I admit that I fully enjoyed watching Boston get their hearts crushed in seven….at home. Is seven years a long time to hold a grudge? I’m not sure I want to let it go either. This was not the Stanley Cup I expected or hoped for and I think this playoffs should be looked at a little closer by some of the “know it alls” and they should ask why Tampa….or Washington…or Calgary never went farther after great regular seasons.
The discussion around building a contender for the regular season usually takes precedence, as you have to make the playoffs to win the Cup. But the playoff game is a far different beast than the regular season game and it looks like the Canucks fanbase might be a bit confused about which team they want. Looking at the Blues, they had a big team. Only two players were below six feet tall (both were 5’11). The Bruins were a little smaller as they have a few guys around 5’9, but all of them were very physical.
There were some Canuck fans that believe that if the Canucks just made the playoffs that they could win it all. “Anything can happen!!” I am not one of those fans. The Canucks would have been destroyed in a hard-hitting series. “Big Boy Hockey” is still alive and well in the playoffs. Small skilled players have to have some grit to them in order to survive the hitting and lack of calls by the refs. A guy like Marchand thrives because he is willing to play after the whistle.
The Canucks are getting skilled players through the draft, but they will definitely have to find the “grit” type of players like David Perron or Pat Maroon if they want to have a chance against teams in the playoffs. In the regular season teams are willing to skate away from a hit in order to make a play, but not in the playoffs. Everyone is hitting or getting hit and much like Vancouver in 2011, the Bruins were physically worn down by the Blues. This Blues team was pretty good after Jan 1st but their physical style really showed up in April.
So, after watching this series and the physicality of it, I have to say that adding Lucic would be a terrible mistake on so many levels. He is not fast…he is not physical and he doesn’t score. The trifecta of suck. I really wish Jake would find his mean side but it just doesn’t seem that he is that type of guy. I’m not looking for knuckle-draggers or goons. I just want some more physicality from this team. I want Ryan Kesler and Burrows from 2010-11. I want players willing to step up and draw the attention on the other team so Petey and Boeser don’t have to deal with crap.
The Canucks should continue to draft talent and skill and then try and trade for or sign those with “intangibles”. The hard part seems to be finding the right mix to go with this young team. Roussel was a great add, while Schaller is a bust. Going after Myers or Gardiner may help the team score a few more goals, but they don’t add much else. Beggsy wrote a great article on some better choices than Lucic and the new guy, Michael Beck, wrote a great article about this summer’s free agents. Both give point out some possibilities that could keep this team moving forward.
Unfortunately, forward may have some forks in the road as we will continue to have differing views on what a Canuck team should look like in the future. Trying to copy a certain team’s style won’t work, but there is a pattern to winning teams.
1. Two lines that can score
2. Big defensemen will to skate the puck up
3. Hot goalie
It’s hard to get the timing right for the last one, but the first two can be built over the next 2-3 years. The question becomes, is the fanbase willing to wait for it to occur or does impatience rule the day and major changes begin this year?
The Cup has been won and now it’s time for the work to begin for 2019-20. Go earn your paycheck GMJB.