canucks

Canucks must find scoring touch to avoid early summer, heavy scrutiny from “fans”

Canucks fans already looking forward to summer as series continues

The Vancouver Canucks are one loss away from the end of their 2013 playoff run, but around the city of Vancouver it seems the majority of fans have already turned the page on this season, playing armchair owner, debating off-season changes before the year itself is even over.

What a long way we have come since 2011, the year Vancouver was supposed to learn its lesson about the power of these NHL playoffs.

For those who were too busy boozing to remember the 2011 playoffs, here’s a Canucks-notes recap.

The Canucks won the first three games of their opening round series with the Chicago Blackhawks, dropping the next three only to win in a nervous sudden death victory in Game Seven. Brimming with confidence the Canucks then went on to handily defeat both the Predators and the Sharks before taking on the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. Once in the big dance the Canucks took a two-game series lead before completely breaking down in Boston, allowing the Bruins to take control of the series.

We all know how the rest of this terrible tale ends, but there are a few lessons to take away from the tragedy.

Ryan Kesler has been one of Vancouver's better players during their series against the Sharks.

Ryan Kesler has been one of Vancouver’s better players during their series against the Sharks.

‘Till the fat lady sings

Only three NHL teams have ever come back from three games down in a playoff series to force and win a deciding Game Seven, but after experiencing the comeback from the other side of the ice these Canucks are better fit than most to make a significant push back. While there have been few signs of life from this year’s edition of the team, I see the their recent struggles as a source of optimism considering the large contingent of forwards who have completely disappeared from the score sheet.

Chris Higgins, Jannik Hansen, Mason Raymond, Zack Kassian, and Maxim Lapierre have all been held pointless through three games, and in my mind are the cause of the Canucks’ biggest concern: they simply can’t score. And while Ryan Kesler may have managed to ride a wave of emotion during Game Two, and the Sedins have settled for a few points each during the series, the Canucks remain lost in a team-wide scoring slump.

So while you’re watching the Canucks fight for their playoff lives tonight in San Jose, focus on those players without a point beside their name on the series score sheet. The Canucks as a whole may not deserve to win this series, but the team’s stars certainly don’t deserve to become the subjects of trade talks days before their final game.

There will be a lot of blame to go around in Vancouver after back-to-back playoff upsets, but after an emotional reaction to the end of 2011 season I feel its best for this frustrated fanbase to take some time away from the game before starting the off-season trade tracker.

Who knows, maybe this team will surprise us.

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About Kevin Vanstone

Born in Vancouver, and a student at UVIC. "The Flying V" follows all things Canucks hockey and covers the best in CIS athletics around the Pacific Northwest. He loves to write about the athletes that used to show him up in his playing days.
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