We’re almost through the first week of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and so far, the hockey’s been great. The Edmonton Oilers have lost on the ice and the concourse alike, and the puts the San Jose Sharks only 15 wins away from securing the Canucks a first-round pick.
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, the Canucks immediate fortunes are hard to look at positively. They’re in the thick of a coaching hunt, again. They’re tweaking the rebuild.
Then there’s the matter of the Draft Lottery, and the grim reality that nothing seems to go the Canucks’ way, save for the odd coach’s challenge this season. From the 1970 Expansion Draft to sweeping a California road trip to finish the 2015-16 season, the Canucks just seem to have the worst luck.
In 2005, when the NHL came back from the lockout, a certain teenager from Coal Harbour, Nova Scotia was inserted into the draft lottery. Watching in awe as the teams were eliminated from the Sidney Crosby sweepstakes, TSN would go to commercial with only 10 teams remaining.
This was it, this… was the moment. And they didn’t even get close.
So, when the Canucks finished 28th last season and the chance to get the 3rd overall pick became a realistic possibility, we all knew better, the Canucks were never getting that lucky. It was predetermined that hockey wasn’t going to be that nice to Vancouver. Olli Juolevi may turn out to be a fantastic choice and could anchor the blueline for years but until then, he’s not Auston Matthews or Patrik Laine or Pierre-Luc Dubois.
Listening to the Canucks Army podcast this week with Satiar Shah and J.D. Burke, my thoughts echoed what Shah had to say regarding the Canucks chances on April 29th. He felt, as I do, that the Canucks were due for something good to happen and that this lottery was the time for it to take place. It’s still a few weeks away but you can’t help but be kind of excited for the chance at a game-changing centre.
It’s been a pretty awful run of luck for Canucks fans and I’m sure the team feels the same way as well. You think Canucks president Trevor Linden doesn’t think about that post in Game 7 every now and then? How about Pavel Bure shooting it across the goal line or Nathan Lafayette? My social media namesake says it all, never forget.
The other unlucky thing – perhaps luck is the wrong word here — is that anytime a generational talent became available the Canucks weren’t terrible enough to draft him. They’ve had the option to trade for higher positioning but management has never had the gusto to spring for that player and give up something to get something.
As the season ended and the search for Vancouver’s next coach gets nearer, what kind of luck will follow this struggling franchise? All signs point to Travis Green as the next bench boss and from all accounts, he’s a pretty solid choice. But didn’t they say the same thing about Willie Desjardins? We’ve already seen what hockey has handed the Canucks when they axed Alain Vigneault and he went to the Rangers, then again after they axed John Tortorella and he went to the Jackets.
I can only hope that Desjardins doesn’t land on a team that goes on a serious run next year, it would be so typical for that to happen to the Canucks. The problem with luck being blamed though is that the team has kind of done it to themselves. Retooling on the fly since 2012 would have worked had management actually done that but now it’s a full-on rebuild.
Changing a few things internally and moving on from players that weren’t going to be part of the future could have kept the Canucks afloat but they’re at the point of restructuring the foundation and that’s how the rebuild has come to the forefront. It never needed to get this far.
Scoring a bit of luck in 2017 would really be a welcome change for the Orca faithful, and maybe just maybe, we can all believe in something that seems possible again. The Canucks aren’t anywhere near the end of this disaster but Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier would move the needle forward a fair amount.
I am fed up with how much the Canucks have been given the short end of the stick for decades and I really think it’s our time to see things go their way for once. The Canucks have had first-time coaches and first-time GMs, it would be nice to make the first overall pick for the first time as well.
Tough to say how long this lasts for Vancouver but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t gone their way a few times as well. Skill basically goes out the door when you throw the pads out in desperation or happen to be the only player that sees a puck bounce off a stanchion.
There’s the old saying “you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good”. I’m really not sure where the Canucks fall in this category but it would be nice if they were good again.