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Canucks crafting season for the ages


If you ask any of the Vancouver Canucks players I am sure that to a man they will say:  "We haven't won anything yet."

It is the cliche response of professional athletes everywhere when they have their eyes on one trophy and one trophy alone... the championship trophy that in hockey is known as Lord Stanley's Cup.

While pretty well every Vancouver Canucks fan would be happy to settle for the Stanley Cup (especially after 40 years of bupkus) the fact is that the Canucks could win much, much more than that this year.

With eight games left in their regular season schedule, the Canucks have an eight point lead over the rest of the league.  The only team within reach of them that has more points over the last 10 games is Washington, who gained a single point over the Canucks in that span.  It seems almost inevitable now that the Canucks will win their first ever franchise President's Trophy.

Daniel Sedin, who of course must match his brother's accomplishments in every way, now holds a seven point lead over Henrik in the scoring race and nine points over Stephen Stamkos.  At the pace the two of them have been scoring all season Stamkos will need a lot more than the single game-in-hand he holds over the younger Sedin.  Barring catastrophe, Daniel is a lock to win his first Art Ross Trophy.  He also is a good bet to win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player to his team in the entire league.  When Hank won those two awards last year there was a widespread impression that this was a one-off thing... pretty much no one predicted a Sedin repeat.  With successive seasons of domination it is likely that more people, including their peers, will recognize that the Sedins are now right up there with anyone else you can name.  That could translate into a Ted Lindsay Trophy for Daniel as the best player as chosen by the players.  The way Stamkos has been slumping lately, there is even an outside chance Daniel could win the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer, something that was on no one's radar eight months ago.

Ryan Kesler continues to have a strong season, even if his scoring has slowed down in the final quarter of the season.  As a two time finalist for the award it seems very likely that RK17 will finally win his first Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the league.

The incredible depth the Canucks have shown through an avalanche of injuries on the back end speak well of their chances going into the playoffs, but it also means there is no single dominant D-man worthy of Norris Trophy consideration on this team.  However, if healthy next year, Alexander Edler may begin to knock at that door soon.

Despite Tim Thomas's heroics this year in the Boston Bruins' crease, the fact is that Olympic Gold Medalist Roberto Luongo is now emerging at or near the top of every goaltending statistic except for shut outs (damn those last second goals).  It may be a long shot still, but Luongo has to be considered at least a finalist for his first Vezina Trophy.  Even if Bobby Lou misses out, there's still a chance that he and Schneider will win the Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders for the team with the fewest goals agains.

If the Canucks do live up to their potential and hoist the big silver chalice in a couple of months, one has to assume that they will likely also win the Conn Smythe Trophy as someone should emerge as the best player in the playoffs, something that hardly ever gets awarded to a player on the losing club.  Of course, to win the Cup the 'Nucks also have to win the Clarence Campbell Trophy, bowl, cup or whatever they're calling it these days

Of course, the Cup is what matters and all Canucks fans will go home happy if we finally nab it.  But, to be honest, I want it all.  I want the Canucks to win eight individual trophies and three team awards and make this season one for the ages.

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