On the Canucks as the regular season winds down:
1. It’s amazing really. The Canucks have failed to meet the fan and media expectations for most of the year, yet with two games to go the team has a better than decent chance of being the first repeat winner of the President’s Trophy in more than 20 years.
Vancouver has sucked all the way to the top of the league. Amazing.
2. There is a valid argument that Cory Schneider should be the starting goalie for the Vancouver Canucks. I can respect anyone who holds that opinion. I can’t, however, respect Canuck fans who jeered Luongo off the ice on Tuesday night. Luongo does not deserve that. I hate that streak of meanness that runs through Canuck nation.
3. I agree with Tyler Dellow when he writes that the latest Oiler management blunder says something telling about their competence. In terms of impact on the team now or in the future, it was pretty small beer. But if the Oilers screw up the easy stuff what faith can Oiler fans have in them to manage the tricky decisions?
Quality organizations do not miscount their post-trade deadline recalls from the AHL. I cannot imagine Canuck AGM Laurence Gilman making a mistake like his Oiler counterpart made. He plays the CBA like a fiddle.
If we assume that the injured Canucks (Sedin, Bieksa, Ballard and Volpatti) will all be healthy when the playoffs begin and the Canucks use their recalls to add Reinprecht and Bitz… The Canucks will begin their second season with 17 forwards, 9 defensemen and 2 goalies on a roster that is nearly $5 MM over the salary cap. That takes planning, good fortune and perhaps – just perhaps – a willingness to bend the odd rule.
4. A lot of fans still haven’t forgiven Mike Gillis for trading Cody Hodgson if the comments thread to this piece over at Pass it to Bulis is to be believed.
Too bad. I’m trying to figure out if there is a way Samme Pahlsson can be re-signed. Samme is an upgrade on Hodgson and Kassian is probably better than Weise. I’ll defer the evaluation of the Kassian-Hodgson piece of the trade deadline maneuvering for about five years. For now, Gillis made the Canucks better.
5. The injury – whatever it is – to Kevin Bieksa may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Chris Tanev has done very nicely alongside Dan Hamhuis. Why can’t they work as the shutdown pair, freeing up Bieksa for a more offensive role?
6. Even though Daniel is still hurt, we’ve seen the return of Sedinery since his injury. Henrik has been terrific through the winning streak. Also Guy Lapierre has really stepped up. Is Max really a fourth line centre?
7. I can understand the pressure on the Canucks to do something, but I’m already tired of the Canuck “Celebrate responsibly” advertising campaign. Does anybody believe it will influence any drunk, disappointed cretins this year? The only way to prevent ugliness is to control the celebration. Duh.
8. This has nothing to do with the Canucks, but I don’t care whether the Lightning make the playoffs or not. I think Stamkos has been the best player in the league this season. I’d give him the Hart even though Malkin has been great.
9) Speaking of trophies, Ryan Kesler isn’t winning anything this season. If there is one player who will determine how long the Canucks play this spring, it is big number 17. He’s due – overdue – to get hot. If he does…