March 16, 2010
Funny Feeling In Vancouver
That's Mike Bossy scoring against "King" Richard Brodeur in the 1982 Stanley Cup finals.
For many Vancouver fans like myself, that was the first great moment in Canucks team history. Against long odds, and completely unexpectedly, the Canucks were in the Stanley Cup finals.
A similar situation unfolded in 1994, although that team was far better and were a couple of game 7 goal posts away from actually winning the Stanley Cup.
Aside from those two glorious springs, playoff hockey in Vancouver has historically been more about early exits. More recently it has been more about disappointing results.
But there is a funny feeling in Vancouver these days. Perhaps it is just post-Olympic optimism, but it seems to me that for the first time ever the Canucks fans see their teams as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
Now they said that of teams in both the Pavel Bure/Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund/Todd Bertuzzi era, but those experts were ultimately proven wrong. And I don't know that Canucks fans even dared to believe in it back then, anyways. Years of disappointment can be really hard on a fan.
But this spring I like Vancouver's chances so much that I'm willing to risk jinxing it by coming right out and saying it. I'm not quite going to pick them to win the Stanley Cup just yet, but, if healthy, I like their chances in the Western Conference.
Chicago is the odds on favorite, no doubt. Vancouver has some concerns - I don't like the 3rd and 4th lines and the lack of a #1 defenseman. But I do not know that Vancouver has ever entered the Stanley Cup playoffs with a better team.