With their 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings last night, the Vancouver Canucks have won the President’s Trophy, awarded to the team which finishes with the most points in the regular season.
It’s a significant accomplishment. It’s the first time the Canucks have won it in their 40-year franchise history, and they clinched it before any other team in the Western Conference even clinched a playoff spot. (edit: The Sharks clinched themselves a playoff spot less than an hour later.)
A lot of critics and Canucks haters love to point out the fact that the Canucks haven’t won anything yet.
A lot of those same critics and haters love to point out that only four teams have won the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup since 1994.
Or point out that the last two President’s Trophy winners lost in the first round of the playoffs.
While all are valid points, I don’t think it takes away from what this season’s Canucks have accomplished. They’ve easily been the class of the league in the regular season, leading all teams, not only in points, but also in goals scored, goals against and both special teams (PP and PK). With 5 games left, Daniel Sedin has an 8-point lead for the Art Ross Trophy; he should also get some Hart Trophy consideration. They should have finalists in line for some other major hardware too.
But more importantly, winning the President’s Trophy sets the team up for a lengthy playoff run. A couple of months ago, Bart posted that the President’s Trophy winner has won the Stanley Cup 30% of the time. (Obviously, the odds decrease for the lower seeds.) The fact is, the Canucks will have home ice advantage in every playoff round – how much of a difference would it have made if game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals was played at Pacific Coliseum? – and they’ll also face lower-seeded teams in the first two rounds.
The critics are right to point that the Canucks haven’t won anything yet and that the top playoff seed doesn’t guarantee playoff success. However, for now, I think we can all bask in the glow of how good this team is and how they’ll enter the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs with the best possible chance – and the most advantages – to make a lengthy run.