Hello, and welcome back to WWYDW, the only hockey column on the internet to ever have the phrase “Clobberin’ time!” removed from their headline by an editor.
If there’s one creepy-crawly that won’t be biting the Vancouver Canucks in 2021, it’s the playoff bug. Two blowout losses to the Winnipeg Jets have made it clear to all but the most blue-sky fans that the Canucks are going to miss out on the postseason, and that’s obviously led to some discontent.
To keep things on the up-and-up, however, we’d like to shift focus from the playoffs to those other things a fan might look forward to as the 2021 season nears its conclusion. If you’re reading this column, chances are you’re enough of a diehard to watch every remaining game anyway, so what’s the harm in having something to cheer for that isn’t a chance at the Stanley Cup?
Whether it be trade deadline deals, the emergence of even more young talent, or Thatcher Demko keeping his name in the Vezina hunt, there are still plenty of positive storylines at play as the Canucks play their final dozen-and-a-half games.
Which will you be utilizing to keep your spirits up from here on out?
This week, we’re asking you:
What are you still looking forward to over the “stretch run” of the 2021 season?
Do you believe that the Canucks will make the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
(And if your opinion has changed on this, how so?)
And, yeah, given that it dropped right after that 5-1 loss, our timing was pretty off on this one.
Your understandably sarcastic and embittered responses are below!
They have a seven-game road trip in early April which includes a back-to-back and travel between two different cities. Not an easy way to get back into a playoff race. I can understand any fan hoping that they get back into it. Not reasonable for anybody in management or ownership to think that way. Maximize assets!
Think Canucks will make the playoffs? That delusion/dream faded a long time ago. The only chance was to sweep Montreal. They didn’t. Dug too deep a hole at the start of the year. Time to jettison expiring contracts for picks (I don’t care which picks). It’s about asset management.
I feel like this is some sort of test and if you answer wrong, someone will step in to appoint power of attorney.
It’s hard to describe how far in the rearview dreams of the 2021 playoffs are.
No, the Canucks will not make the playoffs this year. There are several factors that show this is not their year:
- If you look at the Corsi charts for the last 15 games, you realize the Canucks were on the wrong side of those charts.
- The Canucks are outshot most games and they have been the beneficiary of outstanding goaltending by Demko who stole several games. Relying on Demko is not sustainable/
- The Canucks lost 1/3 of their top-six forwards to injury (Petterson and Pearson). Add to that all the other injuries they have incurred lately you realize that the wins are not sustainable.
- The North Division seems to have some of the best goalies in the league such as Hellebuyck, Price, and Markstrom. These goalies are all capable of stealing games themselves. Just look at Wednesday night’s game where the Canucks outplayed Winnipeg but lost 5-1.
- Virtanen is just a passenger on the team. He has only four points on the season. He is a turnover machine in his own end, and when he brings the puck into the opponent’s zone, he just circles the net and either loses the puck or passes it to the point-man. I look forward to him being traded.
- Brady Holtby has been a complete failure. He is letting in at least four goals every game, and no team can win with that kind of goaltending.
- The NHL schedule is very unfavorable to the Canucks. They started the year playing a game basically every second day for 16 games, and the Canucks could not compete against the more rested teams. The Canucks have played more games than any other team in the league. The also just finished another stretch of games where they played at least every second night. The Canucks were at a disadvantage from the start and it is reflected in the standings.
- Bad contracts really hurt the Canucks this year. They lost Toffoli, Markstrom, and Tanev all because of the bad contracts the team holds. This was made worse by the impacts of Covid on the Cap Space, causing the Canucks to be really constrained in what they could do.
They won’t make the playoffs this year, but they will be a better team next year.
North Van Halen:
Yes, Virginia, I believe in Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and the Great Pumpkin.
At this point, all of those are much more probable than a Canucks playoff run.
The sad truth is Benning does not have the acumen to build a contender. The deluded take solace in having another four or five top-ten draft picks – like perennial losing has an upside.
Ten days to two weeks ago, the aspirations of making the playoffs looked somewhat believable. The cards they’ve been dealt this season strongly suggests a different outcome and early trips to the golf course. The team is too injured and the great youth core too young to make a season of it now. More irritating than that is ominous Covid and its impact on the whole world, hockey included. I realize they have to play, but it looks stupid. Can’t have another season like this one regardless of the Canucks being a good team or not.
I thought there was a possibility given Demko’s run. We saw that in the bubble last year, but OT loss to MTL and back-to-back to the Jets puts it away.
In the last two unconventional seasons, the Canucks got good luck and bad luck. Last year the shutdown came as Tanev and Markey went down and the break allowed them to heal. The Canucks went on a playoff run that was very memorable. This year, the compressed schedule, player changes and injuries took their toll.
Watching last night’s game (man, there’s not a lot of alternatives on TV LOL) I was surprised when Green pulled Demko with 5:30 left in the game. That IMHO said one thing, desperation: he knew they needed points to make the playoffs and put all his chips on red. It failed, so here we are.
Jimbo start making your deals and try … please … try to keep the cap in your mind. We don’t want other teams’ leftovers, we want draft picks, because, after all, that is supposed to be your strength…
Too low to compete and not bad enough to get a high pick. I think the current hot word is vanilla, we’re going to be vanilla. LOL.
After the first month, the only people talking playoffs was the local media. I stand by my original comment at the beginning of the season. Canucks just miss the playoffs and get some Lotto Luck!!
No, the Canucks will not make the playoffs.
This is not a big change from how I answered this question after the first game of the season. It was known the team had underlying issues and would be hard pressed to make the playoffs had the season gone well. The season has not gone well. The problems with the team are structural, and cannot be band-aided over with marginal upgrades to the bottom-six.
The Canucks have enough key pieces to become a serious playoff team. The question now is, do they patiently look to further draft and develop, or do they move out expendable assets and add the necessary pieces through trade and UFAs? Given a two-year window for the expiration of large veteran contracts, I expect more trading of picks and prospects.
I think there’s probably still a realistic chance of them making the playoffs only because the Flames and Canadiens are inconsistent (mostly garbage), just like us. Even with games in hand, I think it’ll come down to a coin-flip between the three to make the last spot. Actually, I think the North in general is weak; TO is far worse than advertised, I’ll never believe in the Oilers, and I think Winnipeg is better, but they’ve also had some down days. I think the story changes if any of those top three add what they need (depth forwards, better F, better goaltending depth) and then the separation from the bottom teams becomes more pronounced. If the Canucks sneak into the playoffs, they might eke out a win or two, but it’s hard not to see them getting crushed. For the long-term health of the team (especially translating vets into futures) you’d have to hope we aren’t still a point or two out at the end of this layoff.
My concern, one I think others share, is that we squeak in and then go out early. Management will describe that as an invaluable learning experience for the young core, but of course it’ll mean a lower draft pick. And the mediocrity gets perpetuated as a bubble team. My response to management would be “isn’t actually contending for the Stanley Cup the REAL experience you want for the players?” The fact that GMJB says we’re two years away is precisely because management has fooled itself for years in thinking the team is close and can be turned around in a hurry. Please someone do an interview with a Cup-winning GM who looks into the camera and says it got done in a hurry.
No, I don’t think the Canucks will qualify for the postseason: too big a hole to start off from and not enough games against the Senators…
I’d be slightly less surprised to see Santa Claus come down my chimney. We were going to have to continue at a 7-out-of-9 pace and that’s just not going to happen.
Time to spin the draft lottery simulator.
Chris the Curmudgeon:
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
No, we will not make the playoffs. It is simply too difficult to make up ground when always playing teams in your own division, especially when dealing with significant injuries and in an era with so many three-point games. It is the losing record against Montreal that will have done us in at the end. It is pretty clear that the Leaves, Oilers, and Jets are the three best teams in the div, and we are all but statistically blocked from finishing ahead of any of them. Conversely, I firmly believe we are a better team than either of Calgary or Ottawa. For us, the race is for fourth and is thus with the Canadiens, clearly the weakest team currently on track for the playoffs in the North. However, we have no games left to make up ground on them, have left too many points on the table in our head-to-heads, and Montreal has six(!) games in hand. Too high a hill at this point.
For this year, the pretend playoff push is over…
Beer Can Boyd: