This is a weekly feature that will highlight The Good, The Bad and The *fill in the blank* exciting things that are currently happening in the NHL. Should we have a national "Hug A Leafs Fan" day? Will anyone care if I laugh really loud when the Flames get their playoff pink slip? Will the Canucks powerplay ever be good again? Hockey it ain’t over till it’s over.
The Good:It’s there if you have a magnifying glass.
So their scoring leader is out with a concussion, the reigning Selke Trophy winner has gone pointless in a better left unmentioned number of games, and their top two lines have been shuffled more than a deck of cards in Vegas. Take a deep breath Vancouver while we take a look at what IS working because despite the panic that we feel as Canucks fans, at least our team is making it to the playoffs.
Goaltending: two goalies, two consecutive shutouts. It’s fun to think that Luongo and Schneider are secretly having a goalie-off and just trying to out-do each other. Are they saving their best performances for the end? I hope so. They are doing something right and hopefully the rest of the team takes note. Kind of like David Booth has because not only can he score big goals, he apparently can fight. Yes, David Booth. Was anyone else more than a little surprised to see him drop his gloves to take on, and win against, Mark Olver on Wednesday? I don’t know where his newly found aggression is coming from but I like it.
The Bad: Hockey Unknowns
When will Henrik score next? Will Edler stop getting his sticks from IKEA? Will Burrows ever make it back to the first line?
Life is all about cause and effect, rewards and punishments, penalties and powerplays. Remember when the Canucks used to be really, really good at powerplays? I used to cheer when the they were awarded with one and now I just get nervous for them. What happened? Why are they no longer the dominant offensive machines that we’ve become used to over the past several seasons? It has been hard enough getting goals at full strength, but if they are struggling with a man advantage – against Colorado – then what is going to happen when they face much better teams in the playoffs?
We know that the Leafs are not going to the playoffs, but what about the Sharks? They are still in a race for that last spot in the west right along with Colorado, Phoenix LA and uh, Calgary. It will take a miracle for the Flames to make it. What about those Jets? They are looking worse and worse as they are now 8 points behind both the Sabres and Capitals in the east. I have to admit, it is somewhat thrilling to see teams fall off the playoff train.
And Winning is Everything
It really has been a roller-coaster season so far, one that seems to have come and gone extremely fast. There are five games left in the regular season for the Vancouver Canucks. Five games that still give the Canucks a chance to make it to the top of not only the western conference, but also the league. This team is under a microscope. It is obvious that this season is very different from last, and for the most part this is a good thing.
The Canucks have something now that they lacked last year, and that is pretty much an entire team with the experience and memory of the grueling run to and through the Finals. They won everything last year except for the Stanley Cup and it’s about time that they got the ultimate, most coveted NHL prize. Despite being far from flawless, the Canucks have had an exceptional season and I know a lot of fans are feel like "If it’s not this year then when will they win it?" Well I believe that they can do it this year, and I just hope they don’t prove me wrong (yet again).