[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.]
After a brief one-week hiatus, I’m back to ponder a few things relating to our favourite hockey team. On the heels of Vancouver’s thrilling 4-3 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings, here are a few Things That Make You Go Hmmm:
1. I’ll take seven more games please. Last night’s tilt between the Canucks and Red Wings was the most highly-anticipated Canucks game since they took on Boston in early January. And why not? It was a match-up between the two top teams in the Western Conference (and arguably the league) and perhaps a preview of the Western Conference Finals. After fighting from behind all game, Vancouver ultimately ended Detroit’s amazing streak of 23 consecutive home victories. You’d think the Canucks would have a decent shot as the team with the league’s best road record. With the Red Wings earning a single point, they are still one point up on the Canucks having played one more game. Supposedly, the Canucks had been looking forward to last night’s game for a few weeks. I’m looking forward to the Canucks and Red Wings meeting in the Western Conference Finals. Granted, there’s a lot of hockey to be played before the, and certainly, anything can happen in the playoffs. But just think of the awesome hockey that would be played – their matches always seem to be competitive, highly-skilled and fast-paced.
2. Surprise surprise: the Canucks are “overrated”. In the NHLPA Player Poll recently-released by Hockey Night in Canada, the disdain towards the Canucks was very apparent as Vancouver was named as the most overrated team in the league. I went to Twitter to ask hockey fans why they thought the Canucks topped this category, and here are some (unedited) responses:
@SharkCircle: Because they dont like them. Because its a flawed poll. Unliked Leafs got the same type of thing. Unliked canadian teams is all
@FlyingVHockey: Envy, “soft” tag, envy, Sedins unique play and European background, most hated easily translates to over-rated.
@Lucmeister: because of last year, lost in game 7 of the SCF at home + media adding fuel to the fire + people think Sedins are “pansies.”
@geoff_heith: my opinion is they think we’ve got no grit…aka fighters and hitters. I think we’ve built a team of skill and self control
@oljacko: Big eastern population who don’t see Canucks regularly and influence polls the most. They vote on negative hearsay.
@SFUteachlearn: Because we haven’t won a cup yet! ^mm
I think it’s ridiculous to call a team overrated when it’s two points out of first place overall and came within one game of winning the Stanley Cup. This argument would make sense if the Canucks were floundering near the middle of the league, as the definition of overrated implies that the team isn’t as good as some people think they are. But they are a top three team. I like what @FlyingVHockey said above: hated translates to overrated. I tackled this topic in my latest Clay’s Canucks Commentary…it’s another musical endeavour for your listening enjoyment.
3. How active will the Canucks be at the trade deadline? After a few minor deals, the NHL had its first major trade Thursday when the Columbus Blue Jackets sent Jeff Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. The deal reunites Carter with ex-Philly teammate Mike Richards exactly eight months after they were first split up when Richard was traded to the Kings on June 23, 2011.
There has been much speculation as to how active Canucks’ GM Mike Gillis will be in the next few days. The three most common desires from fans are a top-six forward, a bottom-six forward, and a depth defenseman. Those advocating for changes in the forwards cite Mason Raymond’s ineffectiveness along with the unreliability of both Byron Bitz and Dale Weise to provide some muscle. As for the blueline, many fans have been clamoring for another top-4 defenseman given the attrition that happens in the playoffs. The recent injury to Keith Ballard adds even more uncertainty, although it has resulted in some timely ice-time for Chris Tanev.