[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: Vancouver Sun
Q: Which Canuck will step up the most, elevate his game and erase the ghost of past playoff failures?
J.J. Guerrero, Canucks Hockey Blog: Roberto Luongo needs to be more Luon-GOLD rather than 7uongo. Lui enjoyed what he says this is the best he’s felt in his career. I hope for his sake this carries into the postseason because this city won’t forgive him if he poops the bed again. (And no, I’m not talking about the playoff game against the Ducks a couple of years ago.)
Chris Golden, Canucks Hockey Blog: You can list any number of the players from the Canucks first and second lines as keys to success if they were to improve upon their past playoff performances, but I’m going with the guy between the iron – Roberto Luongo. Based on his steady play throughout the season, I believe he is not only in the zone, but in complete control of his game. He’s been as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him and when you need your goalie to make that “one great save,” Luongo will be there to do it.
Sean Zandberg, Nucks Misconduct: Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows. Kesler scored 1 goal and 10 points in 12 games last playoffs. I would like to see more goals there. He is the go-to guy on the second line and the power play. Burrows scored 3 goals and 6 points in 12 games. That’s not good enough for a top line player. I believe both Kesler and Burrows were playing through injuries last post season but now have no excuses. These guys need to get it done on the scoreboard.
Cam Davie, Canucks Army: Roberto Luongo. He has been open to change all season, and it paid off in spades as he shared the Jennings trophy with Schneider this year. He seems unflappable, poised and calm along with changing his positioning and how he approaches different game situations. He is ready to erase the ghosts of previous playoff losses to the Blackhawks.
Alanah McGinley, Canucks and Beyond: I pick Ryan Kesler as the guy who will step up beyond all expectation. Every member of the team is imperative in their own way, but Kesler is important in EVERY way. A great two-way player can help a team overcome all manner of hiccups and mistakes. Fortunately, Kesler does it all… and in this series he’s going to have to. But I have no worries about that. Kesler has no ghosts to run from really, he’s just driven for success and I think his talents are going to be indispensable from the moment the puck drops in game 1.
Brian Wawryshyn, Canucks Corner: Roberto Luongo is on a mission, and if the Canucks are going to win the Cup he’ll need to step up the most.
Mike Pinzutti, Nucks Misconduct: It has to be Luongo. He’s done everything else in his career except perform at this level. Now he’s backstopped the most dominant team in franchise history, a team that won the top conference seed before most the West even captured a playoff spot. If he can’t get it done, the uproar is going to be some kind of ugly (best not pick up a newspaper until September).
Thom Drance, Canucks Army: I’m going to pick Burrows. He hasn’t had a break-out playoff performance yet, but it’s clear to me that he’s got ice-water in his veins. His style of play – garbage goals scored within a foot of the net – is well suited to the playoffs. He’s been a clutch performer all season and I seen no reason why that wouldn’t continue. Can Alex Burrows defy the odds and morph into the Canucks version of Claude Lemieux? I honestly wouldn’t put it past him.