Vancouverites are proud hockey fans who adore their home team, even though the city hasn't seen a Stanley Cup since 1915. And as much as I'd love to see block parties and parades, our boys have zero chance of winning this year. I know I'll receive a few thousand hate messages over this, but I'm only telling what any honest sports geek knows- Championships take heart and the Vancouver Canucks have too many wimps and selfish players to win.
The Canucks play the cycle too much, looking for the perfect shot. This may translate into huge scoring numbers for offensive players during the regular season against non-playoff teams, but it seldom translates into going past the second round. The goals that win are dirty, and the last 2 Art Ross trophy winners have not scored enough of them and have little desire to. Yes, I'm speaking of Canucks captain Henrik Sedin and linemate Dan Sedin.
I told my buddy sitting next to me that the Canucks were going to lose in overtime the other night and the Sedins would be on the ice. And I was right. Have a lookie here when rookie Ben Smith scores after Marian Hossa is allowed to march wherever he wants. The guy NOT blocking the shot, not poke-checking, not trying to do anything extraordinary to stop a kid with 6 career NHL games is Daniel Sedin. And it almost always is. The brothers are both defensive liabilities who are soft on the boards and were absolutely pathetic on this play. Hank seems to have an ounce more pride than Daniel, who may be the softest 200 pound man in the NHL.
But there are teams who have a few wimps that win. The sissies usually are inspired to dig down deep for glory. The Detroit Red Wings have had small, flashy teams turn gritty post-season on the regular. It is no shock to see Johan Franzen or Pavel Datsyuk block shots with their faces in the playoffs. You do not have to be a big man or mean one to find your soul and work with your best friends to get the ultimate prize. You swallow your ego and eat a few pucks and then you win.
This brings me back to Vancouver. The major reason why they won't win is their selfish players. It makes me sad for guys like Alexander Edler and Ryan Kesler, who are easily the two toughest guys this postseason for the dudes in the mold-coloured jerseys. With asshats like Raffi Torres being permitted to run around taking selfish lunges at opponents and the Sedins waving their composite wands at the ankles of opponents like conductors on coke, (instead of checking, which isn't apparently part of their combined $12.5million salary) you will see and have seen seas of dumb penalties resulting in momentum shifts that cost games. Add in coach Vigneault's reluctance to punish players for catastrophic brainfarts and you add to the disaster potential.
Vigneault's ego massaging is no more apparent in his willingness to kowtow to Roberto Luongo and his monster ego. The netminder was clearly injured in game 4, yet he still gets the opportunity to lose. The painful fact that Luongo's understudy is the best backup in the NHL adds to the agony, since Luongo will not sit the fuck down. Roberto Luongo has an abysmal postseason record, so why not give the kid a chance to change the team. It worked last year for Chicago and former Zamboni driver Antti Niemi exceedingly nicely, did it not?
So suck it up, my fellow Canuckleheads- this isn't our year, and it never will be as long as the pampered egos are permitted to be content with regular-season stardom and post-season emotional vanishing acts. Sorry, folks- I'm just telling you the truth beforehand instead of writing a playoff eulogy. The Vancouver canucks are not winning the Stanley Cup this year and probably won't make it past the second round.
By the way, I picked Chicago to take it all last year and wrote a nice piece early in the playoffs about Niemi's chances.