With a Thud
The season ends with a whimper for teams that miss the playoffs. For those teams that do play in the postseason, it ends with a thud for all but the champion. So it was on Tuesday night for the Canucks and their fans. A thud, then emptiness, then recriminations.
I do much better dealing with the thud and the emptiness than with the postmortems that inevitably end with the conclusion that the Canucks are not good enough, and never will be good enough. In the words of Ed Willes, “This team’s biggest sin appears to be that they are good, not great.” In my books, that’s not much of a sin.
They lost to a better team, but the Hawks aren’t that much better, and Gary Bettman’s CBA is going to drag them backwards next season. It does that to every very good team (I don’t think “great” is possible in the Gary Bettman Hockey League) and next year is Chicago’s turn. The Canucks needed better performances and better health and better luck. If there is any consolation to the thud this year, it is that had the team managed to survive Chicago, they were not going anywhere without Mitchell, Edler and Salo. The Canucks needed all hands on deck and they needed all players at the top of their game.
They had neither. End of story. The same thing will be true next year no matter what Gillis does this summer. They will be a good team that needs great performances, good health and good luck to do better than this year. Why is that so hard to accept? It is the same for every good team. The good news is that they probably won’t be any worse than they were this year, again no matter what Gillis does this summer.
And a season that ends with a thud is a lot better than a season that ends with a whimper.