[As we count down the hours until puck drops on the first round playoff series between the Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks, we put together a panel of your favorite Canucks bloggers to answer some key questions.]
Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
Q: What are your expectations of the Canucks this postseason?
J.J. Guerrero, Canucks Hockey Blog: I expect the Canucks to win the Cup every year. And after a regular season to remember, I think those expectations are justified. The Canucks put together what is arguably the best team in their franchise history, and they finished far ahead of any other team in the league. (Washington finished 10 points behind them in the President’s Trophy race.) They led the league in goals scored and goals against. They have the league’s best powerplay and third-best penalty-kill. That said, all that means squat if they don’t win 16 more games from now until June.
Chris Golden, Canucks Hockey Blog: I’d like to say that my expectations are tempered, but then I’d be lying to you and for those of you who know me best, I’m always about the truth. With the season the Canucks have had combined with the quality of the lineup on the ice, I’d expect the team to make it through to the Stanley Cup final.
Sean Zandberg, Nucks Misconduct: The Canucks, given the improvements to the team and the kick ass season, need to win the Stanley Cup for total ecstasy or lose in the Finals in 6 or 7 games for me to be OK (after a while). It has to be a hard fought loss if that occurs. I’m very tempted to say Cup or bust though.
Cam Davie, Canucks Army: My expectations this year were high. And kept rising as the team continued their excellent play throughout the season. I expect the Canucks to make it to the Stanley Cup final, if not win it. Anything other than a conference final appearance will be a huge disappointment.
Alanah McGinley, Canucks and Beyond: My expectations are simply that they play every game like it means something and give us something crazy-entertaining to enjoy while they do it. How far do I expect them to get? I’d be thrilled if they make the conference finals, and I’d be hyperventilating with joy if they play in the Stanley Cup Finals. But if they were to go all the way…? I can’t answer that, though I expect I’d probably have a heart attack and drop dead on the final buzzer. (With happiness, for sure. But after a lifetime of lowered expectations, an actual Stanley Cup in Vancouver could only mean the start of an apocalypse).
Brian Wawryshyn, Canucks Corner: I expect the Canucks to go deep into the playoffs this year. As far as being disappointed goes, anything less than a Stanley Cup will do that for me. Over 30 years of watching this team. I’ve seen the “so close” and “we’ll get em next year” scenario. I know it’s the toughest trophy in sports to win, and the Canucks will be doing their best, but as a long time fan it’s the Cup or bust for me this year. The time to win is now.
Mike Pinzutti, Nucks Misconduct: They have to get past Chicago and get to the conference finals. Without any semblance of post season progress there’s no point in overly celebrating the regular season and Vigneault/Gillis will have to explain their similar failures for a third straight time. Vancouver doesn’t deserve all its recent lofty praise if the spring is cut short.
Thom Drance, Canucks Army: Unfortunately, the media and other fan-bases are going to label the Canucks “chokers” unless they make the finals, which, frankly, is totally unreasonable. For me, I’ll be totally content with a Western Conference Finals berth. Of course, if the Canucks manage to get there, they also need to acquit themselves well and win a couple of games. The Sharks won two playoff rounds last year – but all anyone remembers from their run is the sweep at the hands of the Blackhawks. It’s not just where a team makes it to in the playoffs – it’s also how they lose that shapes the perception of a teams postseason performance. Play entertaining hockey, beat Chicago, win a second round series for the first time in 17 years, and go down fighting – if all of that happens, I’ll be very pleased.