[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and gives her take on the Canucks in her own cantankerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@KMaximick)]
Photo credit: National Post
Whoever likes losing 4-1 to the worst team in the NHL raise their hand.
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
I think the only worth-while thing Canucks fans got out of Saturday’s game against Edmonton was the HNIC Afterhours interviews with coach Vigneault and Roberto Luongo.
Andrew (@andz205) asks: Lui said during his HNIC interview that he’s excited to face the Hawks in the playoffs. Do you think they’re ready? What changed?
Katie: My initial reaction to that part of Lu’s interview was, “Are you insane?!” but that being said, I see his point. He wants redemption – he’s been embarrassed two seasons in a row and he thinks he’s finally ready to face his demons (aka the Blackhawks) and defeat Chicago in a series. What Canucks fan or player wouldn’t want to beat the Blackhawks after what we’ve gone through as an organization? It would be great to get that monkey off our backs, especially Luongo, who’s earned the unfair title of “choker” to many people because of his series against Chicago.
And if the playoffs started today, Vancouver would be facing Chicago. Is this realistic to think Vancouver can beat Chicago them? I think so. The Blackhawks have lost a lot of players from their Stanley Cup winning team this past season to trades and free agency, and the team no longer represents that roster Vancouverites have learned to hate (and maybe even fear a bit). In the meantime Vancouver has only added to its own roster depth and has a much better team than the last time they faced Chicago in the playoffs.
Herve (@1stLineCenter) asks: How confident do you and Mozy feel about the Canucks chances in the playoffs this year, regardless of who we play?
Katie: Personally I’m confident, but cautious. I was interviewed by The Province reporter Ian Austin before the season started, and back then I said that I was be cautiously optimistic about the season and take it one game at a time. I’ll do the same for the playoffs. Canucks fans have been disappointed so many times in the past 40 years that it would be unwise to do otherwise – but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?
And as for @mozy19’s opinion:
Richard: I think the Canucks chances in the playoffs this year are good. Not because they have any individual element of team that is outstanding but because their work ethic and system is foundationally solid. Regardless of circumstance, the Canucks are a well-oiled machine who play the same hockey whether they’re up by 2, down by 2 or in a tie game. They don’t seem to get phased and that attribute is going to be one of their largest assets when the puck drops on the second season. The Canucks, as well as everyone else, know that when the puck drops on game 83 of the season all bets are off. It’s a different game and they’re ready to go. Teams have ups and downs throughout the season but when one of their worst stretches was a stretch of .500 hockey alternating wins and losses, there is no doubt that this team has the consistency and team ethic to make a serious run at things this post season.
Dave (@merlynbc) asks: Should the Canucks really care who they meet in the first round of the playoffs?
Katie: In the end? No. It shouldn’t matter. To win the Cup (and deserve to win the Cup) the Canucks should be able to beat anyone they come up against and with their track record this year, I think this should be a fair presumption to make. Obviously there are teams out there we’d like to face more than others (for example, Calgary over Detroit) and others some of us fear to see again (see first question of this column), but for the most part, a Stanley Cup winning team shouldn’t fear any competition – and I think this year Vancouver has (so far) proven to be miles ahead the rest of the league in terms of talent and performance.
If we’re lucky, this should carry on through the playoffs, but there are always underdogs and black horses to watch for (ie. Edmonton circa 2006) so Vancouver shouldn’t let up any of its steam against any team they face in post season.
Jared (@JThompsondesign) asks: Is Salo a free agent that the Canucks have to let go, with the break out of blueliners such as Tanev and Sauve? With Bieksa having had such a great season, is he a free agent the Canucks can’t afford to lose this off season?
Katie: I think Salo should choose to retire before the Canucks have to make that decision. He’s been with the club for a long time and I can honestly say that despite his injuries (all 40+ of them) Salo lives in the hearts of most long-time Canucks fans. He’s the last of the WCE legacy, and one that fans would like to see sent off with style and class. This should mean that Salo should probably step down on his own free will. I have a feeling that if he doesn’t do that at the end of this season, he might not be offered an extension.
As you say, there is a lot of up-and-coming defensive talent in the organization, not to mention a sound blueline of regulars who have stepped up to the plate in another injury-plagued season. Don’t think Gillis and Vigneault haven’t noticed this. Salo is (I hate to say it) a bit of a relic, but a well-respected and adored one. It would be wise of him to end his time with the Canucks now on a high, especially if (God will it) we have a championship season on our hands.
Regarding Bieksa, I believe he’s actually earned himself an extension this year. I, of all people, hate to admit that, but there’s no denying it. He’s a +31 right now, and honestly, who saw that coming last season? I thought KB3 would be traded by now.
That being said, the last time Bieksa’s contract was up he performed well, then performed less-than-spectacular for his next two years on the team. Could he be playing well because he wants to be re-signed, or is he finally injury free for the first time in ages?
Only time will tell, I guess, but let’s hope for the best.
And on that note, let’s hope the team can defeat the worst team in the NHL tomorrow. Saturday was embarrassing.