The 2014-15 Canucks: a super-optimistic season preview

It was hardly a banner year for the 2013-14 Canucks, and that’s saying something, because we’ve grown accustomed to banners in this city. Two Presidents’ Trophy banners. Five Northwest Division title banners. The last year the Canucks didn’t win something, even if only in their sandbox, was 2007-08. And wouldn’t you know it, that was also the last time the Canucks failed to make the playoffs. Is there a correlation? I dare suggest there is. The secret, my friends, is banners. Is it any wonder that the Canucks’ first losing season in six coincided with the year they decided to consolidate their five Northwest Division banners into one? You take down the banners, my friends, and the banners will take you down.

2013-14 was a dismal campaign, and it came at a cost. The official slogan, “We Are All Canucks”, was struck, in favour of “Change is Coming”. And the change did come. President and General Manager Mike Gillis was dismissed, as was coach John Tortorella. In their stead came Trevor Linden (president), Jim Benning (GM), and Willie Desjardins (coach).

On the ice, there were personnel changes as well. Of the 33 players that played a game for the Canucks last season, 13 are no longer in the organization, with leading goal-scorer Ryan Kesler the most notable departure.

But how will these changes affect the team’s performance? Splendidly, I say. This season is going to rule.

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Guest Post: Canucks 2013-14 season preview, by Battle of California

There have been some big changes for the Canucks this offseason, but the one that could have the most impact is realignment, which brought an unfortunate end to the crack den that was the Northwest Division and threw the Canucks into the far more functional and together Pacific Division. Bummer.

But let’s not dwell on what’s lost. Let’s look to the future and meet some of our new divisional buddies! We’ve invited a stable of Pacific Division bloggers to preview the Canucks season, the new division, or their own teams for us here at Pass it to Bulis, and over the next week, we’ll be sharing the results with you. First up: Megalodon of Battle of California.

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A bipolar Canucks season preview: reasons for optimism and pessimism in 2013

We try to keep a pretty even keel here at Pass it to Bulis. The Canucks’ fanbase tends to swing wildly from one extreme to the other, from hope, faith, and happiness to outright despair, despondency, and hopelessness. We aim for somewhere in the middle. If we seem overly positive at times, it’s generally because there’s a lot to be positive about: the Canucks have finished in first place during the regular season twice in a row, have won the Northwest Division four times in a row, and we have seen the Sedin twins win back-to-back Art Ross trophies.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of things to be gloomy about: the Canucks haven’t won a single Stanley Cup in their existence, for instance, which is the kind of thing that leads to perpetual cynicism. The Canucks are also going to be trading away the best goaltender in franchise history in the near-future, which has led to a few tears.

So, heading into the 2012-13 season, there are both reasons for optimism and causes for concern. It is time for PITB to eschew rationality and embrace both extremes in this bipolar season preview.

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It’s remarkably easy for Canucks fans to fall into pessimism: 40 years of futility will do that to a fanbase. Optimism goes against the grain in Vancouver. So, instead of being unreasonably optimistic in the same way that Harrison was unreasonably pessimistic yesterday, I am going to be reasonably optimistic, because it seems like Canucks fans need some reasons to look forward to this year instead of pie-in-the-sky dreams of rainbows and unicorns.

Here’s the thing: are the Canucks going to be as good as they were last year? No. They’re going to be marginally worse, thanks to the departure of Christian Ehrhoff and some injuries to start the season. But what does that mean for this season’s Canucks team?

The 2011-12 Canucks are going to be slightly worse than the team that won the Presidents Trophy, led the league in goals, goals allowed, powerplay percentage, and were second in penalty kill percentage. They’re going to be a bit worse than the team that went all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and were stopped by a goaltender having, arguably, the greatest season in NHL history. They’re going to be a fraction worse than the team that had arguably the best regular season in the modern NHL.

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The 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks came just about as close to winning it all as a team can, falling one win short of lifting the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. And, while we’d like to say that a new season means a fresh start, it’s not entirely true. This isn’t a context-free season; rather, this year is about what happened last year, and whether the Canucks can get back to finish the job they started.

Can they? Are the 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks capable of a return to the Stanley Cup Final?

No. Hate to say it, but the 2011-12 Vancouver Canucks are going to suck, for a multitude of reasons.

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