[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.]
I’m in Ottawa this week for work and it’s obvious that I’m still getting used to this time change after going to bed at 3:30 AM EST the first night and 10:30 PM EST last night. Thus, I’m going to keep this pretty quick… but just as thought-provoking as usual. So here are a few Things That Make You Go Hmmm:
1. What’s wrong with the Canucks? Vancouver’s 5-2 loss to Dallas on Tuesday night was their first 3-goal defeat since they lost to the Kings in Los Angeles on December 31st. And after a great run that saw them take over the Western Conference lead, the Canucks are now in the middle of a slump in which they’ve won just one of their last five games. So what’s wrong? There are few things including (but not limited to): the Sedins not scoring (actually, make that almost everyone not scoring), an ineffective powerplay, ill-timed defensive breakdowns, and the trading of Cody Hodgson. I’m kidding about that last point, but there is something to be said about the time it will take for Zack Kassian, Sammy Pahlsson and Marc-Andre Gragnani to build chemistry with their new teammates.
There is certainly no need to panic and five games isn’t the end of the world. However, the Canucks have a prime opportunity to accumulate some points with seven straight games at home. And you obviously want to be playing your best hockey into the playoffs. They have a month to figure it out.
2. Are you sure you want to win the West? When looking ahead to playoff positioning, it might actually be advantageous for the Canucks to finish in second place as a second place finish would conceivably give Vancouver an easier post-season route. Given the way the playoffs work (teams are seeded 1 thru 8 and maintain their ranking for the rest of the playoffs) AND assuming that all four “higher-seeded” teams advance, the second-place team in the Conference would end up facing the winner of the Pacific Division (either Dallas, Phoenix or San Jose) in the second round. We all know that anything can happen in the first round, but if the playoffs started today the Canucks (as the second-place team) would face Phoenix in the first round and then the winner of Dallas-Chicago in the second round. Contrast that to the plight of St. Louis, who would meet San Jose in the first round and then the winner of Detroit-Nashville in the second round. It’s easy to see which team (Vancouver or St. Louis) seems to have the easier road to the Western Conference Final.
Of course, if you don’t win the Conference, then you can’t win the President’s Trophy, and thus secure home-ice advantage for the entire playoffs. And there’s still a month of hockey for potential movement in the standings. But it’s interesting to imagine the potential scenarios.
3. Saluting the Canucks fan Ontario-east. I was ecstatic once I found a bar showing the Canucks-Stars game on Tuesday night. Sure, I had to sit through the third period of the Canadiens-Flames game first but what could I do? I’m just thankful it didn’t go into overtime. As the game got out of reach in the third period, I looked around the bar and counted the number of other patrons: I was one of a whopping nine people in there including the three staff members. But I wasn’t surprised as the game ended at 12:30 AM EST… on a Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) no-less.
When you think of Canucks fans watching in the Maritimes, they are waiting up until 1:00 AM or 1:30 AM if they want to watch the game live (thank God for PVRs). So I salute you the Eastern Canucks fan – I’m sure there’s been a many sick-day or absence from class especially during playoff time. In fact, I did a Clay’s Canucks Commentary about it a couple of years ago…check it out.
4. Do I wear my Canucks jersey tonight? I’ll be going to watch the Ottawa Senators host the New York Rangers tonight at Scotiabank Place. I’m pretty excited to watch a battle between two of the playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference and I’m trying to figure out if I should wear my beloved David Booth Canucks jersey to the game. Admittedly, I’ve gone back-and-forth over the past couple of days especially as I’ve solicited feedback on Twitter and Facebook and from my colleagues here.
I’m not worried about my safety (I can always pull out some Jackie Chan kung fu magic if I need to…and I’ve also heard that Ottawa fans are quite friendly), but I’m thinking more of form. If I wear it, will I look like a passionate and loyal Canucks fan? Or will I look ignorant, clueless or cocky (or some combination of all three)?
So I ask you, the loyal CHB reader, what would you do? Would you wear a Canucks jersey to a game that they’re not playing in? Let me know – you could very well help me make my wardrobe choice for tonight! Post a comment below or send me a tweet at @canuckclay.
That’s it for today. While you are all enjoying tonight’s game between the Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, I’ll be in southern Ontario watching two good teams that I don’t really care about. With or without my Canucks jersey.