Let’s do a little exercise in Canucks history shall we? Remember back in 2011 when everyone had the team pegged to be the Stanley Cup Champs in October? Well they didn’t win it in case you happened to forget, or you lived in a bat cave or something, but I guess in the batcave you’d have wifi. Vancouver and most of the hockey world believed it was time the Nucks won the Cup and they almost did.
A shootout loss to the Kings in the first game of the season with those sick awesome retro 40th jerseys and ok, the Kings had purdy neat ones too! Were they doomed? No. Still no 82-0 teams ever so it was fine. The team got it going early though and redeemed the prognosticators, so basically Twitter.
The Canucks had a great goalie tandem that won them games they might have otherwise lost. The beauty of it was on any given night it was Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo and it didn’t matter; we were excited to see both and a W usually resulted with the start. This season has been a bit of a learning experience and possibly a little hesitation on coach Willie Desjardins‘ part to cycle both goalies.
He certainly trusts everyone in front of Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack when he confidently rolls 4 lines nightly. They have earned it though. Pick a night, any night and aside from the few stinkers, it could be the Sedin line, the Bonino line, the BoHo line or the Vey line stepping up and leading the charge. Even in 2011, it didn’t quite feel this impressive. I do remember how great Manny Malhotra was (61.7 % Faceoff wins, 2011)so don’t think that team sucked or anything.
This 2014/15 has impressed so far and safe to say not many people thought this team would be where they are at this point. 6th in league standings, Miller putting up top 5 goalie stats and countless other achievements by the rest of the team but they are still missing something.
What I’m getting at is, as good as the 2011 team was, when they were pushed and forced to show what their compete level was, they answered the call. Again, a few stinkers to start the year, ahem Chicago game; but the realization games came when they battled Anaheim and Dallas late in 2010. When Cory Schneider stole the game against Dallas on New Year’s Eve, that was the a ha! moment. That’s when this team really turned it on.
When the Red Wings beat Vancouver over the weekend, that was the kind of game that could have helped the Canucks cause not only in the standings but in the makeup of what this team can be. It’s still early but those “test” games need to be statements that this year’s team actually CAN do some damage. If the LA Kings are still wiping the floor clean against all things Vancouver, there is still work to be done.
The win against the Ducks and Ryan Kesler was huge but one game does not a season make. Beating the Blackhawks convincingly wasn’t what it used to be and the hate level just isn’t there. Maybe that’s a good thing. If this team can put some emotion into their games going forward it might help swing a decision here or there.
So maybe the Canucks can start showing off just a bit in the next while against oh I don’t know, Pittsburgh? Maybe a thrashing of the Leafs, burying the Habs in Montreal and the California crew to end the calendar year can help silence this critic.
Sure, Vancouver is 17-7-1 and 1st in the Pacific, but they haven’t won anything yet.