It's pretty amazing to think that this team was able to clinch the division title considering all that's happened. The turmoil and drama, the record setting road trip. All these things have been a burden, yet somehow they pushed through to win their 3rd divisional crown in 4 years. Oh yeah, and the injuries. Lord, have there been injuries. And they continue to mount, as Christian Ehrhoff and Ryan Johnson are the latest additions. All this would destroy lesser teams, yet here they are... 3 games away from an attempt to bring home the Cup for the first time. It seems that any momentum gets killed whenever it starts. The question is: What next?
Obviously defense is a huge concern. And not just the 6 guys back there, but team defense as well. I am a "just win, baby" kind of guy, but as a whole the Canucks need to tighten up defensively, or this post season will be like so many others, short and full of questions.
So now we will see the return of Shane O'Brien and Steve Bernier should help tonight and Matt Pettinger's been recalled. Let's face it, this has been a patchwork team all season long. There hasn't been a moment where a minimum of 2 key members of the core weren't injured. So they have to do what they always do. Get out on the ice and play the game. What will we see tonight? Some say this could be trouble as they're playing for nothing. I think you're selling them short if you believe that, as they obviously have a lot to prove to the coaching staff and themselves after the last minute breakdown against Minnesota Sunday night.
The Canucks face Colorado tonight in a very interesting role: that of spoiler. Yes some prefer to focus on how they're not playing for anything, instead of relishing the chance to potentially crush a rival's playoff hopes. If it's motivating for teams out of the race, surely it can be one for a team that has their ticket to the dance. The Canucks have dominated the Avalanche this season, outscoring them by a 2:1 margin in winning 4 of the last 5 meetings. The Avs are clinging to a 2 point lead over the Calgary Flames, who will once again attempt to draw even with the Avs by meeting the San Jose Sharks. So I say, if Colorado wants to come to the playoff party, they need to earn it. No free points from the Canucks.
The post season kicks off in a little over a week and there's still lots to be decided. In the meantime the Canucks need to focus on getting healthy, and achieving some team and personal goals. That and get focused, finding their game as they prepare to battle to be the Western Conference representative in the Stanley Cup Finals.