Welcome back to the penultimate edition of WDYTT 2021, the only hockey column on the internet that’s currently buried under six feet of snow.
Speaking of precipitation, it seems that the Vancouver Canucks’ calendar year of 2021 has come to a swift and precipitous end. There’s still a chance that the Canucks play another game before New Year’s Day, but we’re not laying any bets on that.
In fact, just to be safe, we’re going to start some of the year-end wrap-up stuff right now.
The year 2021 is going to go down as one of the most memorable in franchise history, and especially when it comes to its final month-and-a-half.
We’ve seen the debuts of Nils Höglander, Jack Rathbone, and Vasily Podkozlin.
The departures of Alex Edler, Olli Juolevi, Jay Beagle, and Loui Eriksson.
The acquisition of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, and Jason Dickinson.
And, perhaps most importantly, the dismissals of Jim Benning, John Weisbrod, Travis Green, and Nolan Baumgartner, as well as their replacement by Jim Rutherford, Bruce Boudreau, Scott Walker, and other individuals who may or may not already be named by the time you read this article.
That’s a whole lot for one singular year to contain, but 2021 somehow managed it. Now, we want you to give 2021 the credit it deserves.
This week, we’re asking you:
What was your favourite Canucks memory of the year 2021?
Please answer in the comment section.
Do you still hold out hope for the Canucks to make the 2022 playoffs?
Your hopes, or lack thereof, are listed below!
The Canucks are four games below .500 hockey (measured not as the NHL does, but more honestly as wins versus all losses) with 52 games to go. And they’re playing well with solid goaltending. So, the answer is a resounding “for sure!”
Also, I bet on it. Granted, I made that bet before the season started, but still.
Ask me a more difficult question, like will Podkolzin be a Calder contender?
Anything is possible of course, but I hope Rutherford is focusing on improving the team to be legitimate cup contenders long-term. That may mean sacrificing a squeeze into the dance this year.
Either way, these guys are so much better to watch now. The effort and enthusiasm translates to fans, both when it’s there and when it’s not.
I do believe the team has a shot at the playoffs. This winning streak has brought them back into the playoff conversation. Bruce said to just keep winning the 2 out of 3, and when you look up in January, you are only four points back. Well, they are technically only four points back right now.
Of the 15 losses, 11 were by one goal or with an empty net, so that brings hope that the winning streak isn’t just luck.
Many teams will have stretches like the Canucks had and Oilers are having now, that will let the Nucks back into the picture as long as they keep winning the week.
There is some hope in these quarters for a Canucks postseason adventure, but if you’d have asked this like ten days ago, the same thing could not have been said. Five wins in a row has moved the standings needle only slightly and is a great start, but more of the same has to continue to salvage a season with such a horrendous start. Stay healthy, stay focused, and Go Canucks Go!!!
Five wins in a row has stopped the bleeding, but the patient is still on life support…though now conscious.
Heart function is improving.
It’s Christmas, so I BELIEVE!!!
Pre-season, most pundits were correctly saying there was easily enough talent on this roster to get into the playoffs. Its obvious now the team was underperforming due to substandard coaching. With Boudreau, they’re turning it around and the team is only a few points from the middle-of-the-pack teams. Some of those teams started fast, but weaknesses are being exposed. The way the Canucks are trending, there is every reason to expect they can reach the playoffs.
With over 50 games left, sure, there is still a reasonable chance the Canucks could make the playoffs. This team may be closer to contention than most believed a couple weeks ago, but Rutherford is going to have to find some upgrades in a couple spots before playoff success is likely.
A River Named Curt:
From January 11 on, the Canucks schedule will bear more than a passing resemblance to the 1977 Clint Eastwood action-thriller “The Gauntlet”. So, no, I’m not realistically expecting a playoff appearance by the Canucks.
Still, if there’s a coach that can finagle this team into the postseason, it’s Bruce Boudreau.
I am getting more positive every day. The win over Columbus was a true team win. The Oilers are showing their structural flaws. Calgary is in a funk, plus with Covid, they might not recover. The games against SJS are now true four-pointers. If they come out of those without losing ground, they stand a chance. If they come out of those two games gaining ground, then I think they can make it.
It’s amazing what a little levity brings to a team.
Dare to dream what this team would have looked like with BB and JR at the start of the season.
Beer Can Boyd:
Yes. Yes I do.
Plan the parade route, baby!
Playoffs?! We’re talking playoffs, baby!!
I’m not overly concerned if the Canucks make the playoffs. Although, it would be nice. I’m more interested in seeing this team play at a pace that a playoff team would ‘til the end of the season. Yes, this team has some flaws, but I’ve always felt they were a pretty good team. Now that we have a new coach, it seems they are a playoff caliber team.
(Winner of the author’s weekly award for eloquence)
If they win five more in a row, they’re in the hunt. That’s how big a hole they’ve dug themselves. They will have to play close to .700 hockey the rest of the way and, starting in San Jose, take points away from the competition. They’ve got a puncher’s chance right now, but we’ll know more in another 10 games. Would I bet on it? No, but I wouldn’t bet against it either. Let’s go Canucks!
Playoffs are a definite possibility. Obviously, they aren’t going to win out, but with 52 games left, the win streak has put them in a great position. Even picking up 60% of the points that are on the table puts them at 92 and that should get them in. Oddly, looking at the standings, they are only 9 points out of first in the Division and, other than Vegas, I don’t see any team that I would call a powerhouse.
Even the cynics on this board (myself included) have started to believe, at least in making the playoffs. It’s amazing!
Personally, I think the coaching change should have come ten games earlier. It seemed obvious to everyone except JB. I was not expecting a five-game win streak after a coaching change, but even playing .500 hockey would have allowed for the playoffs to be more of a reach at that point. Speaking of a reach, I now think playoffs are a possibility. Reason being that there was an underperformance before the coaching change and an overperformance after. If the overperformance can last another four or five games before we are able to see what this is (my guess, a .600 team), then, yes, playoffs are going to be in our sights. If not, then no.
The playoffs are unrealistic. The cut-off point for the wild cards will be 94 points, minimum. The Canucks have played 30 games, leaving 52 to be played. They need 66 points in those 52 games. A record of 33 wins, 19 losses. That’s just to have a shot at the end of the season. It looks like Covid is going to affect the season. The fewer games played, the less likely the current points deficit could be overcome.
Assess the team, plan for the future, and decide on who stays and goes by the deadline.
Cautiously hopeful. They have the talent and the coaching to make them, do they have the mental fortitude though? We’ll see.
Perhaps Shakespeare said it best, “If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!”
In the immortal words of Jim Carrey: “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance.”