Being on top of the National Hockey League at the halfway mark of any season would be an outstanding feat for any hockey club. If the Vancouver Canucks manage to stay on top of the race for the Presidents Trophy (awarded to the NHL team with the most points at the end of the year) they would claim hockey's greatest regular season prize. It would also be the first Presidents Trophy in the team's 40-year history.
But for many Vancouver Canucks hockey fans and the roster, the Presidents Trophy is just a small taste of what this team needs to grasp.
The Vancouver Canucks reign to the top of the NHL isn't something fans should take for granted. It simply shows that the team that has dominated the Northwest Division over the years has taken the next steps to becoming an elite team. This year's version of the Canucks is as deep as any other roster the city has witnessed.
With all the praises on this year's version of the Vancouver Canucks, fans know that once again "this could be the year." That being said, the window of opportunity for the club is very small. With younger teams across the league and most justified in the Western Conference, the team from Vancouver needs to win now.
If the Vancouver Canucks do manage to win the Presidents Trophy, what does that really say? Not much if you can't back it up in the playoffs, and being in the Western Conference the playoffs are never easy. Especially this season.
They could be matched up from a wide variety of teams going into April, and we're not talking about the typical No. 8 seed that easily becomes a stepping stone for a first place club. Los Angeles, San Jose and even last year's Stanley Cup Champions the Chicago Blackhawks could fit into that No. 8seed, which would make life difficult for any first place club.
Most fans in Vancouver have one goal for their club and that's to win it all. Not in the regular season, but in the playoffs. Over the 40-year existence of the club, the Canucks have been to cup final twice, most recently in 1994 where it took seven games and a post for the Rangers to claim hockey's most valuable prize.
Being champions of the regular season will not cut it for this city. Expectations are held high and will stay there for the latter part of the year.
The Presidents Trophy can be quickly forgotten. Just ask last year's Washington Capitals. Fans remember their season not by the two words Presidents Trophy, but by the two words Jaroslav Halak.
The top-seeded Capitals, led by Alexander Ovechkin, were shocked by the eighth-seeded Canadiens and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Caps fans don't recall last year as the year they won the Presidents Trophy. It was the year the team choked.
Vancouver is poised to make an appearance in this year's playoffs and easily could be the top seed in the West. That being the case, it's a whole new game in April and everything prior to the playoffs is most times forgotten and only remembered again with success. The Presidents Trophy would look nice, but only if the Stanley Cup is right beside it.