At the beginning of this season, I made the claim that it won't be a Success unless the Canucks go to at least the Western Conference Finals. This was not a controversial claim: after two straight years of second round exits at the hands of a second tier team, it's clearly time for the Canucks to quit Thortoning up the joint and start winning in the playoffs. Sure, most Canucks fans feel that the time is now, but with a solid core of a team locked in for at least 3 more years, I will be content with steps in the right direction. It remains to be seen if the Canucks will take those steps, so, in the meantime, let's take a look at the high points and (lower case) successes of the season that was.
Luongo Takes It Easy
This could easily be called 'Canucks Get A Backup That's Worth A Shit' or 'Luongo's Self Importance Abates Slightly ' or 'Thank God Vigneault Got A Handle on His Fucking Goalie'. I've said it before: Luongo has had a Vezina caliber season, his best yet. Sure, you could argue for his 47 win 2006-07 outing, his first as a Canuck, or his (fucking incredible) 2003-04 slog, in which he was a (fucking stellar) .931/2.43 behind a truly terrible Panthers squad. But I've never seen him look so comfortable. One reason for this is that he's not scrambling for rebounds as much because of playing deeper in his crease(thank you Roland "Rollie the Goalie" Melanson.) But there is another reason: Cory Schneider. This kid has plugged right in whenever needed and mimicked Loo's stats. Those 10 extra games off have made all the difference.
Hank, meet Dank.
Well, it looks like mom told Henrik to have his turn. The Sedins continue to amaze me. They've gone from this creepy joke with potential, to an underrated creepy joke, to an elite creepy joke, to a "we don't give a fuck if you make fun of us cuz we're gonna shove goals down your face, no matter who we play against or who our linemates are" creepy joke. Daniel's campaign this year has been impressive and clutch, capturing the Ross one year after his brother. Too bad Corey Perry (writer of chitterlings-circuit successes "Diary of a Pussy Anaheim Duck" and "I Can Do Math All By My Self") has bribed every goalie in the league into spreading their five-holes to welcome his rubber love; Dank might've grabbed the Hart too, twinning his brother's achievement from last season. While that is unlikely, he's a finalist for sure, and that ain't not unbad.
While he's not being a complete jackass in the locker room Ryan Kesler has been a 41 goal, one man wrecking crew. Sure, his goals came at the expense of assists, like directly, but if the dude can finish like that, I, for one, am fine with it. I would wager, with no proof at all, that the assists taken away were just second assists anyway. The added goal production didn't, though, come at the expense of his defensive game, I would even say he got better, but then, I am a raging homer. His success seems to be, at least in part, due shutting his yap. Sadly, we get less of gems like this. I guess this is why he takes it out in the locker room. I mean literally. I'm talking about his Johnson. That's a penis.
Depth With a Capital D
The Canucks lost well over 300 man games to injury this year. They used 13 different defensemen, which is a lot. At one point, Christian Ehrhoff, was the only top six defender not injured, and he's not exactly what you would call a shutdown guy. But they kept it together. We went 6-6-0 in that stretch. Pretty good, considering. But the D wasn't the only source of depth on the team, our third and fourth lines stepped up big. Manny Malhotra was inhuman in the faceoff circle. He will be missed. Tanner Glass and Raffi Torres became two of my 3rd line favorites, due to their hard work and their ability to annoy the shit out of everyone. Lots of callups, too many to list here, had first NHL points. Late season additions Chris Higgins (thanks, Calgary!) and Max LaPierre seem to be fitting in nicely.
Wins, Wins, More Wins, And "I Kind Of Feel Embarrassed At All Of Our Wins"
Canucks fans got real spoiled this year, what with our team winning 54/82, about 2/3 of their games, not to mention collecting points in another nine. We had the best home record AND the best road record, with a couple of 5 game road sweeps in there. That isn't hard to root for. There is seriously nothing to bitch about there.
Hail to the Queef!
It's fun to make a joke of the President's Trophy. Especially when it's being won by the San Jose Sharks. But anyone who says it's meaningless is off base. Ask a leaf fan if they would have rather won President's Trophy or have a middling draft pick in an off year, if they pick the latter, they're either lying or stupid. (Which, honestly, is pretty likely. Torontonians are notoriously dishonest, and their children are dull-normal at best). Sure, it ain't what I came to dance for, but it ain't a shame to get it either. The regular season matters. The President's Trophy is an achievement, one which does not preclude a team from winning the Cup (unless we're talking about the Sharks). I'm proud of it, it's the marker of a cracking good season. Let's just hope it's paired with some post-season success.
I forgot a little music.
This is how the Canucks treat their opposition:
This is a song I can't figure the meaning of for the life of me, but I love it.