Monday, April 23, 2012

2011/12 Vancouver Canucks R.I.P

The LA Kings SLAYED THE DRAGON!!! Sorry, that one was hard to resist after tonight's overtime series victory by LA over the Vancouver Canucks in five games (during which Vancouver scored just 8 goals). The parade for the President's trophy will be held on the May long weekend. Clearly goaltender Jonathon Quick was the 1st star of the series, followed by Dustin Brown and Cory Schneider. Ryan Kesler hasn't scored in the last 17 games (he scored 41 last season), Booth scored 1 point in the playoffs, Higgins had none, and Henrik Sedin scored a point on 63% of Vancouver's goals. At least the Sedins showed up to play in this series, and they would never have fallen behind 0-3 had Daniel been in the line-up from game 1. If there was any Thelma and Louise on the roster, it was Kesler and Booth. Kesler spent most of his time trying to win an academy award.

Driving home this evening, I listened to an hour of Vancouver sportstalk radio, flipping back and forth between CKNW 980 and the Team 1040. They went to the phones, which is always the most entertaining time to listen, immediately after a playoff elimination. There were a number of reoccurring themes; 1) the name Cody Hodgson came up about 45 times, 2) Cory Schneider is the future, 3) frequently harsh criticisms of GM Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault. Zach Kassian was no help to the team at all in the playoffs in the series. The only move of significance they made at the deadline was trading 19 goals for 4 goals. If your window is now, that's a poorly timed step backwards. Kassian might develop into a fine player, but Hodgson gave the team far more offense right now.

There seems to be a general consensus among Canuck fans that Schneider should be the #1 goalie on this team, and I tend to agree. He's younger, better, and less expensive (which will change as he becomes a RFA in the very near future). If you want to sign him to anything beyond a qualifying offer, he can command between $4M to $5M on the open market. Has a team in the salary cap era won a championship while eating up over $10M in cap space in net? Luongo has a no trade clause, so will only be moved to a destination of his choice if he even wants to move at all. The joke on the talk shows is that all the best moves Gillis has made involved locking up Burke/Nonis players to new contracts. Ballard was a huge whiff. David Booth was a miss, though they traded dead weight to acquire him; the dead weight were expiring contracts, Booth has 3 more years left at $4.3M.

At least this year there were no riots. By all accounts, the city was almost eerily quiet. Vancouver at least has some class, they only torch downtown when they get bounced from the Stanley Cup finals. Sorry, that was a far too tempting low blow. I watched the brief overtime in an arena lobby with about 30 Canucks fans, and when the Kings scored there was dead silence. A few seconds later somebody blurted out "so it's over?" The crowd then quickly and obediently dispersed. That might be the best way to summarize their 2011/12 season.

Will they be able to find an approved buyer for Luongo? I'd cut the head off of a live chicken if it guaranteed he'd become a Toronto Maple Leafs. Sorry PETA, but I hate the Maple Leafs that much...

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