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?
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.Tags: Bruins, Canucks, controversial decisions, fatigue, featured, Qris is the next best thing, Stanley Cup Final, Third Man In, Zen