[Inspired by Arsenio Hall's "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…", Clayton Imoo talks about Canucks-related things that make him go hmmm… You can follow Clay on Twitter at (@canuckclay) or on his website, Clay's Canucks Commentary.]
The Vancouver Canucks host the Boston Bruins tonight in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. It’s been a full week since the Canucks last played, so there has been ample time to dissect and discuss numerous storylines heading into the finals. Here are a few things to ponder: Things That Make You Go Hmmm…:
- Who will win the goaltending duel? Their styles are quite the opposite: Boston’s Tim Thomas is very unorthodox, while Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo plays more conservatively, efficiently, and deliberately. Both are Vezina Trophy Finalists, and both are on my fantasy roster (I won the pool this year…in large part to them). Luongo has had the more consistent post-season, especially since giving way to Cory Schneider in game 6 of the first round (since then Luongo has gone 9-3 with one shutout). In his last 12 games, Thomas also has 9 wins and 3 losses (with 2 shutouts). Obviously, there isn’t much to pick between the 2 netminders. It will be interesting to see if one of them steals the series, as opposed to just playing well enough for their team to win.
- Man, oh Manny. Canuck fans have been taken on an emotional roller coaster this past week, as Manny Malhotra took giant steps towards suiting up for the final, or so it seemed. However, just yesterday Malhotra missed the team’s practice and did not meet the media. This came just a couple of days after coach AV declared Manny “officially cleared to play”, raising the hopes and expectations of all Canucks fans who have been witnessing his remarkable recovery. While the Canucks are now tight-lipped as to whether or not Malhotra will play in this series, I have a sneaky feeling that we’ll see him sooner than later. However, it needs to be the right decision, both for the sake of the team (who are winning without him) and more importantly, for the sake of his own health. I just can’t wait to hear the roar of the crowd when he finally does get on the ice again.
- Canada’s Team? Who Cares? Much has been made as to whether or not Canada should adopt and support the Canucks as Canada’s team. The general thinking is that by being the first Canadian team in the finals since the 2007 Ottawa Senators, that Canadians across the country should support the team (despite Boston actually having more Canadians on its roster than the Canucks). However, there seems to be an anti-Canucks sentiment in certain parts of the country and it’s hard to determine exactly why. Some say that our team is over rated, others say the players are cocky, and still others claim that our fans are annoying. I chalk it up to jealousy and pride. It’s a lot easier to say something negative about someone or something than it is to pay a compliment. Of course I’m biased living here (and as a follower of the team since the late 70s), but it just seems right. We all know that Montreal and Calgary won the Cup after hosting the Olympics the year previous. This is indeed our time. And we’re going to do it, regardless of whether or not we have the rest of the country’s support! (Editor’s note: Maybe Canadians are warming up to the Canucks after all. An Ipsos-Reid poll conducted in the last couple of days show most Canadians to be cheering for the Canucks.)
Well, that’s enough chat for now…it’s officially game day. The first few minutes of the game will be fascinating to watch, as we’ll see if either team is suffering from nerves or the long lay-off. Who will prevail in game one? That’s a thing that makes me go hmmm….