2012 Will Be Different In Vancouver
One game. That was the difference between second place, a slew of shameful rioting and the Stanley Cup.
The Vancouver Canucks were that close. Following the best season in their history, can they finally finish the job and capture the Holy Grail in 2011-12?
Here are five reasons why the answer is yes.
Will Cory Schneider be the Canucks’ starting goaltender to start this season? Absolutely not. But Alain Vigneault set a noteworthy precedent during the playoffs last year; he wasn’t afraid to pull Roberto Luongo when he struggled and spell him with Schneider.
It’s no secret that Schneider could step in as a starter today and be better than half the goalies in the league. If Luongo struggles at all, it’s more likely than ever that Schneider gets his shot.
2. The Sedins
Daniel and Henrik aren’t going anywhere. They have back-to-back scoring titles between the two of them and they’re right in the middle of their primes.
3. Ryan Kesler
Kesler emerged as perhaps the league’s premier two-way player in 2010-11 and still managed to top 40 goals for the first time in his career. Few players can match his combination of size, speed and grit. The scary thing is that, at 27 years old, he can still get better. He’s just entering his prime.
4. Cody Hodgson
Top prospect Cody Hodgson should see far more minutes this season and get a legitimate chance to become a top-six forward now that he’s healthy. If he reaches his potential, he has a Kesler-like upside.
The worst has already happened for Vancouver. It doesn’t get more heartbreaking than choking at home in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
With that failure behind them, maybe the Canucks will feel less pressure this year.