Amid swirling trade rumours, one thing in Canuck-land remains constant – Vancouver just keeps on winning. Now, I’ve been accused of being a rosy-lensed, pie-eyed optimist with delusions of the Canucks’ potential before – but ever since the acquisition of Big Brucey Boudreau, this team just seemed fated to reach the post-season. It has felt, since his arrival, that the Nucks have been playing playoff hockey despite the odds being stacked dramatically against them.
All of a sudden, we’re hearing pundits finally admit that the post-season is a very real possibility for this rag-tag squad; something few were willing to stake their reputations on a few months ago. So, with the Canucks trending upwards and several Pacific competitors sliding (ahem… Oilers), the pipe-dream of post-season playoff puck is starting to feel a helluva lot more like a reality.
With that in mind, what are the new GM and Prez going to do with this team that has crawled from the basement of the league to within striking distance of a wildcard spot?
I’m gonna go ahead and put this (now common) suggestion out there: stand pat.
We Canuck fans have had the pleasure of watching a down-and-out, uninspired group transform before our eyes into not only a team with the tenacious will to win – but a team with skill that are playing a balls-to-the-fuckin-wall brand of hockey. So, here we are on March 8th with the trade deadline weeks away and uncertainty is rearing its ugly head in the Vancouver locker room.
Will they trade Miller while his value is sky-high?… Will they trade Boeser?… Is Horvat on his way out?… Is Motte going to get re-signed?
My answer may seem like a lazy one – but I say, don’t change a goddamn thing until the offseason.
Let’s imagine for a second… Okay, are you in imagining? That’s right, you got it. Imagine that the Canucks started the season as well as they have played since December? The Vancouver Canucks have the BEST (not a typo) record in the Pacific Division since the arrival of Boudreau. Would management be considering a second re-build or re-tool if the team sat atop their division right now? Probably friggin not. So why disturb the chemistry they’ve found by swapping bodies in and out?
Teams like the Canucks right now, who are clawing and biting their way towards playoff contention, can make a splash come post-season hockey. We’ve seen stranger things. In 2012, the LA Kings cast the Presidents Trophy winning Canucks aside after squeaking into the final playoff spot in the west back in before going on to win the cup. How many oddsmakers and pundits thought that would happen? Fuckin not fuckin many – that’s how many.
More recently, in 2019, the Blues turned a disastrous start to their season around and went on to win the Stanley Cup with the assistance of momentum built up between the half-way point of the regular season to the start of the playoffs.
Hunger, chemistry, stellar goaltending, depth scoring and perhaps most importantly: Momentum can be giant killers come playoff-time and the Canucks currently possess all of these things; not unlike the 2012 Kings and 2019 Blues. Call me crazy, but I sincerely believe that if the Canucks squeak into the playoffs; Colorado better watch the fuck out. I know, I know… Colorado has the best record in the show and talent for fuckin days. But so did the Canucks in 2012 and how did that end? Right… Poorly for us.
Sometimes, when a team is a lock for the post-season early in the season – they can simply coast their way to the playoffs with no meaningful games to play for the last few months of the season. But the team that squeaks in within the final days of the season – well that team has been in the playoffs for months and they’ll be ready – especially teams like this season’s Canucks who have proven to be capable of David-ing some fuckin Goliaths if you know what I mean.
So, will the Canucks win the cup? Probably not, although I can dream. But wouldn’t it be a shame if we tossed in the towel by trading prime talent for picks or underprepared youngsters during this run? I sure think so. So, for the love of god – don’t fuck with a good thing and worry about the salary cap in the offseason.
Love it or hate it – we owe it to ourselves to see old Jim Bennings vision through.