On the subject of silly things overheard on a forum, how about the suggestion that this Canucks team isn’t prepared to face adversity, isn’t resilient like the Canucks team of last year that led the league in comeback wins? Damning evidence: The Canucks don’t lead the league in comeback wins this season.

I read a comparison to the Sharks of 2009, who, despite the President’s Trophy, failed to meet expectations. Their explanation was that, with no adversity to face in the regular season, they weren’t prepared to lose games and recover. Once things started to go against them, they collapsed. Sound familiar?

Actually, it does. It only happened two years ago. If it doesn’t sound familiar, chances are you’re a very new hockey fan. Still, despite this story’s familiar sound, it’s not at all related to the Vancouver Canucks.

It’s easy to say the Canucks haven’t faced any real adversity. After all, they never trailed a playoff series. They also didn’t have to fight very hard to make the playoffs or win the division or even the conference. They’ve got two Art Ross winners, a Selke candidate, a Vezina candidate, a Jack Adams candidate… they’re so used to things going their way, what happens when they don’t?

The problem with that theory is that things haven’t gone their way. The Canucks have faced loads of adversity this season. They’ve faced injuries, they’ve faced scandals, suspensions and the like. They went a long period where they were unable to win twice in a row. At the beginning of the season, they went on a losing streak and really just sucked for a while. In the playoffs, they’ve had to fight through a determined Blackhawk comeback, get through a crazy defensive team in Nashville, and beat the San Jose Sharks, who, rumor has it, are pretty good. The worst goaltender they faced in these playoffs won the Cup last season. That’s adversity.

Sure, on the surface, it looks like the Canucks have had a really easy season, but in reality, it only appears like that because the Canucks are so resilient none of their difficulties has lingered long enough to become a big story. Recall that Yann Sauve played a couple games with the Canucks. They were that far down into their depth because the blueline was decimated. There was a point this season where Sami Salo was the Canucks’ healthiest defenseman, and the only reason people don’t count that as adversity is because the Canucks continued to win despite these injuries. Similarly, the Canucks haven’t had so many comeback wins this season because more often than not, they score first. They haven’t trailed in a series, but they’ve faced elimination this postseason. They’ve been one shot away from a playoff ouster. That’s adversity aplenty.

So to all the folks panicking, chill out a bit. This isn’t anything the Canucks haven’t faced before. Vezina-caliber goaltender? Been there, beat that. Norris-caliber defenseman? Try rounds 1 and 2. A team coming back from a deficit to tie the series in a humiliating fashion? That’s so two months ago. Really, as far as adversity goes, the Bruins are going to have to come up with a lot more creative stuff if they’re going to beat the Canucks.

Should Schneider Start a Game?

No.

Are we still talking about this? Really, Vancouver, if you don’t earn a reputation for the most fickle and ungrateful fans in the league, it won’t be because you weren’t trying. The Canucks are in the Cup Final because of Luongo. Starting Schneider would invigorate the Bruins, it would cause chaos with the Canucks, and it’d put an inferior dude in net, thus drastically reducing the Canucks’ chances to win the Cup. The Canucks are only two wins away, who’s thinking about changing goaltenders now?

Luongo has been the best goaltender in these playoffs. Thomas may have some impressive numbers, but keep in mind that he’s playing for a team that helps him out a lot more than the Canucks help Luongo. The problem with the last two games wasn’t Luongo, it was the team losing their composure. Speaking of which…

The Canucks Have Lost Their Composure

When Jannik Hansen was robbed of that beautiful chance in Game 2, CBC showed him smash his stick against the glass in frustration, and I thought… wait, what? Why would he do that? I mean, sure, he was frustrated, but, I thought the Canucks were past that.

They were. They’re still supposed to be. But even in Game 2, the Canucks were losing their heads a little bit. It’s not just the Bruins, it’s the Cup Finals. This is where Samuelsson would have been great. A guy who’s been there, who can chill the Canucks out a bit. The rules don’t change when you hit the Final. The Canucks will figure that out, hopefully before tonight’s game. The team forgot their zen approach, their whistle-to-whistle play, and all the little things that made them win. The usual suspects of Kesler and Burrows have especially forgotten what they’re doing.

The Canucks are an offensive juggernaut but they’ve hit a rut, and in order to get out of it, they’re going to need to get back to basic hockey. A home game will help remind them of who they are and how they play. Once the Canucks get back to playing their calm, composed game, they’ll stop being frustrated and start winning again.

Fatigue Will Be a Factor

Before the series, it was observed that the Canucks were a much more speedy team, and that this should be a big factor. I didn’t put too much stock in that, because the Bruins play in the East, where they’re surrounded by speed. If they couldn’t handle speed, they wouldn’t have come out of a series with the Canadiens or the Lightning. They might not have even made the playoffs. They know how to beat faster teams.

The only catch is, doing so is tiring.

The Canucks are typically solid in the third period. They haven’t been in the last two games, but in the last two, the games were pretty much out of reach by the third. One of the reasons they do so well is because the second period wears the other team out. A long change is hard to deal with against a fast team like the Canucks. The Canucks have speed throughout their lineup, which means the opposition is constantly hustling. There was talk after Game 2 that Chara was looking tired, playing too many minutes. Well, he’s still playing a lot of minutes.

The Canucks travel quite a bit; the Bruins don’t. The Canucks are speedy, the Bruins aren’t. The Canucks have a guy studying and maximizing their sleep patterns; the Bruins don’t. When there’s coast-to-coast travel involved, home ice advantage is a pretty big deal.

All of this means that the Bruins should begin to tire. The longer the series goes, the better for the Canucks.

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16 comments

  1. Chicky
    June 10, 2011

    Nicely put. I believe in them. Lets hope they believe in themselves.

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  2. whisky jack
    June 10, 2011

    I hope it’s not a blogging crime
    To submit something a second time.
    Last time it was disliked by three
    Which really sort of bothered me.
    I thought I’d been somewhat reflective
    And put things to a right perspective.
    I would your fans would clarify
    What they don’t like with reasons why.

    hockey

    it’s just a game that people play
    those really good do it for pay
    others watch and rave and rant
    their comments have a biased slant

    they claim one team is truly mean
    and point out things that they have seen
    remaining blind to other facts
    concerning how their own team acts

    and as they’re playing for a cup
    fans truly have their danders up
    believing it would be a sin
    mayhap the evil team should win

    it’s just a game that people play
    how many children died today

    Over 22,000 children die every day around the world. That is equivalent to:
    1 child dying every 4 seconds 15 children dying every minute Just under 8.1 million children dying every year Some 88 million children dying between 2000 and 2009 The silent killers are poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. Despite the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage.
    Global issues.org/article/715

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    • kim r
      June 10, 2011

      Where’s the link to the donation page?

      You know, while I see your point and know there are other issues in the world, is it a crime to have a few hours for entertainment?

      Don’t know about you, but if I were to rend my garments on the strife and injustices of the world 24/7, I’d be nuts in three weeks. I’d rather enjoy my circuses when I can so I can rend more efficiently the rest of the time.

      Plus don’t assume that because we like our entertainment that we aren’t spending our time and/or $$ on what we personally consider the important stuff.

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    • Qris Johnson
      June 10, 2011

      You do know that you’re on a hockey blog, right? There’s no reason to believe that people who talk about hockey don’t donate or in other ways pay proper attention to other issues. If you were wondering, “Why isn’t anyone here talking about the starving children,” it’s because this isn’t globalissues.org, it’s the Vancouver Sun Sports Blogs. It’s as relevant to talk about starving children here as it would be for me to go onto a blog about starving children and say, “So, how about them Canucks?”

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      • whisky jack
        June 10, 2011

        wonderful responses! thank you. i totally agree with your observations. i just thought i’d put a little perspective on the excitement which with some people seems borderline fanatic.
        cheers.

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  3. peanutflower
    June 10, 2011

    Excellent. I have never wavered yet. For 40 years. It’s too bad we can’t put paragraph ” Vancouver, if you don’t earn a reputation for the most fickle and ungrateful fans in the league, it won’t be because you weren’t trying” out there somehow and get people to just STFU and keep the faith. Canuck fans — and let’s not forget the media — seriously, Province and Sun, you should be ashamed — are notoriously fickle and it just plain sucks. It makes me have bad dreams and lose sleep, and buy too many bottles of wine.

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  4. Sharkhitect
    June 10, 2011

    Finally a well spoken answer to the starting goalie question (who even asked that question in the first place…?). Schneider has been great this year in doing what he was supposed to do, play 20+ games and allow Luongo to rest up for a long playoff run. Given Lu’s performance in the playoffs, I’d say that the plan is working and we need to stay the course.

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  5. Otis
    June 10, 2011

    One more positive thing… the ice in Boston was terrible. It made it much harder for the fast skating Canucks to play their own game and take advantage of their speed. Two out of three games will be on Vancouver ice.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 10, 2011

      Hmm. Anybody remember the Dismemberment Plan? Ice of Boston was one of their best songs.

      http://youtu.be/p5dt_tJsqLc

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  6. Rituro
    June 10, 2011

    Dammit, Qris, why did you have to write a thoughtful, objective article that has me even more pumped for Game 5? I practiced my pool-flipping form for nothing! NOTHING!

    (Kidding. No pool-flipping until the series is over.)

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  7. Danrik
    June 10, 2011

    Another good read. PITB is the only thing I can face reading/watching/listening to at the moment, the rest is such extremist negative horsesh1t and makes me even more mad! Let’s go, two more wins baby!

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  8. kim r
    June 10, 2011

    Good post. As long as they win their home games who cares what they do in Boston?

    Regarding the loud people complaining about Luongo: Most of these people are either “journalists” trying to gin up their readership by posting nonsense or people who really don’t watch hockey and believe the “journalists” ginning up readership or the usual crowd that comes out of the woodwork during the playoffs – you know, the ones that aren’t around during the lulls of Columbus in February.

    Hopefully they had a team meeting and reminded themselves how they got to this point. We’ll see. Haven’t given up yet, but do have an eye out for that dark haired chick with the football.

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  9. Otis
    June 10, 2011

    Suggestion… Move Manny back to Line 4. Why? In games 1 and 2, Line 3 (Torres, Lapierre, Hansen) had great chemistry and were doing very well as a unit. Torres got the only game goal in Game 1. Hansen got the only Canuck goal in Game 3. Early in the series, Manny improved Line 4 and the increased ice time of that line gave the other three lines a bit more rest so that they could wear down Boston and have a stronger period 3 and overtime. Of course, use Manny for key face-offs too but recognize that he is still trying to get back to 100% after missing so many games and having him in Line 3 changes the chemistry and weakens Line 4.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      June 10, 2011

      Manny will likely be back on line 4 in this game. I took a look at the time-on-ice: Manny and Hansen were used as a penalty-killing pair and were also put on an even-strength line with a rotating cast of other players halfway through the third period, including Kesler, Torres, and Glass. None of this was meant to be permanent, just done out of necessity due to the penalties and the need to get something – anything – out of the team in the third period. For the most part, Manny skated on the fourth line in that game.

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  10. beninvictoria
    June 11, 2011

    ALL HAIL THE PROPHET!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 11, 2011

      Yeah, Qris really nailed it with this one, huh?

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