I 'm not sure what made me do it. But with curiosity the other day, I took at look at the Canucks playoff record. The Canucks have never gone beyond the 2nd round, save twice. Both those times they went to the Finals.
I've only been following the Canucks for a few years but if my memory serves me well they are a team that is notorious for choking.
In their series against Detroit in 02, they went up two games only to see a half-ice goal by Nicolas Lindstrom, destroy their confidence and see them lose the next 4 games.
The next year saw them come back from a 3-1 deficit against St. Louis, only to suffer the same fate against Minnesota. In the final game they were up two goals and blew the lead magnificently.
The took the flames to 7 games the next year and scored with 3 seconds left in game 7 to tie, only to lose in overtime on home ice.
They crumbled down the stretch in 2006 and 2008 and were barely able to get through Dallas in between scraping by in 7 games. The 3 games they lost were shutouts. Their top scorer in the series was Trevor Linden. They played well in both series, but the Sedins vanished, and only Naslund, Linden and Ohlund really showed up.
Essentially, Canucks nation has crumbled at the worst period. A notable trend in the franchise is that when the chips are down, many of their best players do not show up. Or collapse under the momentum of losing.
I've said before, that the biggest problem to beset the Canucks has been confidence and team chemistry. More than scoring and injuries. In 06, their top line didn't show up down the stretch. Same in the 07 playoffs and in the final 8 games of 08.
For the Canucks, this curse of crumbling/choking, can only be cured by players with ice water in their veins. Players with a strong history of 'bringing it' when the chips are down. Luongo, probably has that ability and showed his A-game during the 07 playoff run. But who else on the team can claim that? None of their players in the top-6 have been through the rigours of a deep playoff run. Hell, few Canucks have been to the playoffs more than once.
Gillis has a basket full of assets, good grit, young scoring power, solid defense and a great goalie. On could even grant him the possibility that his Luongo leadership gamble will pay off. But many teams bring in Veteran experience for that stalwart steadiness that a magical run at the end of the season or start of the playoffs will bring.
Do the Canucks have that leadership? Do they have that presence?