Catching up with Old Friends - Playoff Edition

J.D. Burke
May 10 2015 03:02PM

Having exercised six of the seven stages of grief following the Vancouver Canucks unceremonious first round exit, we can comfortably move into the final such part of the program: acceptance. We've since left the anger, denial, shock, bargaining and depression behind us - each varying in degree of difficulty and length -  having just now come to terms with the heartbreak left in the wake of this season and consequently a new found appreciation for those that got away before or during it.

Except for Ryan Kesler. Screw that guy.

I mean, who among us wouldn't get a kick out of watching a former Canuck raise the cup? Maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself here though. Lets check in on some former players and coaches to see how they've done to this point and how their prospects look going forward.

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Should the Canucks Move on From Kevin Bieksa?

J.D. Burke
April 30 2015 01:00PM

For the third time in four years, the Vancouver Canucks bowed out as prohibitive favourites in the first round of the playoffs without so much as a whimper. A lot has changed in those four years, but much of the core remains the same. The same key pieces that helped drive the Canucks success towards the 2010-11 Stanley Cup are largely in tact, save for the since departed Ryan Kesler and Roberto Luongo.

A lot can happen in four years. For the aging Canucks core, much of it hasn't been good. The Sedins have lost their fastball, but managed to stay relevant with improved defensive play - all things being relative here, we are still talking about top-fifteen scorers. Dan Hamhuis aged arguably faster than any Canuck under John Tortorella and has turned from steadfast, first-pairing stalwart to serviceable top-four defender. No remaining piece from that key group of 2011 contributors has seen their abilities atrophy to the extent of one Kevin Bieksa though.

It begs the question of whether the heart-and-soul leader from the Canucks blue line has a place in the future of this franchise. The Canucks will have an awful lot of soul searching to do in the coming months. They will have to decide in that time if they want to come out with Bieksa on the other side.

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Canucks Army Postgame: Failure to Ignite

J.D. Burke
April 22 2015 12:37AM

Count tonight's game as the most important of the year for the Vancouver Canucks - the fourth of its kind, all in succession. As the saying goes, the Canucks are an average team. They have the horses to play up to higher competition, but can be just as easily susceptible to letdowns at the hands of much lesser teams. One assumed all season that when the games really counted, it wouldn't matter who played the role of opposition. We would see their best, win or loss.

Yet the Canucks find themselves down 3-1 to not just the worst team to suit up for this post-season, but historically one of the worst to suit up for any. Should Vancouver fall to Calgary, it would be wholly fair to describe this year's iteration of the Calgary Flames the worst team to win any playoff series since the era gave us the possession metrics that have aligned so regularly with objective assessments of the teams we've come to watch and bemoan.

Lets break down how the Canucks found themselves in this hole, on the other side of the jump.

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Canucks Army Postgame: Extinguished

J.D. Burke
April 20 2015 09:00AM

Looking to build on their hard fought, dominating victory that kicked off the weekend, Vancouver took the fight to Calgary playing the role of visitor in the most inhospitable "Sea of Red" - Or the "C of Red" if you're into that kind of thing. The environment was electric and the Flames play didn't lag far behind. Using the home crowd to fuel a second period rush, Calgary put their foot to the pedal and didn't let up. 

Eddie Lack was peppered with shots, the Canucks D were under siege physically and the offense mustered almost nothing in the way of a decent scoring chance. When the dust settled, the boys in blue left tonight's contest losers of a 4-2 contest and down 2-1 in the series. 

Find out where it all went wrong, on the other side of the jump.

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Canucks Army Postame: King Henrik

J.D. Burke
April 06 2015 11:44PM

Hosting a team that's fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot in the L.A. Kings, you just knew the Vancouver Canucks were going to have to bring their A-game. Should be the case most nights, but the Canucks have struggled to find their footing of late and had dropped two straight contests going into tonight's game. 

That wasn't the case tonight! The Canucks got off to their patented slow start, but recovered nicely to push back and force the game to overtime with a nifty goal from the Sedin twins in the third. Overtime solved nothing and it took a Chris Higgins goal in the shootout to secure the victory in front of the Rogers Arena faithful. Eddie Lack had 36-saves on the night, helping to secure the Canucks 2-1 shootout victory over the Kings.

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