The Vancouver Canucks were the NHL’s President’s Trophy winners and were by far, the best team in the NHL during the regular season. But the regular season doesn’t count for squat in the playoffs. But it does show that when the Canucks are at their best, there isn’t a team as deep or as well rounded as the boys in blue.
The Canucks have sent the city of Vancouver into a frenzy by marching to the Western Conference Finals, and winning game 1 at home against the San Jose Sharks. And after watching game one, here are five reasons why the Vancouver Canucks should march onwards to the Stanley Cup.
1. Van City believes– Whether Vancouver residents want to believe it or not, the knock on the fans has always been their love-hate relationship with the team. There has been too many instances in past years when the Vancouver faithful have actually booed the team off the ice. Behaviour like that is cool in Montreal, but damn near unimaginable in neighbouring cities like Calgary and Edmonton, both cities with teams that have failed to make the playoffs as of late.
But this year, Vancouver believes. Typically by this time of the year, the Canuck flags have been stripped from the cars. But not this year. The fans have been loud, and the support for the team has never been greater and it looks like the players are starting to feed off it.
2. Roberto Luongo– There hasn’t been a goalie of this caliber that has received the level of criticism and doubt that Roberto Luongo has faced in his career. Through it all, he has consistently remained one of the best goalies in the NHL. Luongo won a gold medal in the winter games last year as he took the place of Marty Brodeur, who had for years been considered Canada’s best goalie. Now he’s finally got the right mix of players in front of him and he’s showing the world what he can do.
Just stop handling the puck.
3. Ryan Kessler– While at an NBA exhibition game in Rogers Arena, I saw a wave coming my way, so I stood up and waved my hands only to realize that it wasn’t a wave, it was Ryan Kessler making his way around the perimeter of the court to his court-side seat. Kessler was already a hero in the city and now he’s approaching Trevor Linden status. Ok, he’s got some work to do to catch the greatest Vancouver captain ever, but he’s off to a great start. Kessler has been arguably the best player in the entire playoffs and his win at all cost attitude has rubbed off on the rest of the Canucks and inspired the city.
4. Too much space for the Twins– Daniel and Henrik Sedin have caught so much flack from the press for their lack of production in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The bottom line is that they were playing against the best defensemen in the NHL. In the first round, they faced some of Team Canada’s defensive pairings in Keith and Seabrook and round two saw them go head-to-head against Suter and Weber.
Already, it looks like the Sedins have more space against the Sharks. Dan Boyle is the only blue-liner for the Sharks with any real credit. As such, the penalties that weren’t called in the first two rounds because of veteran play from stud defencemen will be getting called in this series. Henrik Sedin has already found the score sheet, by potting the gamewinner in game 1.
5. Strength in numbers– The depth of the Canucks seemed to overwhelm the Sharks. The Canucks were able to get scoring production out of their third line. The line of Raffe Torres, Jannick Hansen and Maxim Lapierre are supposed to be the line that does the grunt work, if they score like they did in game 1, this series is going to be over in a hurry.