I am new to the site. "Section 312" got me into this one, been hanging around and getting a sense for what this site is about. Very excited to debate and discuss Canucks hockey with what seems like a very intelligent fan community.
Now, I hate to play the "If the playoffs ended today" game but for once, it appears at the halfway point that the Canucks should stay at no lower than 3rd in the West which means we know whereabouts the opponent will be in the standings but having said that, there's a list of approximately 9 teams that could be the Canucks opponent in the 1st round of the playoffs. So...who do we want? or don't want? Of the 9 teams, let's look at the potential match ups of the teams that are currently in the playoffs.
Nashville - 52 Points
Like St. Louis two years ago, Wayne Gretzky himself could have told me the Preds are better than the '85 Oilers and I'd still be excited at the prospects of facing them. With no history, I can't help but feel this way. But looking at the team, Hornqvist leads the offensive attack with 13 goals, so 6-5 games are not up the Preds alley. Rinne would have to steal probably every victory. Matchup: A-
Anaheim - 52 Points
This matchup scares me a little more. Ryan, Perry, Getzlaf mixed in with a very talented Jonas Hiller and a supporting cast of experienced guys, this is a team that fits the 1st round upset profile well. Matchup: B-
Phoenix - 51 Points
Another one of those teams that you'd think the Canucks could handle easily but with Roszival now joining Jovanovski, Aucoin, Yandle and @BizNasty2Point0 - It just seems like a line-up suited to clog up the defensive zone, change the pace at which our offense runs. I think like the teams mentioned above, Bryzgalov would have to be their best player. Matchup: B
Chicago - 51 Points
I don't know your guys mentality with the prospects of facing the Blackhawks but I'd be a stone cold liar if I said I wasn't nervous as hell. Three years in a row being bounced in the playoffs by Chicago, this time in most likely a 1 vs 8 or 2 vs 7 upset......that might cripple me......or make me mad enough to cripple someone else. I think you throw all stats and facts out the window and just assume there will be a HUGE price to pay to get to the next round. That raises another issue with a Van-Chi 1st round series, I think it's safe to say that the injuries would be higher as opposed to a series with the Preds. Matchup: C+
Colorado - 50 Points
This one probably excites me the most. The Avs should be the only other Northwest Division team to make the post season and will be the team in the playoffs with the most games played against Vancouver during the regular season. I think with the intelligence of guys like Hank and Dank, Hamhuis, Luongo, our coaching staff; that experience can only help us more. Plus we play the Avalanche well, while it could be close I think it'd be a classic example of experienced team that's been there, teaching the team coming into their potential a lesson that'll help them going forward. (Kind of like the year Druken put us into the playoffs when we were swept by COL) Matchup: B+
Los Angeles: B-
San Jose: C+
St. Louis: A
But that's just one guys thoughts.