necropsy - an examination and dissection of a dead body to determine cause of death or the changes produced by disease. Sounds about right. Let's take another look (because that dead horse ain't gonna beat itself...) at the Canucks season and demise. First we need to step back into the 'Wayback Machine' and go to April 10, 2010. It was on that date that I wrote something that upset a lot of you. Go read it, then come back here... I'll wait.
Yeah. This is where I say "I told you so". Am I happy I have to? Not fucking likely. I feared this would happen and it came true. I tried to be positive. I tried to 'Believe In Blue'. But just like I said in that post, every issue that could keep us from going further, did exactly that. Some of you were a tad upset when I laid this out. But honestly, if it's obvious to someone like me, how is it that some of you who are more than likely smarter and more knowledgeable about hockey not see this coming? Denial, perhaps? Horrible thing, that.
Our battered defense was no where near good enough. Even totally healthy, they would have struggled. The offense clammed up. And the goaltending? Well... not gold medal quality, that's for sure. I could sit here and dissect every single thing that went wrong, but others have done to death already. Since I know the majority of disagree with whatever I say regardless of whether it's the fact that I'm right or you're wrong, here's what I would like to see to resurrect this rotten, festering corpse. And yes, in advance... you can all kiss my ass. :)
Great teams are build from the net out. I don't give a shit what anyone says, Roberto Luongo is still a top notch goaltender. He has however had too much piled on him, and the Canucks would be better served to do the following for next year:
- Re-sign Corey Schneider and bring him in as Luongo's back up, and give him a minimum of 30 games next season. Luongo the workhorse is not working. I know it sounds crazy, but the idea of a goalie with something left in the tank come playoff time sounds intriguing. Seemed to work well for some team that embarrassed the Canucks in this series. Again.
- Take the captaincy away. Is he a good leader in the room? Sure. Is he right for the 'C'? Absolutely not, his post-game interviews hammered home this thought. This doesn't mean he is any less important to the team or franchise, but it's apparent to anyone that knows even the slightest about hockey that he cannot handle the pressure. More about my thoughts on who I would like to see wear it next year a little further down the page.
- A full time goaltending coach is a must. Whether it's personal choice or a money decision, this needs to change, especially if Schneider is to be worked into the system.
No panic. No 'trade Luongo' nonsense. Just better asset management. And don't let anyone fool you. Roberto Luongo can still do this, he just needs to not have to do it alone.
5 defensemen signed to contracts next year. 2 are UFA's. The need is obvious, isn't it? I believe an overhaul on defense needs to start with cleaning house, and that means dealing the oft-injured Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa. I know what you're thinking, who would take them, right? Perhaps... but never underestimate the GM's of other teams willingness to make deals that seem bizarre to you. We need a stud Dman, and the rest of the core to be filled with defensively sound, stay at home guys. Ehrhoff, Edler... these two were decent this year, Ehrhoff especially. They can stay. Shane O'Brien however is more hassle than he's worth. I also believe they should re-sign Aaron Rome, and Willie Mitchell. And while you're at it, throw the 'C' on Willie's chest. Should have been who they put it on in the first place.
The Canucks strength during the regular season was their top 2 lines. The bottom 2 left a lot to be desired however, and while some players did improve, changes are needed. Something about size and grit, I can't recall really. Re-signing Mason Raymond is likely to be a priority, but I have a feeling it's going to be a costly one. Pavol Demitra is gone, Steve Bernier should be (and I am talking a bag of pucks-style salary dump here) and believe it or not, so should Kyle Wellwood. As popular as he is, and as well as he played in the playoffs, that spot belongs to Cody Hodgson next year, no point in having him around. I also think it's time to let Jannik Hansen go, and call it an experiment that didn't work.
Here we go. Meat of the problem as far as I am concerned. Vigneault was being outcoached in the LA series, and had his ass handed to him again by Quennville for the 2nd straight season. But it wasn't just him. Special teams this season were a nightmare, and one of the biggest reasons we find ourselves in the morgue. After 4 years of Alan Vigneault and no real improvement despite being told this was the best team yet, the time has come to move along. Goodbye AV, don't forget to take all your unused timeouts with you. Goodbye Rick Bowness and your failed defensive strategies. So long Ryan Walter and your gawd-awful
hair special teams. Here's a thought, let's not let Scott Arniel get away and be the next coach to knock us out, let's take him and actually utilize the investment the franchise has put into him and aiding the development of our youngsters. But god help you all if you bring in Ken Hitchcock. I mean it.
So there you go. My thoughts. Like 'em or not, I don't care. There's nothing anyone can say, friend or foe that can bother me about this. Perhaps this quote from the original article said it best: At least we're conditioned for the heartbreak to come. There's a familiar comfort in this misery. That's what sucks. The familiarity of it all.