This season the Canucks have done many things right—they have broken old franchise records, and they have set new ones. The club stands tall atop many stats, like most wins, goals for and the best road record in the league. Not forgetting the recent Presidents' Trophy win, awarded for amassing the most points in the NHL. Many players will also be the recipients of silverware.
What makes these feats more remarkable is that the roster has often been decimated by injuries, most notably to key players like Alex Edler, Manny Malhotra and, recently, Dan Hamhuis
The playoffs commence on April 13, and Vancouver will be the favorite. Since the 2005-06 season, only one team that won the Presidents' Trophy has gone on to win the Stanley Cup (Detroit Red Wings in 07-08). All the achievements the club has reached so far are great, but…
Can the Canucks win the Stanley Cup?
Recently, five of the best Canucks bloggers and pod casters were asked that very question. Here are their thoughts:
“To be frank, there’s no reason why the Canucks shouldn’t win the Cup,” said Katie Maximick, a freelance writer from Vancouver.
“They have two great goalies, one of the best blue lines (when healthy) the team has seen in its 40-year existence and four lines of talented, driven forwards. If there was a year when the Canucks would or should win the Stanley Cup, it would be this one.”
“The Malhotra injury is unfortunate but it’s not the end all be all to the team’s shot at the Cup.”
Maximick thinks Kesler has been outstanding for the pride of BC this year.
“Kesler has stepped into an irreplaceable and vital role on the team; one that’s going to help shoulder his teammates deep into the playoffs. His drive, determination and grit represent the Canucks’ elite performance this season, and (to me) he’s undoubtedly been the MVP on the roster.”
She isn’t only singing the praises of Ryan Kesler.
“The team is the most cohesive it’s been since 1994 and it shows. They’re on top of the league not only in points but in individual player’s stats (Daniel, Henrik and Luongo). You have to also give some credit to the coach, AlainVigneault has really picked up his coaching this season.”
If the team doesn't win the cup, Maximick feels there will be a myriad of perplexed fans.
“If, however, they don’t get it done, millions of people out there will be wondering how the best team in the NHL couldn’t capitalize on such a fantastic season and talented roster.”
You can read more of Maximick’s opinions at www.canuckshockeyblog.com, where she writes a Monday column called “Ask Katie.” She’s also currently the only female hockey writer contributing to major newspapers in the city.
Jason Kurylo hosts "Pucked in the Head," a Vancouver-based hockey pod cast company hosted by Chris Withers. "Pucked in the Head" has listeners on four continents.
Kurylo believes the 1994 Canucks squad was lacking in certain areas.
“Previous iterations of the team had some impressive pieces, but there was always something missing. Even when the West Coast Express line saw Markus Naslund & Todd Bertuzzi finish second & third in scoring, they were hampered by the atrocious Dan Cloutier between the pipes.”
This time around, Kurylo thinks it’s a little different.
“The Vancouver Canucks, for perhaps the first time in their history, have a legitimate shot at taking home the big prize. This team has two solid scoring lines, and may see the Sedins not only become the first brothers to ever win successive Art Ross Trophies, but they also may end up 1-2 in scoring this year. Their defense is looking up after pandemic-like numbers with man games lost to injury and lets not forget Roberto Luongo, on pace for his best statistical season yet.”
He does have one concern.
“With all the pieces the Canucks have in place, the only thing that might hold them back is coaching. Two years running, the Chicago Blackhawks have seen Joel Quennville out coach Alain Vigneault in the second round, just hope Vigneault can keep the boys focused enough to do what they quite realistically ought to do; get a parade route in place to show off Lord Stanley beside English Bay.”
Apart from hosting his hockey show, Kurylo is a freelance writer who has been published in national magazines, Vancouver newspapers and heard on CBC Radio.
If you have ever visited www.Canadianpuckbunny.blogspot.com, you will know it has a tongue-in-cheek name but offers both serious and humorous views on the Vancouver Canucks and other NHL related topics.
Victoria Pattison is a writer and stand-up comic with a passion for hockey, and she also owns Canadian Puck Bunny. Victoria has a strong belief in the Vancouver Canucks and thinks it's time people stopped doubting the club.
“Naysayers claim Vancouver has done well in the regular season before and still tanked in or before Round 2—they’re right. It’s not the points, or clinching the Division title or even the President’s Trophy win that makes this season different. It's the fact that Vancouver is mentally a different team than they’ve ever been in the past.”
Pattison explains how Vancouver has undergone a drastic change that’s only made it better.
“Vancouver has mastered something else this year that’s evaded them previously, they’ve learned to adapt. Despite the scoring struggles of Raymond and Samuelsson, as well as the unending injuries to key players, the Canucks have found a way to win.”
She draws comparisons with clubs that have won in recent years.
“That ‘Never Say Die’ mentality is a crucial trait Stanley Cup winning teams like the Red Wings and the Penguins consistently exhibit and now we have it too. This is why I think we can win the Stanley Cup this year.”
“I had come to believe that this year’s edition of the Canucks was indeed capable of winning the grand prize. That was, of course, before the loss of Manny Malhotra and Dan Hamhuis. Prior to the injuries, the Canucks were the indisputable front-runner, the loss of key players is devastating; but the Canucks remain capable of hoisting the Stanley Cup without them.”
“This season the team has learned to persevere in the face of adversity. I truly believe the Canucks have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup.”
Christine Archambault is the sort of person who likes to make people smile and laugh. That was her goal, when one day whilst feeling bored, Archambault decided to create her own website, http://playmethatballard.blogspot.com. Since then, she has been featured in the Vancouver Sun. The displaced Vancouverite now living in Oil Country is very optimistic about her team's chances come the playoffs.
“I have never been more excited and hopeful for a team as I am with the 2010-2011 Canucks,” said Archambault.
She hasn’t always felt like that.
“If you would of asked me three years ago, I could honestly say I never would of believed that we would have at least one player leading stats in almost every category in the league. I think there is a huge improvement in attitude most popularly shown by players like Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler, they, along with the rest of the team are focusing on winning, and taking it a game at a time.”
Archambault thinks the Canucks will be victorious come June.
“The discipline, depth and bond within the players that this team has shown all year, makes me believe it may just be the recipe that will have us cheering, and crying, as Henrik Sedin raises the cup over his head for the very first time.”
So what are you thoughts? Is this the year the Canucks will be glorious?
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