The Year so Far
The Vancouver Canucks have only played 11 games this year so far and fans are already giving the team a bunch of flack. Are the 'Nucks still the "team to beat" this year? How much longer will fans put up with the mediocre hockey they have been seeing? Is Roberto Luongo on his way out of Van City this year? Will Vancouver be a legit playoff contender? Brian Raiger breaks down these questions with his own twist on things.
With 11 games in the book, the boys in blue and green have only managed to rack up 11 points. As of now, the Canucks sit in 4th place in the Northwest Division, 10th in the Western Conference, and 19th in the whole NHL.
We all know they are better than this, and can score (proven in the 7-4 win against Washington), but we need to spread the offence into more games - I'd rather see a few smaller wins such as 2-0, 3-1, 2-1, 1-0, rather than a 7-4 win (you get 8 points with those 7 goals rather than 2 points). The point of this post, however, is to answer some questions I have seen posted all over (from other fans, some newspapers, Facebook, etc), so here we go:
Are the 'Nucks still the "team to beat" this year?
This question is hard to answer, but I believe that every team that plays the Canucks has it highlighted on their calendar. Though they lost the Stanley Cup finals to Boston in game 7, the Canucks had a ton of success last season - from winning the Presidents' Trophy, the Northwest Division, Western Conference, as well as setting a franchise record 117 points in a season.
They also had a ton of individual success with Daniel Sedin winning the Art Ross and Ted Lindsay awards, Ryan Kesler winning the Frank J.Selke trophy, Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider winning the William M. Jennings Trophy, and Mike Gillis winning GM of the year. With all of that success and with tons of hockey left to be played, I believe that the Canucks are one of teh top teams to beat this year.
How much longer will fans put up with the mediocre hockey they have been seeing?
The loyal Vancouver fans know that they have not seen true Vancouver hockey yet, but how long can we wait? I believe that majority of fans (diehards, average, and just followers) will be expressing their thoughts no matter what, but the mediocre hockey must stop now.
As a team, you want to rack up points all the time, but it is such a boost when you head into December with a good winning/point streak. If Vancouver can't find a way to do that, then the fans of all types will let them know.
Is Roberto Luongo on his way out of Van City this year?
As of right now, the answer is no. Like he stated before (when he got his new mask) his game comes late, but Bobby Lou knows he is on a short leash and needs his game to come sooner. Look to see where the Canucks stand around the trade deadline to see what happens with the 32 year old netminder. Vancouver fans are ready to embrace Corey Schneider as the starter.
Will Vancouver be a legit playoff contender?
It has only been 11 games in the season, so to say the Canucks are not playoff contenders is a complete joke. If you look at the NHL standing right now, you would see that other successful franchises, such as Detroit, Montreal, and Anaheim, are not in playoff spots as well.
Seeing a playoff series without any of these teams is like seeing seeing the Easter Bunny on Christmas, it doesn't happen. Vancouver will make the playoffs this year but not as a top 3 seed. I believe that Colorado will win the Northwest, followed by Vancouver. The Canucks will make the playoffs as a 5th or 6th seed.
Until next time, keep'er easy