The mature adult in me really wants no part of this kind of nonsense. After all, it creeps dangerously close to the behaviour of other fan bases that I loathe. The hockey fan in me loves the fact that the Ducks are out of the playoff race, though. They wear it well. The memories of that playoff series with them are still fairly fresh, as are the ever growing list of scummy plays against the Canucks and other teams committed by these foul fowl. They've got their Cup. I'm certainly not gonna feel sorry for them in the least. If there's any emotion at all, it's a smidge of regret for Teemu Selanne, who is playing out what will likely be his last season on a team he's far too good for. He deserved better in his farewell year, but then again, he chose to stay, thus the smidge, right? The Canucks are rolling again, and inspite of insipid idiots like CKNW's Neil Macrae going berzerk this morning, calling out Henrik Sedin for his lack of goal scoring, and predicting a first round loss for the Canucks, they're looking very much like a team ready to make another long playoff run.
There's been a lot of discussion about the evolution of the style of this year's Canucks team. Many have expressed concern that late in the season the Canucks radically altered their game, and it was part of the reason they stumbled in February and March. If you think about it though, this season has been all about making little changes to their game from the drop of the first puck in October. Ryan Kesler, returning from hip surgery over the summer, spends a good chunk of this season redeveloping his defensive game after having a spectacular offensive season last year. And what do we hear? We hear about how Kesler's slumping and letting the team down. Yes, Ryan Kesler's offensive production is down, but there's so much more to his game, and that part of his game is one of the reasons the Canucks find themselves in a position to win their 2nd consecutive President's Trophy this season.
It boggles the mind as to what it would actually take to see the media in this town actually acknowledge something going right for the Canucks, it seems. Every win comes with a qualifier. Every great play is discounted with a 'what if...' scenario that makes it look as though it were luck, and not skill that made it happen. And as such, the section of the fan base gets the fuel they need. Some of them aren't even glass half empty people, they're the glass is broken and your incompetence is making me walk barefoot across it people. So much anguish. So much doom and gloom. So much negativity. Such is life as a fan of the team tied for first place in the NHL.
And what of these Ducks? What exactly has happened here? After Ray Emery's noteworthy return that helped them get into the playoffs only to lose a hard fought first round series to the Nashville Predators, the Ducks were supposed to be better than this. They had Jonas Hiller back and healthy from his concussion issues. They had Corey Perry, reigning league MVP, and his linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. The problem is, apart from the aforementioned Mr. Selanne, they didn't have a whole lot else. The Ducks proved themselves to be the one line team many felt they were, and when that line underperformed, their fate was sealed early. They have played better since Bruce 'Mustard Stain' Boudreau took over from Randy Carlyle behind the bench, but they've realistically been out of the race for a while now.
Just three games left before the playoffs start, but they really need to knock off the 'nothing left to play for' narrative. The Canucks have shown over the last couple weeks that they're very developing the focus that we need to see from them heading into the post season. It may not be flawless, but they're without a doubt pushing to finish at the top of the pile. I saw a report (wish I'd bookmarked it) that talked about how home ice in the playoffs was overrated. Take a look at the Canucks run last year: 11 of their 15 wins came on the ice at Rogers Arena. The Canucks may be as good at home as they are on the road, but they'll certainly be helping their cause by ensuring they have the home ice advantage regardless of who they face.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Some old school Testament for ya today, the title track from 'Souls Of Black'...