Right off the hop I would like to tip my cap to Peter Tessier... He does a great job of contributing to Nuck Nation. Unfortunately I am a huge leech and it is about time I see if there this is the right soil to seed some of my own passion for my life long team of which now I am 38.
A bit on where my perspective comes from. I played hockey competitively until my second year of bantam where I made it to the last two cut in the Mac's Super Series (first year I was one of the first to be cut). Being a born drama queen I quit hockey for about 10 years without realizing that I would have probably made second line center in my 3rd year of Bantam. So I'm irrational by nature and mix that with the numerous ways the Canucks have lost over the years you have the perfect fuel for this fire.
My current view on the team is one of admiration with pretty clear criticism.
Being that I am a lot like Mason Raymond (can skate but really have idea what to do with the puck most of the time) I do not see what keeps him on the second line. Kesler is awesome even with Mase being the weakest link on that line. To me, Hansen deserves a long stay up there as he makes better decisions with the puck and can hit the net when he shoots. Most of all he seems content to be the set up man. Raymond wants to be the man and he simply is not that guy on the second line. He may be able to be the man playing with Raffi & Manny. Hopefully he is the one that Burke really likes and is willing to part with Versteeg for.
Being that I am a natural centre (aka horrible along the boards in every zone) I am obviously an expert on how to be an NHL goalie. I own 2 Luongo jerseys (one from a silent auction where I was trying to push up the price which backfired and the other I got as a gift) that I wear every game. I am, however, not sold on Luongo. I think he is an amazing athlete, a good family man, a tireless worker, funny as hell when he has a script and a good goalie. I bought into all the hype when he first got to Vancouver and he has put up some incredible numbers. Unfortunately he is weak mentally or, perhaps more accurate, he is too emotional for his own good. He is easy to throw off his game and he lacks the ability to pull it back together. Coach V also does not want to pile on when Lui is beating himself up so when things go bad they tend to get worse before he gets pulled. In my view he overplays a lot of pucks (this has improved with Melanson's help) and has not mastered how to use his goalie stick. It routinely falls out of his hand, doesn't get down to cover the 5-hole and consistently works opposite to his brain when he tries to make that breakout pass that we all know is crucial in a franchise goalie. OK, so I'm opinionated and sarcastic... Basically a great first date but not someone you want to live with.
Those 2 are really the only issues I have with the current roster. Sure there are holes and guys who could be contributing more but I like where we are at. I love how Gillis has dealt with the defence. With all the injuries and rookies who have stepped up he looks like a pure genius. The Sedins are just magical and we are really blessed to have their talent in our lineup. Burr, Kes and Samuelsson all look like they are on a mission this year. Hansen is only going to get better with age with Raffi & Manny being potentially huge playoff intangibles this year. Hodgson has been inconsistent in 4 starts but he has shown some great strength mixed with body position that will get a lot of lunch bucket goals that this town absolutely adores.
My favourite player that is destined to hurt us in another city sooner than later is Shcneider. To me he has all the makings of putting up Luongo numbers but also is mentally stable. Sure we lost to the Ducks last night but there was not weak goal which Lui tends to give up and he kept the Canucks in it. Maybe it's because my Mom is a red head but I have a bit of a man crush and I wouldn't be nervous if Luongo got hurt or had a meltdown.
That brings to my biggest concern. We are the odds on favourite to take the cup this year with lots of scoring and defensive depth. What would happen if Lui or Schneids got hurt along the way. Is Eddy Lack ready or should we be bringing in another vet to play with the Moose as insurance against the evil forces that every longtime Canuck fan knows continues to conspire against us.
We are experts at losing and I am looking forward to living the second half of my life wearing my Stanley Cup Champion apparrel and posting as many celebration videos onto YouTube as possible. I also look forward to shaking Luongo's hand and saying that I was absolutely wrong about him. #1 would look great on the rafters and would also fetch me a pretty penny for at least one of the 2 jerseys.
Thanks for reading and write to me anytime at [email][email protected]
[/email]. I am old so Facebook and Twitter are still too much for me!
Please: 1) Cheer not Boo; 2) Stay until the final whistle even when it's a blowout either way; 3) Sing the anthem loud and proud or just stand quietly; 4) Create a real home ice advantage... The 7th man was a bad idea because we shouldn't need prompting to cheer.