Monday, November 23, 2009

Shifting Winds

During the dark years in the 90's Canucks fans had to have a back up team for the playoffs. Mine was the Red Wings. Stevie Y, Nick Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov... what's not to love? They played with a skill and confidence that made them so easy to watch. Not to mention the annual veteran free agent parade that passed through the Joe. In the 90's, if you wanted cash you went to the Rangers or leafs, if you wanted a cup you went to the Wings or Avalanche.

Although the Canucks situation has vastly improved since those days, the wings have always held a place in my heart. But this is starting to change. The mighty Wings lustre is starting to tarnish. Gone is Stevie Y, time is starting to catch up with Lidstrom and their ability to attract the high profile vet at a reasonable price has come in to question. They still draft well but will they be able to hold on to those players?
All this leads to the burning question of our time? If not the wings... who gets my sloppy seconds?

The criteria are simple. No divisional foes, no Canadian teams and not the Rangers. That leaves 20 teams. time for a cull.
California teams? EAD. 17.
Florida teams? same, EAD. 15.
Mattias Ohlund. 16.
Teams having great up and coming Canadian superstars? That only proves you have been terrible too recently, sorry Thrashers, Islanders and Lightning. 13.
Mattias Ohlund. 14.
Teams that are flat out shit. Bye bye Hurricanes, Coyotes and Predators. 11.
Hitchcock. 10.
Turco. 9.
Just not interested. That means you Sabres, Devils and Blues. 6.

That leaves The Caps, Flyers, Bruins, Lightning, Hawks and Penguins. Both Philly and Boston have impressive, exciting teams with great goal tending stories...buuuuut their fans are douche bags so... 4.

Although I love Matty and both Hedman and Stamkos point toward a bright future, we are talking about playoff longevity here. 3.

Crosby... meh. Is it just me? 2.

On one hand I have been immensely impressed by the Hawks. Keith and Seabrook are absolute studs. Kane is a goal-sucking little bitch but man is he fun to watch. Toews, although not particularly flashy has a Stevie Y/Ron Francis air about him. Campbell is just a crazy bastard. Quenneville is a stellar coach and they roll line after line of skilled, tough, fast players with good sense at both ends of the ice.
On the other hand is Ovechkin. It's a toss up.

I'll stick with 2 for now.

Ohlund. 3.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Work has taken over life for the last little while so hockey has taken a back seat. During the last few weeks I haven't been able to break down the minutiae of the Canuck's play but here's the few observations I have made:

Hordichuck. redundant. He doesn't have the foot speed or sense to be an effective forechecker/grinder. His hesitance to stand up for his teammates or intimidate the opposition has taken over his play. Rypien has more than made up for Hordichuk's disappearance and Tanner Glass adds the size element if not the pugilistic prowess. Hordichuck = Expendable

Bernier. Stevie, Stevie, Stevie.... So hard to peg. He has some size but he's not hulking. He's not slow. His hands come and go. Is he an underachieving 2nd liner or a serviceable third liner? I think he will remain a third liner and I choose to be pleasantly surprised when he scores. As long as his contract remains manageable Burner represents the depth a winning squad needs. Any higher expectations will only lead to frustration.

Burrows. I have a theory on Alex's productivity. Burr is most effective when he plays with the highest of determination. When on his game his hustle, grit and beaking give opposition players fits. His rise from the depths of the minors to Vancouver's first line was fueled by playoff level intensity. His ability to play a desperate style in mid January while everyone else is skating in quicksand has allowed him to push past those with more raw talent.
Two problems. One. Maintaining that level of intensity over an 82 game schedule is hard. Maintaining it over multiple seasons seems impossible. Two. The "playoff gear" that Burrows has been able to find in the regular season leaves him with nowhere to go. When the playoffs roll around and everyone else steps up, Burrows has nowhere to go. His hustle is matched by the opposition and his lack of natural ability is exposed.
It's only theory, but I hope his recent lack of production is explained by a hidden injury and not complacency creeping into his game.

More ranting to come...