Let’s be honest: any NHL team can beat any other NHL team on any given night, so there’s no shame in the Canucks losing a one-goal game to either the Columbus Blue Jackets or the Carolina Hurricanes. Granted, the Jackets are no longer the Western Conference’s worst team only by virtue of beating Vancouver, and the Hurricanes remain laughingstock of the Eastern Conference, but league parity allows for one-offs of this sort.
Still, if you can’t beat at least one of these teams in consecutive games, there is a little shame to be had. But it could be worse. Consider the following doomsday scenarios:
1. The Canucks could have lost both games in regulation.
2. The Canucks could have surrendered a hat trick to a guy named “Drayson”.
3. It could have been Henrik Sedin instead of Daniel that missed the game. When Daniel’s out, Henrik turns into an Art Ross champ. Daniel has yet to prove he’s capable of even lacing up his skates without Henrik. (It’s the Sedin version of the “no playoff experience” conundrum.)
4. Rather than Daniel Sedin, it could have been Mason Raymond who missed the game with a sore back. Can you imagine the panic?
5. Rather than Daniel Sedin or Mason Raymond, it could have been Cody Hodgson that missed the game with a sore back. There would have been a riot.
6. There could have been a riot.
7. Rather than get called up to play on the fourth line, Mark Mancari could have already been a staple on the third line and gotten moved up to play wing on the first. (We call this the “Steve Bernier” conundrum.)
8. Keith Ballard could have missed that wide-open net without Cam Ward having to make a save.
9. The Canucks could have played either of these games in the maroon orca jersey.
10. The Canucks could have played either of these games in the New York Islanders third jersey.
11. The Canucks could be the New York Islanders.
12. Five words: Byron Ritchie on the powerplay.
13. Roberto Luongo could have played versus the Hurricanes. I’m sure he would have been fine, but can you imagine if Vancouverites were able to pin both these losses on him?
14. Mark Messier’s tenure with the Canucks could have somehow been brought up during the game. (Oh wait. Crud.)
15. Mark Messier could have played during the game.
16. Mark Mancari could have failed to make it to the game on time and, unwilling to play another defenseman on the fourth line, the Canucks could have dressed Cory Schneider as a forward instead. (Mind you, judging from the following two photos, they did.)