On the offensive side of the puck:
In 1994 – Bure, Linden, Geoff Courtnall, Cliff Ronning, Greg Adams, Murray Craven
In 2009 – The Sedins, Burrows, Kesler, Sundin, Demitra, Bernier, Wellwood, Raymond
The lean: 1994 team
The truth is Linden was every bit as good if not better than Messier or anyone else he matched up with that year, Bure was money and the supporting cast were veterans with great skills.
It’s very close but for the 2009 team to live up to 1994 Sundin, Bernier, Wellwood and Raymond are all going to have to elevate their games.
Bernier needs to have a little of the burning nasty juice that Geoff Courtnall had and Raymond, Wellwood and Sundin need to find consistancy like Ronning, Craven and Adams delivered in the 1994 run.
On the defensive side of the puck
In1994 - Linden, John McIntyre, Martin Gelinas, Tim Hunter, Sergio Momesso
In 2009 – Burrows, Kesler, Ryan Johnson, Darcy Hordichuk, Taylor Pyatt
The lean: 2009 team
While the 1994 team had a defensive specialist in McIntyre so does the 2009 team in Johnson (although he is still rounding into form after some injuries).
Once again the tandem of Burrows and Kesler are the reason the 2009 team gets the nod. They are tenacious and dangerous on the penalty kill.
Hordichuk and Pyatt will have to pick up their games but in the context of the way the game is played now this group is solid.
The overall decision for offense: 2009 team
Since Vigneault split Burrows and Kesler the team has gone on a tear. Kesler has helped to get Sundin and Demitra going as has Burrows with the Sedin’s.
Not since watching a young Trevor Linden have I seen players in a Canucks uniform that are playing with the intensity and all out determination to succeed of these two.
The 3rd line with Raymond, Wellwood and Bernier/Pyatt has been showing signs of life. If they can continue to improve they will be a threat and make life miserable for opposing teams.
The Achilles: Vigneault has a penchant for juggling lines after a short lapse of productivity.
For the first time in his tenure, it appears he has found the key to open the door with this group.
Despite a tendency to “believe” the team’s success is due mainly to the “systems” put in place by the coaching staff he needs to be wary of the chemistry developing with his lines.