstances, the Canucks have basically flopped.
And I can most certainly (and conclusively) say that both Detroit and San Jose are better than the Canucks. Both are considerably
better, IMO. And as for your assertion that 'the top seeds are often NOT around when the 3rd round hits', yes, sometimes that is true. The bottom line is that in the Canucks case, they are going to have to face one of them no later than the second round. So 'Who cares if San Jose and Detroit are 'better' than the Canucks on paper or on the ice?' duh, well, as a Canuck fan, YOU better start caring about it. Because unless the Canucks can suddenly start playing a whole lot better than they are, the whole exercise will be futile, and this season will be deemed to be what I've already called it...a wasted season. We can suspect Luongo will do his job, but what about Edler, and Bieksa, and Demitra, and Wellwood, and Raymond, and Bernier? And can the Sedins do what they haven't done yet, which is produce like a first-line during the playoffs? None of the guys mentioned have a track-record for delivering at crunch time. And as far as this season goes, I don't have much hope they will. I'd love for them to surprise me and do it, but until I see something once, I don't count on it happening. Maybe this year the Canucks will be the middle-of-the-pack team that will rise up and make the big run. But I don't chase that dream. Because when it (most likely) doesn't happen, you're just one year further removed from doing what really needs to be done: rebuilding this team with promising young players.