Oh Wouldn’t It Be Nice!
The playoffs are almost, almost here if you squint really hard and forget about March.
It’s been a slog for the Vancouver Canucks this month of boring wins (#1stplaceproblems), but like the recent game against Detroit proved, games with playoff atmospheres can be really fun. No games have better playoff atmospheres than playoff games so let’s take a moment to look ahead to April (something I’ve doing since about five minutes after Zdeno Chara lifted the Cup and promptly ate it).
We know that the Canucks will make the playoffs, barring a collapse not seen since the last time the Canucks collapsed.
What we don’t know however is who they’ll take on in the first round.
What I can do is rank them in order of preference, and in turn you can read them. Sound good? Cool, let’s do it.
5. Phoenix Coyotes
Nope. No way. This match-up has the sexiness of Betty White. Quick name five Coyotes players. Can’t? Neither can I. Quick name five Coyotes fans. Can’t? Neither can I.
This would be a series where the Coyotes would sell out their games by virtue of Canadian ex-pats and the massive travel contingent that would realize flight + coyotes home ticket < canucks home ticket. It would be fun I guess, but the playoffs aren’t about fun.
They’re about war.
The only other redeeming factor of this series would be setting up the rivalry for when the Coyotes move to Seattle.
4. Dallas Stars
Well, this could be Steve Ott versus his former team, but otherwise this sounds like another dud. Many years ago, like 4 years ago, Marty Turco and Roberto Luongo dueled in a fantastic seven game series, but Turco is long gone and the Stars have no, well, star power.
Remember, if you can, the Canucks first round series against the Blues last year. Wasn’t that mismatch exciting?
Of course it wasn’t.
Still, local guys like Jamie Benn and Mark Fistric would make for some great intermission features if we’re really trying to find positives.
3. Los Angeles Kings
Ok, now we’re talking. A lot of star power, a big market, and some past playoff history. The Kings recently acquired Jeff Carter and if he can score, which no other King can apparently do, this could be a compelling match-up.
You think Willie Mitchell gleaned any insight into shutting down the Sedins in his time here?
Could the Canucks PK go better than 66% this time?
Will fans shower Dustin Penner in syrup?
It’s an intriguing series, and I certainly wouldn’t mind it.
2. Chicago Blackhawks
Oh baby. As you may or may not have heard, the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks have some playoff history. Their series last year may have been the best in Canucks history.
There is absolutely no need to manufacture storylines for this one, everything basically writes itself. The only reason this is number two is for the fact that the Blackhawks could very well emerge the victors.
But we’ll see how much success Jonathan Toews gives the Canucks, and who wouldn’t want to see the Canucks expose the Blackhawks for what they really are?
1. Calgary Flames
It’s been awhile since these two teams have met in the first round, but the track record indicates it would another classic. Both teams have seen wins over the other propel them to the Stanley Cup Finals, and it’s safe to say that Calgary, and most of Alberta, HATES the Canucks right now (and right back atcha guys!).
I remember in the dorms first year that most of the third and fourth floors were from Calgary and any games between the Canucks and Flames usually followed the script of drink -> punch -> cry -> dorm lockdown.
Canada-Canada playoff series always bring the fireworks, and as a bonus, the travel is the easiest the Canucks could get.
Of course, this scenario also means that the Flames finish eighth, and frankly I think ninth is a much nicer place for them.