Well kids, the dreadfully long wait is over at last. No, not training camp. The return of the Morning Coffee. Okay, I kid... I know you all likely haven't noticed that much. But it is good to be back talking Canucks hockey with you all. And while some of you still feel the pain, you cannot deny it was a hell of a ride. Canuck Nation was in full force right to the end (save for a handful of idiots), supporting this team as they came within a game of winning it all.
So for all of you who are returning to Nucks Misconduct for the upcoming season, or new faces (and we do appreciate every one of you), we have put together a little guide to help you survive what is already proving to be a pretty interesting off-season. After the jump we have some tips, things to watch for, names to keep an eye on and lots more.
Keep your head up- One thing to remember: the haters are still out there. There are still lots of hockey fans ready to take shots at your allegiance to the Nucks. Don't get sucked in. The hate comes strongest from those who didn't even have a prayer at being there. Offer condolences, and be annoyingly positive when giving them a compliment about their team. It bothers them when you don't take the bait. It also confuses them, especially because what they think is a pat on the back is actually you highlighting their team's incompetence (eg. "I really think the Oilers, with all their high draft picks will be vastly improved this year, but the addition of Ben Eager? A masterstroke that will put them in the post-season for sure!") . This tactic will come in most handy against our divisional rivals, other Canadian teams and especially our new friends in Winnipeg. We're glad you got your Jets back, we really are. You need to remember something however: at the end of the day, they are still the Atlanta Thrashers. Oh, and Fuck The Bruins.
Avoid the "ZOMG's"- ZOMG's or Zomg-bies (h/t @passittobulis) are the type of people who continually harp on players, coaching and management of a team, demanding trades and decrying the abilities of a certain player. We all like to discuss players strengths, coaching decisions and personnel, that's half of what we discuss here. But rationality and common sense must be applied. So I call on you, level-headed Canucks fans to mock and deride those who would continue to take shots at Roberto Luongo, for one. Heading into the playoffs, the hockey world's universal thought was "Sure he won a gold medal, but he's never gotten them past the 2nd round, let alone the Blackhawks". Sorry, but you don't get to bump the marker up that far. You said he couldn't get them to the final. Yes, he did not win. But if you hang that 7 game series loss on him alone, I question your hockey smarts. Everyone knows that was Christian Ehrhoff's fault. The point is, this team can't go much further. Roberto Luongo can lead them there. They need to address questions that aren't to do with who is in the crease in order to take that final step.
Who To Watch- One of my favorite things about training camp is the possibility of someone stepping up and grabbing a spot on the roster. Granted, there aren't a lot available on this team, but there are some holes that need to be filled, and some interesting names trying to do just that. I for one am watching the Owen Nolan story with great interest. After playing in Europe last season, it would be a hell of a story if Nolan could crack the 4th line. I have always hated the way this guy plays against the Canucks, and that is exactly the kind of guy you want. Plus, I don't have to mention what a massive upgrade that would be over some of the 4th line shmoes they iced over the last couple seasons. Tanner Glass may have fought bears and played a mean game of Scrabble, but dear Gawd that open-net miss was painful.
Lots of other questions await answers: Does Marco Sturm have anything left in the tank? Is Mark Mancari the one who shall lead us to the promised land? How often will Steven Pinizzotto's name get misspelled this season? Will Ryan Kesler add Mike Duco on Twitter? Is this Cody Hodgson's time to shine? Stay tuned...
Predictions- While actual standings predictions are in the works, here are some things I think we are likely to see during the next few months:
- 386- The number of articles referencing a certain Bruins douchebag and something about six punches.
- 14:53- The approximate time I will laugh hysterically as karma catches up with said douchebag this season.
-1- The number of new agents Drew Doughty should be looking for, along with a life coach to get that runaway ego in check...
- 93.7%- The number of articles written about the Canucks that forecast doom and gloom because of the loss of Ehrhoff and for some unexplained reason, Raffi Torres.
- 1- The number of NHL games that will be played before someone hits a player like Aaron Rome on Nathan Horton and not get suspended for it.
- 8412- The number of articles that will be written about why fighting needs to be taken out of hockey this season.
- 8412- The number of articles in the post-season that will make reference to referees letting them play and putting the whistles away.
-27- The number of hours before someone on CDC calls for Alain Vigneault to be fired and/or Roberto Luongo to be traded. Again.
In all seriousness, I am really looking forward to another outstanding season from our boys. Sure there's issues, but that's half the fun, right? Seeing them overcome the odds. I will see you all Tuesday for the first pre-season game against the Flames.