Folks, we are very pleased to welcome you to the first Playoff Edition of our weekly What Do You Think Thursday column in more than five years.
(Actually, this author is pretty sure that the WDYTT, or the WWYDW that preceded it, weren’t around in 2015, which would make this the first ever Playoff Edition. Huzzah!)
On that happy note, we’re looking to keep the positive vibes rolling this week by giving you the opportunity to heap some praise on those Canucks who have helped make all this possible.
For some, the fact that the Canucks are officially in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs is a pleasant surprise.
Others expected it all along, but even they have to be thrilled with the manner in which the team dispatched the Minnesota Wild and earned themselves a first round matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champs.
And if all that hasn’t impressed you, surely there’s a player or two that has.
We’re now four qualifying round games and one official playoff game in, which makes it the perfect time to identify a player or two that has outperformed even the loftiest of expectations.
This week, we’re asking:
Which Canucks’ postseason performance has been most impressive thus far, and why?
One week in, what is your overall reaction to the NHL’s return-to-play and the hockey you’re seeing on TV? What do you like, and what do you not like?
Your impassioned responses are below!
What I like is watching all three members of the Calder Connection* improve their game over a chippy quasi-playoff series.
What I don’t like is the effect of the long layoff. The first few games haven’t exactly been playoff-quality hockey. The timing, passing, gap control, and team cohesion simply isn’t there. And the penalties! I assume they are a consequence of the layoff as well. There’s just no flow to the games, which is annoying. If I was interested in watching zebras, I’d go on safari in Kenya.
* Muppet song forthcoming.
It’s very conflicting not being able to be happy when Edmonton, Toronto, or Pittsburgh lose for fear that they will win the lottery again. Enjoying seeing hockey and surprised at how well the return has worked.
(Author’s note: Crisis averted!)
The biggest issue is having an 11:30AM start for a team from the PST zone. Truly cannot find any logic in it.
The hockey is decent, about time it’s back. Seems a little sloppy at times, possibly due to nerves and the time off, but I’m sure it will get better every game.
I don’t think refs should be the stars of the game. This is supposed to be the playoffs and the calls have been soft. I want the teams to decide who wins the series. Not the refs. Otherwise it’s been great to see hockey in August!!
Like their NBA brothers, the NHL’s bubble concept puts the highest priority on the most important thing on Earth: the health and safety of human beings. Once that is addressed, fans can watch their favourite teams when many of us thought it would never happen. So far, so good, even if the zebras are a little bit ‘beer league ball hockey’ right now.
Like: hockey, actually Canucks hockey to be more specific.
Don’t like: 11:30 games that working people cannot watch. I understand the need for these, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
This is really the best-case scenario:
100% Covid-free hockey.
A tournament to win the Stanley Cup.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence by POPULAR DEMAND!)
I’m so grateful that the NHL, the players, and all the support staff are taking the risks to put on this tournament. Major props to everyone who’s out there putting it on the line so we can sit at home and enjoy.
Couple of thoughts on making this unique event a bit more fun… Let the winning team set the playlist for the next game in the series… Borrow from the NBA and get some fan faces on screens behind the benches (return of the [virtual] Green Men?)… Let us hear the chirping and chatting… Add a five-second delay and beep the cussing if necessary… More camera angles, including body cameras… Get a few different styles of presentation for the same game on separate channels or YouTube feeds (ESPN did this for the NCAAF championship). The old rules are out the window, have some fun creating the new normal.
At some point I would love to get more behind-the-scenes coverage. This has to be like going back to a travel youth hockey tournament. Remember the antics from those trips? There’s got to be some fun stuff going down in the hotels. Also, what’s the deal with girlfriends and wives? Are these guys expected to go celibate the entire tournament?
Last, can we talk about opening the seating areas for limited groups of spectators? Maybe local health care workers and front-line responders? Personal guests of the players and staff? We don’t want to break a good thing by pushing too far. But, if we can have strangers sitting together on planes, I think we can (very carefully) get a few into the arenas. Maybe something to consider for the Finals. Whomever raises the Cup deserves to have a live audience.
Where to start?
- Empty arenas with zero atmosphere or real fans to lift the players
- Next to no intensity or emotion (though I imagine the Calgary series may’ve bucked the trend)
- Cheesy video screens close to ice level pumping out meaningless graphics – like WTF
- Brutal over-the-top reffing, somewhat akin to preseason levels of ineptitude
- Rusty players unable to string proper passes, zone coverage, or decent legal hits together
- Chippy stop-start play with no flow
Other than that, it’s justttt great!!! :-p
Let’s be honest here, the whole thing is shockingly dull, boring and disjointed – everything playoff hockey shouldn’t be. I’ve tried to watch it and, as I anticipated, before the restart it’s simply unwatchable.
Beer Can Boyd:
Please just lose the loud rock music during play stoppages. I hate that at the best of times, it’s absolutely insane that they are doing it with no fans in the seats. Other than that, the hockey is a bit sloppy (to be expected), and the reffing has been atrocious, but I’m enjoying watching the young Canucks learn about post season play. EP and Hughes are worth the price of admission every night. Barring injury, both are going to be stars for years in the NHL. Think Arizona and especially Detroit might like a do-over on the 2018 draft?
(Author’s note: What price of admission?)
This pains me to say, but kudos to Bettman and Co. for being the most successful professional North American league bringing the games to life in a Covid world. They’ve hit it out of the park (so far). That said, this is their time to reimagine and experiment with the viewer experience. Show us something different and more creative.
My main question is, when they award the Stanley Cup, will they pipe in the ‘boooooo’ when Bettman walks out into the ice?
I am enjoying watching the Canucks shake off the rust and improve every game. While I don’t enjoy all the penalties, I am glad the refs are trying to keep players accountable. I don’t like seeing the playoffs devolve into a hack-fest that limits the creativity of the best players. The giant screens that show graphics tying in with what the announcers are saying is a nice touch.