So the Vancouver Canucks have lost the pivotal game two and the must-win game three. Looking ahead to a pivotal must-win game four, there are a few Things That Make Me Go Hmmm.
The Goalie Conundrum
Well, wouldn’t you know it? We’re possibly one game away from the end of the season and the story that became a story at this time last year is still a story. Whether you agree with management’s (GM and coach) handling of the situation or not, you can’t deny that it’s been the number one story with the team this year. So much so that people are talking more about the goaltending then they are about the team’s primary reason for being pushed to the brink of elimination: their inability to create enough good scoring chances.
Facing elimination, the Canucks need to start the goaltender that gives the skaters the most confidence that they can win the game. And without a shadow of a doubt, that goaltender is Roberto Luongo. He was solid in the first two games of the season before Schneider’s shaky return to the line-up. Go back to Luongo and hope that the team plays lights-out in front of them. And who knows, a strong playoff showing (even in defeat) wouldn’t hurt his trade value. That is, if the Canucks are still trying to trade him.
Flipping the Switch
Many people have asked me over the last week, “What’s wrong with the Canucks?” After lamenting the team’s scoring woes and my desire to see Keith Ballard in the line-up, I always say that it’s not as simple as just looking at the Vancouver Canucks. You need to look at the San Jose Sharks as well.
It was ludicrous to think that the Canucks would simply “flip a switch” in the three days between the end of the regular season and the first playoff game and be back to a dominating team that would steamroll the competition. This logic is mostly flawed because it doesn’t account for the team lining up across from the Canucks.
San Jose is a good team. They have strong depth at forward, a solid (if non-descript) defense, and a strong goalie. Also, they are well-coached and have strong special teams. So Canucks fans can talk about flipping a switch all they want. Just remember that San Jose has a switch too – and it seems to be working very well.
Staving Off Elimination
Get ready to hear the word “stave” dozens of times over the next couple of days. While the Canucks look to stave off elimination, I wonder why more people don’t use the word more in every day conversation. I think it’s a cool word…and it shouldn’t be reserved just for sports playoffs. After all, there are so many other ways you might use it:
- I wonder how many ladies I will have to stave off this week. After all, I’m happily married
- Will Christy Clark be able to stave off Adrian Dix in this month’s election?
- How does Keith Ballard manage to stave off thinking of ways to hurt Alain Vigneault?
Looking ahead to game four on Tuesday night in San Jose, I simply wasn’t interested in any of the post-game quotes from AV and the players – especially the clichéd ones. All I care about is the Canucks laying it all out on the ice as they try to stave off elimination. Then perhaps they’ll have a chance to play in another pivotal must-win game on Thursday night.