With the Canucks having clinched a playoff spot in a shootout against the Ducks (funnily enough the same team they clinched their playoff spot in a shootout against last year) the focus now becomes staying healthy. The Canucks are almost guaranteed the NW Division title. The Calgary/Colorado game tonight will all but determine the Canucks NW Division title hopes, or further reduce their magic number.
At this point, while I want Henrik to win the Art Ross, the Canucks to win the the Division, and Canucks records to fall left right and center, the players have said it and I agree with them, that winning and moving on in the playoffs is the only thing that matters. A division title, a scoring title, personal records and new franchise marks mean nothing if the Canucks are a first round, second round, or third round bust. This city is screaming for a cup, the Canucks are screaming for a cup.
The Canucks main focus at this point needs to be to stay healthy. With Samuelsson and Bernier skating again, and Demitra forced back into early action because of Daniel’s back spasms, the Canucks are coming together at the right time. Up front with an offense that’s second only the the Great OV8, the Canucks concern with a healthy set of forwards has to be the blue line. We miss Willie Mitchell, that’s established. Unfortunately it’s looking more and more like Mitchell’s return won’t be in time. On a roster that has a struggling Edler, and a breakdown-prone Andrew Alberts, the Canucks need to count on a healthy Salo, O’Brien, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) Rome. Ehrhoff is going to have to be the Canucks workhorse this season. With him setting a new career high for points in a season he’s ready to hit the post season.
The Canucks have their injured corps returning at the perfect time. With four games left in the regular season, we’re in the final stages of the Canucks stretch drive and now is the time to make any final tweaks and stay healthy. Winning the division, having the Art Ross winner, and holding a host of new franchise records and personal bests will only be the cherry on top if the Canucks have a successful post season run.