There, there, Canucks fans. You’ll be okay.
We fans like to think that we have a connection to the team. A big, direct connection such that our mundane, daily actions somehow have an effect on the success of the Canucks. This feeling gets amplified ten-fold during the playoffs, as stress and anxiety levels reach feverish heights and we become focused on nothing but the next game and, hopefully, another victory.
This year, Canucks fans’ dreams were dashed again far too early. But don’t worry. It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault the Canucks lost because you didn’t wear your lucky shirt or hat, or because your jersey has a stain on it. The Canucks lost because they didn’t win a single home game against the Blackhawks. Vancouver had the league’s best home record in the regular season and dominated their own rink. Against Chicago, they went 0-3, were outscored 17-7 (that’s an average loss of 6-2), and never led a game. Not for one minute. They never held a lead at home! There is the most important reason why the Canucks lost the series.
It’s not your fault the Canucks lost because you grew a bad playoff beard, or started growing it too late, or because you brushed your hair a certain way. The Canucks penalty kill was once again totally inept. They were a terrible 21-for-28 (0.750) on the PK, thus allowing 7 PPG in 6 games, surrendered two backbreaking shorthanded goals, and looked confused and disorganized any time Chicago had the man advantage (with the exception of Game 5).
It’s not your fault the Canucks lost because you drank a certain beer, or too much beer, or not enough beer, or spilled a beer. Roberto Luongo was so average in this series, these playoffs, and this year in general, that it has many fans asking questions about the star goalie and Canucks captain. He went 6-6, with a .897 Sv% and a 3.5 GAA. These are terrible numbers for any goalie in the playoffs. And let’s remember he starts making $10m next season. Time to start earning it, Lu.
It’s not your fault the Canucks lost because you watched the game at a particular bar or your buddy’s house, or stayed home for each game. The Canucks forwards were limp and ineffective. The Sedins, Burrows, Kesler, Samuelsson, and Demitra were shells of their regular season selves. Their point production was sparse, they failed to control play and they couldn’t muster any timely goals.
It’s not your fault the Canucks lost because you clipped your toenails, moved your favourite Canucks mug two inches to the left, or have the Fratellis on your iPod. The Canucks defense was rudderless. They had no leadership, no direction, no unity. They often looked hurried, confused, and out of sync. Clearing their own zone was often a recipe for disaster. Injuries aside (every team has injuries), the Canucks defense coaching didn’t appear to have any system or plan whatsoever. A perfect example of a plan well executed is the defense of the Montreal Canadiens this year. They are playing a nearly flawless system and have had to battle through some key injuries. One has to ask if there was ever a plan at all in Vancouver.
So take heart, Canucks fans. It’s not your fault they lost. The Canucks lost because they have some flaws that need fixing. They lost because they looked tired. They lost because the Blackhawks are a better team.
Rest assured the Canucks will face the Blackhawks again in the second round next year. They will go to game 6, which is almost guaranteed to be played on May 11, 2011.
Let’s just hope the third time’s the charm.