by Tyler Rowe
It would appear that I was too optimistic about the Vancouver Canucks playoff chances for the second year in a row. In case you haven’t heard, the Canucks were unable to win one game against the San Jose Sharks, not even for the Gipper. And over the next week, I’m going to try to figure out why that happened and what needs fixing. If Vancouver is talented but unable to win a single game against a good but beatable opponent, then either something is broken in the coaching staff, or in the team’s player personnel and the culture they engender as a whole. *Spoiler Alert*: It might be both. Continue reading
by Tyler Rowe
He was injured, obviiiii. We knew that Kesler had a history of not fessing-up to the media about being hurt until the battle is over, as when last year when we found out that he would need surgery after The Finals That Musn’t Be Named, Part III, and it would seem things were no different this time around. Reports are out that Kesler played the final third of the season with a torn labrum (“a lip-like projection of cartilage on the human scapula surrounding the joint between the humerus and the shoulder blade”. Thanks Wiki); you can call Ryan Kesler a vain, pizza-eating show-stealer, but you can’t call him an excuse-maker. Also like last year, Kesler can look forward to a long summer without being able to fully train, if at all. The doctors have his recovery at six months, which would bring him back around the beginning of December, a full six weeks later than his return in 2011-12. The Canucks looked dismal last autumn in awaiting Kesler’s return and subsequent readjustment to full-time hockey this season, and if he returns on December 8th next season, it will be with at least 25 games in Vancouver’s rear-view on the schedule, good for nearly a third of the next movement.
Of course, after an unceremonious ousting by the good-as-they-should-have-been-from-the-get-go 2011-12 L.A. Kings, plus all the Luongo/Schneider talk, and the uncertain futures of Manny Malhotra, Mason Raymond, Keith Ballard and even coach Alain Vigneault, Vancouver is bound for at least some changes. Calls to blow up the roster of the consecutive President’s Trophy winner are reactionary, childish drivel of course, but I think we can agree that there will be at least some changes. What Vancouver Canucks team that Ryan Kesler comes back to could have a lot to do with their chances to right the ship in the 2012-13 campaign. But what is the correct course of action for #17 himself? Kesler beat his return date from his 2011 hip surgery by weeks, but perhaps never fully healed. His 2010-11 campaign saw him record 41 goals and 32 assists in 82 games, but in 2011-12 Kesler only managed 22 goals and 27 assists over 77 games.
Ryan Kesler has shown he’s the kind of guy who is willing to play the game he loves at all costs. Lets hope the Vancouver Canuck medical staff can help him see the long view. I for one would rather have a fully healthy RK17 for 50 games than an 80% healthy one for 82. For whatever Mike Gillis gets done this summer, let’s have Kesler come back when he’s good and ready, huh?
by Brian Beitz
I must admit, I’m confused about the Canucks’ current predicament. The team was awarded the 2011-12 Presidents’ Trophy, and that trophy, according to the NHL, is awarded to “the club finishing the regular season with the best overall record.” Best. And it only stands to reason that the club with the best overall record is the best club, right? So how did it come to pass that the Canucks found themselves down 0-3 and facing a sweep in the first round against the 8th seed LA Kings—the first such sweep in NHL history?
Surely, the explanation must be something other than “poor play.” Poor play is not indicative of the best team in the NHL. Poor plays are indicative of high school musical theatre. Wednesday night, in Game 4, the Canucks came out strong in the 2nd and 3rd periods, scoring 2 powerplay markers en route to a 3-1 victory. The difference between Game 4 and the first 3 games of the series, aside from the fact that the best team won, was that Daniel Sedin finally returned from injury after suffering a concussion at the
hands elbows of Duncan Keith. With Daniel’s return came a return of the Canucks’ top line, their cycle game, and the Team 1040’s annoying game of “Which twin said this?” It’s safe, and fairly obvious, to assume that the Canucks have struggled in large part because they have been without their leading scorer.
And since the Canucks are the best team in the NHL, as acknowledged by the league, they must just be unlucky. As you’ll see after the jump, this isn’t the only season where that’s been the case.
by Tyler Rowe
I think the feelings of Vancouver Canucks fans have pretty much been summed up by Kevin Sorbo’s inability to read a script. I could probably end the post right here (alas, I could go on and on). We all know the statistics on teams coming back from a 3-0 deficit. The Leafs did it in 1942, the Penguins did it in 1975, and the Flyers did it in the 2010 Eastern Conference finals on their road to a game-6 cup loss to the Blackhawks. That’s three times ever. That’s not enough times. You might be particularly disappointed if you had launched a Canucks blog a few months ago and were counting on a long playoff run to help build momentum.
by Tyler Rowe
One of the members of the HF Boards Canucks community, Caley Rombout, made these unbelievably sweet Canuck superhero photoshops, and when I saw them, I knew we had to put them on the site. Get ready to soak up some awesome, folks.