Twin Powers Activate!
The Vancouver Canucks ended their second straight season with a Presidents’ Trophy yet the feeling before the playoffs this year is dramatically different from the unwavering confidence of last spring.
Last year the Canucks dominated the regular season, placed top 5 in nearly every team stat, and had a number of players win major trophies.
Not so much this year where as early as March second place in the West seemed like a certainty.
Yet the team rallied around the Daniel Sedin injury to pull out top spot in the league on the very last day.
So despite a second straight year of being the best regular season team, the mood in Vancouver is a lot less certain this year about the Canuck’s abilities to take another serious shot at the Stanley Cup.
The biggest concern might be a twin one, as the Sedins saw their offensive dominance disappear throughout February and March. Considering we’ve seen those same disappearing stretches at various times during last year’s playoffs, you can imagine the fretting.
But fear not Canuck fans for I hold the three keys to unlocking the Sedins for some spring wizardry.
1. Let’s Get Daniel Back
Obviously the first step is getting #22 back on the ice. He’s taking light practices and could be ready for Game 1 Wednesday but no one is saying much of anything either way.
This right here is the X-factor in Vancouver’s playoff run. If Daniel Sedin misses any amount of time in the first round, or if he come back but isn’t 100%, or (shudder) he gets hit again…it could go down as one of the greatest what-ifs in Canucks history.
So let’s all pray to whatever god we believe in.
2. Keep Them Away From Franchise Defencemen
The majority of the Sedins’ points last playoffs came from those five games against San Jose where the Canucks cleaned the Sharks’ clock.
The Sedins broke out because they had gone from facing a shutdown pairing of Duncan Keith & Brent Seabrook to a shutdown pairing of Shea Weber & Ryan Suter to a shutdown pairing of…Dan Boyle & Marc-Edouard Vlasic I guess?
The Sedins are a highly effective offensive duo but the very same element to their game that makes them so effective also makes them easy to stop providing you’re a Norris-calibre talent.
They still haven’t developed an effective plan B.
Thankfully the Kings shipped out Jack Johnson at the deadline, leaving them with Drew Doughty & Willie Mitchell to send out against the Sedins. They’re definitely no Zdeno Chara & Dennis Seidenberg.
3. Hit Somebody
Henrik Sedin & Daniel Sedin took a lot of crap in last year’s playoffs for naught. They were whiners, divers, chokers, weak, sisters, etc etc.
The playoffs aren’t about politely knocking on the door and asking for the Stanley Cup. They’re about barging through that door and taking it.
Hopefully the Keith elbow proved to the twins that they might as well at least bring a knife to this gunfight.
Push back when pushed. Fight back when speedbagged. Throw a hit or too just to catch them off-guard.
You’re a Vancouver Canuck, you’re going to be universally despised this playoff season so you might as well give them a reason to.
We’ll still love you regardless.
Update: Twitter Timeline today on Daniel Sedin’s health