The Week of a Canucks Bandwagoner (Episode III)

Photograph by Jeremy Lim.

If you believe in luck or superstitions, maybe I shouldn’t be writing here in the playoffs. The games after I write my weekly bandwagoner article, the Canucks play terribly. After my first article, the Canucks lost to the Avalanche for the first time in regulation in three years. After the second article, that was the Dallas 5-1 game. If you look at the news coming out after that game, the vocal majority was certainly foretelling the doom and gloom of a first round exit. It also seems like I write my article at high points of our collective confidence in the Canucks. All of a sudden, the Canucks feel like worldbeaters again after beating a dominant Blackhawks team. So yeah, I’m a little scared.

Read past the jump.

The Corrado Kid

Photograph by Jeff Vinnick NHLI/Getty

Hate to break it to you, but Corrado’s first game is not predictive at all of what we can expect of him going forward.

Backed up by Mike Gillis’s comments on being willing to burn a year off Corrado’s ELC if he is helping the team (wonderfully laid out here by Drance), I can already feel the expectations for Corrado growing. But this is not a situation where the daunting prospect of a second contract makes his ELC invaluable.

Corrado has been compared to Chris “Cucumber” Tanev, but with a bigger shot and a more physical presence. Simply from the way they play, this is obviously a comparison borne from convenience. Having said that, I would like to take some time to thoroughly dispense of that myth.

Firstly, Tanev broke into the league playing a strictly defensive game with a great first pass and ice in his veins. Corrado, on the other hand, is currently playing as a physical two-way defensemen. Corrado had more hits in his first game with the Canucks than Tanev had in his first twelve games combined. Corrado attempted three shots on goal in his first game. I don’t know how many games it took for Tanev to try his first slapper, but I do know that its velocity doesn’t touch Corrado’s.

On the other hand, while Corrado displayed good gap control, he doesn’t have the same exceptional patience or positioning in his own end as Tanev, and I doubt he will show the same proficiency for blocking shots.

Corrado is more than a year younger than Tanev was at this point in his rookie season. Tanev played 39 regular season games in the AHL and NHL before suiting up for the Canucks in the playoffs. Corrado may play three games in the AHL and three in the NHL. Corrado has played 84 games this year, the first time he has reached the eighty game plateau.

I’m not arguing that Corrado is better or worse than Tanev or that he won’t produce for the team. What I’m saying is that Tanev is not a great comparison. Expecting Corrado to be a contributing player over the course of any sort of playoff run is too much, too soon. Let alone expecting him to hold his own against the Kanes/Toews/Hossas of the world over an entire season.

Right now, there is little applicable film on Corrado for teams to study and exploit. Over a best of seven series, teams learn and adapt. Every flaw in his game will be exploited if he is leaned on in any sort of capacity and Vigneault knows this all too well.

In his 83rd game of the season, with adrenaline coursing through his veins, Corrado played an exceptional game against exceptional players. He may play equally well in his 84th game and every game thereafter, but don’t base your expectations off of one game, or five. Five games into his tenure with the Canucks, Kassian was our playoff savior and Bertuzzi born again. How’d that work out?

I’m pleading with you Canucks fans and bandwagoners, Don’t put pressure on the Corrado kid, and if he completely gets destroyed in the next couple of games against quality NHL players, don’t be surprised or disappointed. Corrado is the Canucks’s best defensive prospect, however, expecting much of anything these playoffs from him is far too premature.

Jumping On Another Bandwagon

When a fan jumps from one bandwagon, he or she is more often than not treated to a Bear-fur comfy, King-sized landing in another. In reality though, the grass is often just as green here as it is on the other side.

If all the readers here wanted to bet me a few dollars that the team of their choice will win the cup, I will gladly take all comers and come out the other side with a good chunk of change. While Chicago or Pittsburg might be the favorites to win the cup, it’s still a slim chance whenever one is taken against the field. As we Canucks fans know all to well, a first seed really only does so much.

All things considered, I think the Canucks chances of winning this year are at least equivalent to what they were last season. The team seems to have everyone but Booth getting healthy at the right time (knock on massive, appropriate wood). The depth on the wing is fine. If Schroeder impresses, Vancouver’s top two lines will be elite. Otherwise, Sedin/Kesler/Roy/Lapierre isn’t that bad down the middle. Canucks goaltending is at least as good as it was in 2010-11; the worst case scenario, Schneider’s “body” deciding to take a couple weeks off, involves the Canucks getting a well rested, fired up, circa-2010 Olympics, Luongo as option 1B. By the way, thank Gillis that Scrivens will not be the lodestone for the team’s playoff hopes! Imagine if Luongo was gone and we had a Scrivens/Cannata pair leading the Canucks into the playoffs. The bandwagon would be decidedly desolate.

Sure, the competition this season is stiff. Chicago has been incredible and Pittsburg is loaded in a way that really should be against the rules. As always, teams built for a rough playoff run such as St. Louis, Boston and LA are a threat and will wear any team down. But just remember, the Canucks are pretty darn good too. To win the cup, a team must be good, but being good is a necessary condition to hoisting lord Stanley’s mug, it’s not sufficient. The Canucks have been consistently good enough to win a cup for three years now and one of these years I am maybe they’ll even be good enough to win. Feel free to jump, but the grass hasn’t gotten any less green over here.

  • DCR

    I don’t know how ready Frank Corrado is, but if he does play in the playoffs I think the biggest benefit he will bring is that of an enabler by virtue of being a right-shot D. Even if he doesn’t play quite as well as some other players, he may help the D overall by allowing the rest to play in position.

    One game isn’t a fair sample, but if his presence helps Alex Edler keep his head on straight and play more consistently, that’s also a benefit.

  • In the first page of the PGT, Corrado was already being called “100x worse”. If he can make even possession/chances wise… That is definitely an awesome thing to stabilize the lineup. That may not be the case, however.

    Also, the Canucks laid a stinker again after I wrote my article…