It’s been said over and over when it comes to Elias Pettersson this season or Brock Boeser last year “hook it up straight into my veins”. We’ve been given two gifts in the form of goal scoring, playmaking, and sheer excitement. Not to say the Canucks haven’t been exciting before but not like this. The 94 run brought the Canucks to the forefront of the NHL as an underdog and in 2011 they were the odds-on favourite to win it all.
The Canucks have had exciting players but none of them projected hope like the duo of Pettersson and Boeser. The infamous (r)ebuild has carried on and there has been no lack of confirmation the Canucks will not be good for some time still but somehow now it feels different. Goals are coming from the expected sources and there’s not many of them, the defense is almost identical as it was a season ago and there hasn’t been a clear frontrunner for the net.
How are the Canucks managing to sell this?
This for starters.
OK and that one as well.
One kid has turned his teammates into believers and they’ve begun to carry on his story without him in the lineup. Canucks Nation has unified once again through a bit of luck in getting Pettersson at five in the draft and equally, as amazing they stole Brock Boeser at 23. The wait hasn’t ended for a playoff-bound team but the Canucks have once again become appointment viewing.
The group that emerged from training camp looked like they were going to flirt with their record-low point total from two seasons ago when they plummeted to 69 points. Last year wasn’t much better but as Brock Boeser continued, so did Canucks fans. Believing in change is a great feeling. There’s a reason to get excited again. All the questions about sitting stale veterans are coming to fruition and for once the process seems like a real thing.
The defense has improved and Erik Gudbranson is no longer a liability.
Is it sustainable? Who cares?
It probably won’t be but even early on, this Canucks team has a moxie to them that other Canucks teams haven’t in the past. There aren’t any Sedins to talk about, no questions if they’ll retire or if their ice time will drop. The Ben Hutton questions seemed to have subsided and he is playing like he did as a rookie.
The new Canucks are making people want it in a way that feels odd. I think people have seen the perceived bottom and the jump back up the ladder is coming sooner than we all expected.
Vancouver has committed to team defense and their PK is just below sixth-overall. They’ve only given up three power play goals on 26 opportunities. It also means they’re a bit more aggressive by forcing the play a bit more which has drawn these penalties but you have to break a few eggs to make a spaghetti.
I think I may have that wrong. What about some of the other guys?
Brandon Sutter as a role player is a lot more doable than making him the second-line centre, Jake Virtanen embracing his growing role instead of forcing himself to be the immediate top-six threat everyone is waiting for him to become. He may never be the Todd Bertuzzi-type player many want him to be but he’s shown that his game has taken massive strides and #shotgunjake might be a star yet.
Loui Eriksson is still arguably the biggest question mark and what the Canucks will do with him in light of the Sam Gagner, Brendan Gaunce and Michael Del Zotto decisions is intriguing.
There are more than just these few players making people believe in change but at the top of it all is indeed Brock and Elias. These two may very well be the Canucks ticket to the top and we’ve all got a front row seat.
It’s fun to be a Canucks fan again and we want what they’re selling. We want it bad.
Photo: National Post