As the LA Kings seal the deal on their 2nd Cup in 3 years, so ends the 2014 NHL season, thank…the…Lord. It was relieving to watch 16 teams I have zero emotional attachment to beat each other up for 2 months. The Canucks gave me a gift this season that I am actually thankful for: a break. Goodbye to the worst Canucks season in a long, long time. We hated you.
Vancouver was out of the mix a long time ago and the ailments and misery that carried with it are now a thing of the past. What an awful season as a Canucks fan; Not only does almost everything hit the fan this year but the LA Kings have TWO FREAKING CUPS!!! IM NOT KIDDING. It doesn’t really matter though because the Nucks haven’t even threatened that trophy since 2011.
NOW, it’s time to get back to business. Congrats to the Kings, what a run! Arguably one of the best playoff teams of all time, I think I said that in 2012. They are good…real good. What does it take for the Canucks to get to “real good” status? Well, let’s look at a few things:
THE VERY TOP
Mr. Everything to the land of British Columbia, Trevor Linden, is the man in charge and he has hired a savvy GM away from the Bruins, Jim Benning, to rebuild the only team that ever loved him. Together they will need to shape a new group of players that can battle to a win in games 4, 5, 6 and 7 if needed of the Stanley Cup Final. It’s not about winning in the regular season, it’s winning in June.
THE BENCH BOSS
The NHL season is over and regardless of what has transpired in the minors, there should be only one option for a new head coach, maybe two: Dan Bylsma and John Stevens. Bylsma was recently shown the door in Pittsburgh after a handful of less than favorable playoff exits and John Stevens is the second man in command in LA. Both have Cups, both have legitimate coaching experience and both would look great coaching the Canucks. My heart wants Bylsma because I believe he can get whatever is left out of the Sedins and can turn Ryan Kesler into the true star he deserves to be. There is still talent waiting to be reconfigured and Bylsma has done it before.
This is now an issue. There is no Cory Schneider, there is no Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack, although impressive for the reigns he was given, is not ready for the heat of the Vancouver spotlight. Enter American castaway: Ryan Miller. Miller was once part of the NHL elite, he could do no wrong, was Mr. USA between the pipes during Vancouver 2010 and helped bring the Sabres back to relevancy in the late 2000’s. Now, he is a free agent and should be targeted by the Canucks before the opening bell stops ringing when free agency opens. He still can play he just needs the right place to do it again. He steals games and makes hilite reel saves. It’s Miller Time in Vancouver. (note: Miller beer is garbage)
THE OTHER GUYS
Quick and simple: move the twins to the second line, potentially with Burrows. Reward Kesler with the “C” and the top pivot job or at least top winger and land one legitimate superstar for him to play with. Shore up a defenseman that is just old enough that his second contract has just started or is coming and make a decision on Booth and Kassian. Are they hanging around or not? If not, let’s get going and get back to being awesome again. No more watching the playoffs, let’s be in them again.
Somewhat vague, I know but I didn’t say “here’s my 20 points to success”. The Vancouver Canucks need to start acting like the Vancouver Canucks again. They aren’t the Oilers or the Flames, they’re not an afterthought. Make a splash at the draft but don’t trade away yet another future star. If Tanev has to go, then so be it. Maybe Edler fetches a big sum, don’t cheap out on the return.
Just an idea Trev, maybe take a look at the 2014 Team Canada Olympic roster. There has to be a few players that look like they want to live in Vancouver. We are not satisfied with losing, we never have been but it looks like its starting to trend at Rogers Arena.
Things are getting close and with a decent crop of players available here are a few names that better come up: Steve Ott, Matt Greene, Matt Moulson and Blake Comeau. No uber stars here but value additions. Via trade there are some names that should be looked at as well: Jason Spezza, Evander Kane, Brendan Gallagher and yes I’ll say it again Shea Weber. Bring back some WHL talent and put some pucks back in the net.
Captain Canuck, now we wait.
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