Why the Vancouver Canucks Struggles Will Help Them Come Playoff Time

John Bain@John_BainCorrespondent IIDecember 20, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  The Vancouver Canucks react after being defeated by the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Vancouver Canucks are clearly past their early season struggles as they inch closer and closer to the Minnesota Wild for the Northwest Division lead.

Despite their early issues, and battle to get over their Stanley Cup hangover, the Canucks will be able to use their struggles from the early part of the 2011-12 season to help them in April.

The adversity and bad press the team received following their seventh game loss to the Boston Bruins in last year's Stanley Cup Final and into the early parts of this season have now enabled the Canucks to know how to deal with these situations this year.

Not only will their experience from last year help them, but so too the early struggles of this season.

Not everyone recognizes this, but the Canucks rarely have a good first month to the season. Since the lockout, the average record of the Canucks at the end of October is around .500.

Yet almost every year the Canucks find themselves as Northwest Division Champions come playoff time. So clearly their struggles in the past have helped them come playoff time before.

In 2011-12, whether it be the inability of the second line to find chemistry, Ryan Kesler's early return, or the goal-tending "controversy," several aspects of the Canucks game has either been a distraction or the face of adversity has reared its ugly face again and again.

Going forward, the Canucks struggles will help them come playoff time because of the fact the Canucks are excellent at rebounding and learning from mistakes. They will take what they learned from the Finals last year and apply it to their game, making themselves that much more effective.

In terms of what has happened this year, you can already see they have made adjustments and it is directly reflected in the record. 

One thing the Canucks are all too used to is injuries, and their ability to have players step in and perform has really helped them so far this season, and come playoff time with all the bumps and bruises, their ability to return from injury as well as being able to count on call-ups from the farm and be confident with their play will really help the Canucks long-term.

If you could define the Vancouver Canucks with one word, it would probably be adversity. This team faces more man games lost to injury each season than any other in the league, yet they are able to continue to be a winning team.

If anyone knows how to deal with a bit of struggle or adversity, it is the Canucks, and you can count on them learning, dealing with their struggles and performing well come the 2012 playoffs.


John Bain is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist

Follow him on Twitter: @JohnBainSports