Written by: Larry "The Nucks IceMan" Johnson
I have been thinking about this for awhile now as I look around the league, quickly allowing the other team’s picture in my mind, and draw up an image of what they represent.
Then I stop on the home team and the one thing that is truly glaring about the Vancouver Canucks for me is their lack of identity. Let me explain.
When you speak about teams like the Washington Capitals, you think of O.V. and the talent that surrounds him at forward and on defense. The San Jose Sharks conjure up images of size, talent, and speed. The Pittsburgh Penguins and “Sid the Kid”, their dynamic young leader, who helped lead them to a Stanley Cup.
The Montreal Canadiens of years gone by were a superior skating team, with a proud tradition backed by winners of 24 Stanley Cups. The current Chicago Blackhawks have youth, talent, speed, size, toughness, and the list goes on.
When we think back about the Canucks of years gone by, we remember the Pat Quinn Canucks, who had a little bit of everything. Size, toughness, scoring, goaltending, and let’s not forget, a player that help give them their identity in the hard working, never quit, and team first Trevor Linden.
Marc Crawford’s Canucks were a whirling, foot to the peddle, up the ice attacking lot, with Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison, and Ed Jovanovski. Boring they were not!
So when I mention the Vancouver Canucks of today, what comes to mind? Captain Roberto Luongo? He's a very good goalie but not great, surely not in the category of Marty Brodeur. The Sedins? A talented, consistent, point production pair but not really flamboyant.
That’s all positive, but what is the team’s identity?
This group is not loaded with talent, not big and tough, or lunch-bucket hardworking. It is not in the speed possessed category and definitely does not have a winning tradition.
It is a mediocre team at best and is that what you want as your team’s identity?
You see, that’s the problem, no one has figured it out.
Right now this is a team that has a bit of former GM Dave Nonis and now current GM Mike Gillis, which makes it what exactly?
Unlike past Canuck GM Brian Burke, who stated what he wanted his team to be wherever he has managed, I never have heard what Dave Nonis or Mike Gillis envisioned about this group.
So if management doesn’t know, and the players haven’t establish one, what do you use as a reference point?
I tell you, after four plus years with this current core group, I am as puzzled as you. Don’t you think it’s time to have some clarity for the players, the organization, and the forever faithful fans?