Chris King presents the Presidents’ Trophy to Canucks’ captain Henrik Sedin and also Frozone.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Imager)
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. Is Brooks Laich really a prophet? Can Ryan Miller trash talk the entire Capitals team? Will Steven Stamkos reach 60 goals? Hockey: the drama! The intrigue! The pucks!
The Good: The Presidents Trophy
Last year, the Canucks won the highest prize awarded at the end of the regular season. One that gave them the benefit of home ice for the playoffs, which made the fans unbelievably excited given that it is great to have every possible advantage you can get. However, one can argue it proved futile since we all thought that winning the Stanley Cup at home was the fairytale ending meant for the franchise, this city and the fans. OK if you look to the three series before the finals, it wasn’t entirely futile having that advantage because beating the Blackhawks at home was one of the best moments in Canucks history.
This year the Canucks once again have a chance at the Presidents’ Trophy. Does it really matter though? Perhaps the team has realized that while it is nice to be recognized for the effort put in from October to April, what really matters is what happens in the spring. I for one choose to see this team as having what it takes to win regardless of what position they finish in, partly because I am blindly optimistic but also because sometimes not winning, makes you battle harder. As long as that trophy doesn’t go to the Rangers or the Blues. Ok Canucks, I guess it’s yours to go get. Oh and don’t stop there, please.
The Bad: The Unknown
This will be my last column post of the regular season. The next time I write this, the playoffs will be underway. What will the match-ups looks like for Round One? Who will the Canucks play, the 8th seed or the 7th? Will the Sabres make it or will the Capitals crush my hope of seeing Ryan Miller and his antics in playoff mode? I wish that I could predict these things but I learned an important lesson last year – predicting and being wrong really sucks.
Will this be the last season we see Cory Schneider in a Canucks jersey? If the Sabres do make it, will the Canucks regret trading Cody Hodgson and Alex Sulzer? And who will be the biggest threat post season? The Canucks have been lucky as far as injuries and depth go, and it still confounds me how they have won each one of their games since losing Daniel Sedin to injury. Jonathan Toews has been out for the Blackhawks for their last 20 games with a concussion and he will most likely be back in the playoffs. Should we find the Canucks facing them again, well I hope we do and I hope that both Sedins are in the lineup and have ironed out whatever was preventing them from scoring earlier. Oh wait, we have other players that can score goals now so we’re all good. But I still hope Daniel comes back.
Everything changes come April 11. At least the one thing we do know is that the St. Louis Blues have the same goalie predicament that the Canucks have and that is “Who should be given the starring role in the playoffs?”
And The Final Countdown
Two more hockey games before I start stressing out and drinking beer again, plentifully! I will admit that I was hopeful, yet just a little bit skeptical at the beginning of this season that the Canucks would be where they are now. It was an interesting season and probably my favorite one since becoming a full-time Canucks fan. The team we have been watching and following since October has made us laugh, cry, scream and cheer. They did not make it look easy, especially throughout that little goalie debacle, one that is still ongoing sadly. They had injuries which made us panic, including Sami Salo’s concussion, and their top guys were not really their most consistent players as Kesler and the Sedins both faced some challenges. However, they’ve managed to get themselves to the top of the NHL, the top three for sure.
Now they are heading in to what is probably the biggest test ever, once they get through Thursday’s game against the Flames and Saturday’s date with the Oilers. They will face the most pressure that their franchise has ever had to endure and will have their pride and reputation on the line. All while having to compete with a lot of talented and deserving teams. Let’s hope that last year’s loss and this seasons success has prepared them for what they are about to face. And let’s pray that Henrik Lundqvist is nowhere in that future.