Jan 062012
 

[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.]

Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: Yahoo Sports

I’m taking a break from planning my Saturday morning “Ruin the Bruins” party to offer up a few quick thoughts as the Canucks have reached the midway point of the season.  It feels so strange to type the word “morning” when blogging about a hockey game, but I digress.

On this eve of the Stanley Cup Finals rematch, here are a few Things That Make Me Go Hmmm:

1.  The need for perspective. There are so many intriguing storylines heading into Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins, notwithstanding the fact that it’s the only regular season meeting between the two Stanley Cup Finalists.  Luongo or Schneider.  Mason Raymond’s return to the rink where he nearly had his career ended.  Daniel Sedin vs. Brad Marchand.  Burrows, Bergeron, and biting.

Thursday afternoon, I tweeted: “48 hours from now we’ll either be celebrating a bit of revenge for the Canucks or wondering what it will take to beat the Bruins in Boston.”  I received a couple of replies, with both of them intimating that a Canuck win had limited upside (as opposed to a Canuck loss having a larger downside) and that true revenge would be winning the Stanley Cup.  While I didn’t disagree with these sentiments, I pointed out that a win is a win and we can’t do much about the Stanley Cup until June.  It’s important to remember that this is game #42 of an 82 game regular season and that we shouldn’t read too much into the result of the game, whatever it may be.  I don’t buy the argument that a Canuck loss will have a long-term effect on the team’s psyche… the same way I won’t get too excited if the Canucks walk out of Boston with a win.  Enjoy it for what it will be: a hotly-contested battle of two of the top teams in the league.

2. Biggest surprises and disappointments. There have been numerous “midseason evaluation” posts including an excellent one by CHB writer Matt Lee already, but I thought I would chime in with a few of my observations.  For me, the biggest surprises up front have been Jannik Hansen, Cody Hodgson and Chris Higgins.  The collective Triple H has combined for 31 goals and 37 assists for 68 points, a welcome wave of secondary scoring behind the big four of the Sedins and Kesler and Burrows.  On the flip side, Manny Malhotra is still struggling to regain his pre-injury form of last year and the jury is still out on David Booth, who was picking up his game before his knee injury.

On the back end, the play of the top four d-men (Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Dan Hamhuis and Sami Salo) have helped some Canuck faithful forget about Christian Ehrhoff.  In particular, Hamhuis is quietly piling up the points and is on pace to match his career high of 38 points (2005-2006 season).  Hamhuis and partner Bieksa (who has overcome a shaky start) have become one of the league’s premier shutdown pairs, while Edler and Salo continue to contribute at both ends of the rink.  Conversely, Keith Ballard is still not playing like a $4 million defenseman, and he is still prone to making risky plays in his own end.  I really like him and I want to see him succeed, but 6 points and -1 just doesn’t cut it.

3. The Canucks in the Winter Classic. On the heels of another entertaining Winter Classic and HBO 24/7 series, there’s increased chatter about the possibility of the Canucks appearing in the big game in the near future.  One would think that Montreal and/or Toronto are likely to be considered ahead of our local team, but you never know.  With respect to the 24/7 series, it’s hard to predict what kind of ratings a Canadian team would draw south of the border.  But one thing’s for sure: the Canucks would make for some interesting TV.  I would find it fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at the player’s preparation and personal lives.  What is Luongo like away from the cameras?  How are the twins different in how they approach the games?  Who are the locker room leaders?  Does Dale Weise un-follow and block people in real life?  And where does Bieksa come up with his comedy gold?  With respect to opponents, I think it’s a toss-up between Boston and Chicago.  The former for all of the reasons listed above, the latter for the playoff history and animosity between the teams for three years running.  A dark-horse would be Detroit, but their rivalry with the Canucks is one based on respect and similar playing styles as opposed to the dislike that comes with the Bruins and Blackhawks.

Amidst all these questions, it’s good to see that the Canucks have emerged from the first-half of the season at the top of the Western Conference (albeit with the other teams holding games in hand).  Now please excuse me as I continue preparations for my Saturday morning viewing party.  I’m curious as to how many of my friends will be drinking while watching the game.  10 AM seems a tad early, but I’m certainly not here to judge.  Hmmm…

  • Anonymous

    Canucks in 24/7 would be amazing.. I say Canucks and the Oilers would make a good one with the team being so young   

  • Pingback: Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Surprises, Disappointments and Some Perspective | Clayton Imoo

  • http://twitter.com/ThePlayer18 The Player

    Don’t go crazy!!The Canooks won 2 points. You acting like it was your Stanley Cup!!The Bruins won the Cup. Get over it.

  • http://www.leftcoastbydesign.ca/ Chris (@lyteforce)

    I’m confused.  Who are these Canooks you speak of?  Anyhow, yes.. the Canucks got two out of a possible two points against the Bruins this season.  And you are also correct that the Bruins won the cup.  I think that’s why yesterday’s game was such a compelling tilt to watch.

    As for the crazy part, it’s too late.  Clay’s totally whack.. but he was bang on – the game needed perspective going in.  So I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say..

  • http://www.leftcoastbydesign.ca/ Chris (@lyteforce)

    The problem with a Canucks/Oilers 24/7 (or any combination of two Canadian teams) is that it likely won’t go far to sell itself in the US.  I think Clay is bang on as to who the two US teams would have to be if paired up against the Canucks – and both Boston & Chicago present large enough TV markets to attract attention.

  • Mike mehat

    this whole site is filled with half baked ideas and bumbling morons, you especially are retarted 

  • Mike mehat

    HEY DIPSHITS! WINTER CLASSIC MEANS ITS PLAYED IN AMERCIA. NO OILERS/CANUCKS EVER. GOD LEARN THE GAME DIPSHITS. we could be in a heritage classic, but who cares. LISTEN WE WONT BE IN A WINTER CLASSIC CAUSE ITS ABOUT ATTRACTING AMERICAN FANS! RETAAARDS!!!!!!!

  • http://canuckshockeyblog.com/ J.J. Guerrero

    Hope you got that out of your system. Have a nice life.

  • http://www.leftcoastbydesign.ca/ Chris (@lyteforce)

    Not exactly sure where it’s written that the Winter Classic MUST be between to US teams, but I do agree that we’ll likely always see it between two US teams – the product is designed to sell the game to Americans.  Where a few of us think a Canadian team fits in is how Vancouver seems to be able to attract attention on both sides of the border, so long as the opponent is a big market US team.

    Anyhow, thanks for stopping by.  I’m a big fan of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.

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