For the playoffs, we’ll be tweaking things slightly to feature two different fans. We’ll ask them a few Canucks-related questions and I’ll be offering my two cents as well. Thus, you get three opinions for the price of one. What a deal!
Jason is a cautiously optimistic Canucks fan whose favorite player was once Harold Druken. Born and raised in Richmond, Jason studied business and marketing at UBC, and is currently working for a non-profit company that recruits doctors to this lovely province. All you really need to know about Jason is that his first words were “Shoot left Nathan”. He was born in 1988.
Matthew is 22 years old and lives in Calgary. He jumped ship to team Canucks during his first season working at the the Saddledome as a host in 2008-09. However he’s no bandwagoner, and just like Chris (@schneidz), he wears his Canucks love on his arm with his 13 tattoo. His main sports passion lies with the National Lacrosse League’s Calgary Roughnecks and he hasn’t missed a Canucks game in Calgary for the last two seasons.
1. Will the Canucks ever score on the power play again?
Clay: They will, but it might take a couple of games or so (obviously I hope they score tonight in Game 2). They need more movement and less predictability. They also need to encourage Henrik to shoot the puck more instead of forcing tough passes. And don’t get me started on the drop pass through the neutral zone.
Jason: I am confident the Canucks will turn it around on the power play. Don’t get me wrong, they are not going to post the 20% success rate they posted in the regular season because Jonathan Quick is too darn good, but they will start to see some results. The only time during Game 1 that the Canucks showed any urgency was when they were on the power play with six minutes left. Although they failed to capitalize, I was ecstatic to see such effort. I hate the expression, but LA just wanted Game 1 more, special teams included.
You know who the Canucks need on the power play? Harold Druken.
Matthew: Of course they will. While the power play has been a bit to be desired lately, I’d rather they struggle through a Game 1 and the last few games of the regular season than crash through a later round or a later game in the same round. They’ve also faced some tough goaltending performances. It might just take one little push/one little spark to trigger an avalanche. Our power play wasn’t THAT bad the entire season, right?
2. You’re Alain Vigneault: what’s the single most important change you make for Game 2?
Clay: Get back to playing Canucks hockey: fast skating, good puck possession and offense from the defence. Granted, it’s easier said than done and LA is a good team. And tell Kesler to quit with the theatrical dives.
Jason: I’m Alain Vigneault? Well then Charles Wang must be the owner of the Canucks and Garth Snow the GM, because I would be a terrible coach. I would be relying on my gut instincts all the time, and Vigneault is an outstanding coach because he uses reason, stats, and experimentation (though some would argue he’s just a mad man). But I digress.
Vigneault needs to stress discipline. I am no proponent to the theory that the Canucks lost in the Finals last year because they were not tough enough. Contrary to this line of thought, I think they got to the Finals because they didn’t take undisciplined penalties, particularly after the whistles. Game 1 was a bit of an anomaly in that there were back-to-back delay of game penalties on top of a terrible call on Kesler for getting Quick’s jersey a little damp. Take away the bad calls and bad rules, and the Canucks might have walked away with a completely undeserved win.
Matthew: Do I dare say the unspeakable? I assume we’ll have Daniel back by Friday, so that’s that taken care of. I say stick with what’s been working and continue the rotation of Luongo and Schneider. It’s worked pretty well, and has kept both of them in game condition. You can’t know if you don’t give both of them a shot. So, while it’s a slippery slope, I’d like to see Schneider get the start for Game 2. And please don’t start trolling my Twitter; I’m not a Luongo hater.
Also, I’d maybe experiment with the power play but in a safe way (if that’s possible).
3. How worried are you that the Canucks don’t make it out of the first round?
Jason: I’ll be embarrassingly honest with you. I was a bit of an emotional wreck after Game 1. The same question kept on crossing my mind: “What if Penner walks out of Vancouver with a 2-0 lead and a bottle of maple syrup?!” I think the reason I was so distraught was because we were spoiled in the playoffs last year. The Canucks won the first game of every series, and maintained a lead right up until The Day of the Riot. Like every Canucks fan, I overreacted.
Despite the Canucks lackluster play and abundance of penalties, they were only three minutes away from taking Game 1 to overtime. I’ve seen Columbus play better than the Canucks played last night. COLUMBUS. If you just jumped on the bandwagon, you should know that the Columbus Blue Jackets are the NHL’s equivalent to the former Vancouver Grizzlies. The only difference is that Bryzgalov is scared of Grizzlies.
The Canucks will bounce back. Don’t go burning your counterfeit Canucks jerseys with an upside down shoulder patch just yet. Turn that shoulder patch around, and enjoy Game 2.
Matthew: Not at all. While a weak power play and a parade to the penalty box don’t do us any good, I feel like we still stand as good as chance as any. It’s one game. It takes four wins to make it out of Round 1. The Kings got lucky in Game 1. I sincerely hope a fire has been lit in the Canucks and we come out guns-a-blazing. Besides, if we don’t, I may just have to not answer my phone/Facebook/Twitter for a week as I’m pretty sure my friends who are Flames fans turned Kings “fans” won’t let me live it down.
Clay: I’m not too concerned…yet. Although they were never behind in a series last year, the Canucks learned a lot from their experience and they certainly don’t seem ruffled or fazed by one loss. I’m still going to stick with my prediction of Canucks in 6.
However, everything changes if Daniel misses more action. It’s obvious that the Canucks need him as his absence has a trickle-down effect throughout the lineup.
The Canucks need to win for another important reason: an opportunity to do more Clay’s Canucks Commentaries, featuring Jason.