Not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. The Canucks are a joke. On the WCS Playoff Preview podcast I had the Canucks beating the Kings in 7. If I had any balls I would have picked the Kings. The Kings aren’t a normal 8 seed. They struggled to score all season, but the Jeff Carter trade gave them the added ammunition they needed. They are the perfect type of team to beat Vancouver. Great goaltending and great skaters throughout the lineup…but most importantly…they are tough. The Canucks always struggle with team that play hard, legal, tough hockey. The Kings followed the blue print that the Blackhawks and Bruins designed. If you play physical and frustrate them with goaltending, team defense, and skating the Canucks have enough guys that will just flat-out quit. They proved it again against LA.
This is going to be a very active summer for the Canucks. It probably starts with the firing of Allain Vigneault. The coach must set the tone and create the culture for team, he has failed to come up with a formula that wins in the playoffs. After the coach is fired, the Canucks will most likely look to move one of their two goalies. It’s become pretty obvious that the Canucks trust young goaltender Cory Schneider more than veteran Roberto Luongo. However, even though the Canucks would rather keep the younger Schneider it may be impossible to unload Luongo given his baggage and more importantly his long-heavy contract. Schneider would fetch a greater return in the trade market, but the Canucks need to decide if the locker room and Luongo’s psyche is strong enough for him to take back the starting job with no issues. The Canucks have some holes to fill throughout the rest of the roster, but that may be tough to do considering their cap situation. The Canucks have $55 million committed to 17 players for the 2012-13 season and will need to replace/re-sign Sami Salo, Mason Raymond(RFA), and Sami Pahlsson. Which is tough to do when you are carrying the bloated contracts of David Booth and Keith Ballard. Both of whom make over $4 million per season.
Long story longer…the Canucks championship window with the core of the Sedins, Kesler, and Luongo is rapidly closing(if it hasn’t shut already). Things appear as if they will get worse before they get better. The Canucks have benefitted in the regular season greatly by playing in the NHL’s worst division year in and year out. The Avalanche and the Oilers are on the rise, and if realignment goes through then the Canucks are in real trouble. Could be another 40 years of rioting and walking in the desert for the fans of Vancouver. Keep shining those President’s Trophies though. As a Blackhawks fan, I’d love to have an ash tray that looks as nice as that.
PS: As the Kings-Canucks series began winding down, I found myself hoping the Canucks would come back. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but the Canucks are a better round 2 match up for the Blackhawks than the Preds would be and I still love that rivalry.
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