April 16, 2012
Canucks On Brink Of Elimination
Sorry Canucks fans. Your favourite excuse not do spring cleaning, yard work or not watch The Bachelor has almost expired. Last year you could use the Canucks right through to mid-June. But it is only April 16th and the Canucks are on the verge of elimination. And we are only four games in.
The fact that the Canucks could lose to Los Angeles is no surprise. But no one expected the Kings to be up 3-0 at this stage. I predicted the Canucks to win in 7 games, which means the Kings had to win 3 games, right? The Kings deserve full credit for finding themselves where they are, but by no means are the Kings outclassing the Canucks, aside from the lopsided series lead. But no way are the Canucks coming back. Only three times in Stanley Cup playoffs history has a team come from behind 3-0 in a series. 3 for 170. Not. Going. To. Happen.
The Canucks can not score. They took 41 shots on net. They had another 23 shots blocked. But how many of these shots were quality scoring chances? 5 or 6. Jonathan Quick has been good, but he has not needed to be great. And that is why the Canucks find themselves where they are.
Here's some slap shots:
Max-ed Out. The Canucks had a great start on the road, taking it to the Kings while not surrendering a shot for 8 minutes. That is when Max Lapierre took a bad penalty, killing their momentum and letting the Kings back into the game.
Henrik Winded: If Dustin Brown's clean hit on Henrik Sedin did not wind him, his 3:21 shift later in the game may have. Brown (who is exactly the type of player Vancouver needs) clocked Henrik like very few players have ever been able to. But give Henrik kudos for getting back up. The Sedins are far tougher players than most give them credit for, albeit in a different sort of way. Henrik played well with strong puck possession time. After a weak game two, Henrik played very well in game three.
Where's Cody? - With the Canucks lack of offense, expect a lot of talk about the Cody Hodgson trade. I still do not think Cody would make much difference in this series, but Zack Kassian has been invisible. I warned people not to expect much from Kassian this spring, and that that trade was more for the future. Still it would be nice to see Kassian throw the odd thunderous check or 3.
Where's Kesler - A better question is where was Ryan Kesler again last night? He has gone 15 games without a goal now. He only has 10 goals in 51 career playoff games. Those are hardly elite playoff numbers. But he was flopping on the ice again last night to the point where they were showing video of American diving legend Greg Louganis on the jumbotron. At least with Will Ferrell in attendance Kesler could not be accused of being the worst actor in the building.
Schneider or Luongo: Cory Schneider played well, but like Roberto Luongo before him, did not get the win. The biggest question now is who plays game four? Neither can be blamed for any of the losses, so maybe it does not matter. I am guessing Schneider gets the start, but the long term implications of such a move could be fascinating. Does playing him in the elimination game not make Schneider the Canucks number one goalie ahead of Luongo? Does doing so send a message to Luongo in regards to his future with the organization? Does starting Schneider facilitate an organizational decision to keep Schneider and move Luongo?
The way the Canucks are playing right now it probably does not matter who plays in net in game four. And we will have plenty of time to debate the goaltending future as we do the spring cleaning and the yard work.
But do not forget there is plenty of great Stanley Cup hockey still being played even if the Canucks are out. There is never a need to watch The Bachelor.