Unfortunately for the Canucks, Dallas is likely as "easy" as it's going to get and there's no more stark comparison to prove that point then who will be at the other end of the ice starting tomorrow night: The Anaheim
First, let's get the hate on. This could be the easiest team to hate for the most obvious and nonsensical reasons (something I excel at thankfully).
1. The Disney connection. Granted they broke free of it, but the marketing connection to that shitty movie is tough to forget. Can you fathom this? - "Disney had wanted to cross-merchandise the team even further by having every player have a "Mighty" preceding his surname on the back of the uniform (e.g. "Mighty Kariya"), but this idea was quite swiftly met with a negative response" (Wikipedia). Three cheers for negativity!
2. Pronger. I don't really want to rehash the fleeing Edmonton saga, but that story sure doesn’t help me like the guy either.
3. McDonald. A friend of mine went to college with him and said he was a prick. So he’s prick…with an unusually misshapen neck.
4. Giguere. You sunk my fantasy team with your injuries. You bugger.
5. Neidermeyer. You could have come to Vancouver but, nooooo, you wanted to play with your brother. You picked family over the city? That seems to be a running theme with you Duck defensemen. Filthy.
6. No Ice Girls?! They do have some sort of Street Team, but they all look untrustworthy or fodder for some Southern California cult. I don’t know which cult, pick one.
1. The Ducks Goal Song is Bro Hymn by Pennywise (so says their web site). I appreciate any Epitaph band doing well. And so should you.
2. They’ve got a decent crop of bloggers. This will make for fun reading and, if we get crushed at all, I’m sure they’ll be kind in their comments. Just like we will be when we win. A good give and take.
3. Brian Burke. He’s still got the best quotes ever. Remember Burkie, Sedin isn’t Swedish for punch me.
4. Randy Carlyle. Nothing wrong at all with former Moose coaches.
OK, with that out of the way, how do these teams stack up? They have the likes of Selanne, Kunitz, McDonald, Getzlaf, Perry and Penner on offense. On defense, besides Pronger and Nieds, they have Beauchemin who is such a steal in exchange for Fedorov its not even funny. And, of yeah, they’re all gigantic. Burrows will look hilarious next to half of them. But, hey, they don’t have Brad May for a couple games. Suck on that.
So yes they are stacked, we are not. They have two good goalies, we have one excellent one. If the Canucks are going to have a prayer, it’s going to revolve around three things:
1. Luongo and the D: They did a good job of taking away lanes, swatting away rebounds and letting Lui do his thing. The Ducks are deeper then the Stars and the Canucks D, sadly, appear dinged up. So to say they have their work cut out for them would be, well, stupid. Of course they do.
2. Secondary scoring: The Sedins may chip in here and there, but other guys like Pyatt, Smoke, Linden, Naslund (am I really adding him in here?), Bulis, Hansen and even Cowan will need to drive to the net and find those rebounds to put points on the board. Morrison will need to show up on the score sheet too. Everyone knows we have trouble scoring, so we could avoid further hilariously long scoring droughts if the role players, well, know their role.
3. Keep my blood pressure high: In other words, play the entire 60 minutes and keep winning those tight one-goal games if that’s what it takes. Don’t sit back with the lead, don’t take lazy penalties…hell, just don’t assume anything. If we are going to get past this team, it’s going to take a number of things falling into place at once.
I think the Canucks can do some damage here and even take the series, but just like with Dallas, it’s going to require getting some bounces, working hard, and supporting Luongo. The Ducks could blow us out and shut us down at the same time, but that’s not to say we can’t do the same back if they play Viggy’s style and keep their work ethic like it was in game seven (alright, fine, we won’t blow them out). Vancouver just needs to get a win to get their confidence and build on it from there; knowing they are the underdog this time around may help that.
It’ll be an interesting series to say the least. Ride that game seven vibe into game one and see if we take advantage of the rust factor and take one in their house.