The 2022-23 campaign has been chock full of nightmares for Canucks fans.
Really, this franchise has endured nothing but pain and a vicious cycle of mediocrity ever since Roberto Luongo and the Sedin twins left town.
Those three pillars from the best team in Canucks history will officially be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame later today (4:30 pm PST, TSN 4 and/or 5)
In just one day, the Canucks will massively increase their footprint in the Hall of Fame. While a number of former players to wear a Canucks jersey are in the Hall (Cam Neely, Mats Sundin, Mark “worst captain ever” Messier & Igor Larionov), Pavel Bure really is the only Canucks icon to be named a Hall of Famer as a player.
Thank you Sedins — Vancouver’s favourite dolphins
The Sedins meant everything to Vancouver. They were belittled, disrespected and undervalued by most of the NHL throughout their careers. Because of that, the city only further cherished their on-ice brilliance.
Although it took some time, the Sedins helped deliver the most entertaining decade of hockey in Canucks history.
Think about this. With their careers beginning during the West Coast Express Era, the Canucks made the playoffs in 12 of the Sedins’ first 15 seasons with the Canucks.
Since then, Vancouver has missed the playoffs in six of seven seasons, and they’re firmly on track to make seven of eight seasons without a postseason berth.
Sorry, I did say that the Sedins would distract from the present-day misery for a minute. Dammit.
Quick, Daniel Sedin, tell us how you found out about earning this prestigious honour.
“I was in the bathroom in Sweden,” Daniel told reporters on the weekend.
No word on whether it was a Number 1 or 2...probably not important.
Daniel did drop another light-hearted story during the weekend’s press conference, which included questions from fans. One fan asked the twins if they had their own language on the ice.
“Alex Burrows used to say that we spoke like dolphins. I don’t know what that means or if it’s good or bad...we made sounds.”
In terms of their favourite hockey moments, no huge surprises. Henrik cited two — getting his 1000th point against Luongo, and their final home game with the Canucks when Daniel scored the overtime winner.
Daniel said “I was going to pick that one” after Luongo cited the OT victory against Chicago in 2011 as his favourite moment, but instead talked about how Trevor Linden’s return to Vancouver helped the Sedins with the scrutiny they faced as youngsters in the NHL.
Luongo’s legacy improved with hindsight
Clearly, since Luongo was traded from the Canucks in 2014, his legacy has improved with time.
Still, at least from my personal experience talking to fans in that 45+ age range, most of them still cite the fact that he couldn’t get it done in the big game.
I see the rationale, but that stain on his legacy dwindles when you step back and look at the bigger picture.
Luongo was the best goaltender in franchise history. Period. Hell, he’s one of the best goaltenders in NHL history, and we got to see him play during his prime with the Vancouver Canucks.
Sure, criticize a couple of games against the Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks if you want, but at least Luongo performed like one of the best goalies in the NHL in order to get the team to those spots.
Compare that to now, when even making the playoffs seems like a monumentally impossible task for the Canucks.
Dammit, I did it again.
Speaking of legacy, Luongo did win a big one as a member of Team Canada in 2010 — when he was supposed to backup legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur, no less, before taking over as the starter.
Luongo talked about one pivotal moment from the 2010 Olympics during the weekend press conference.
“When I made the elbow save on [Joe] Pavelski and the puck dropped in front of me, I was actually freezing that puck, I was covering it, I was going to kill the play.
“And, out of the corner of my eye, I heard Scott Niedermeyer call for the puck behind the net. So, instead of freezing it, I just slid it to him. He took it all the way up the ice, the whole play happened, and sid happened to score the goal to win the Gold Medal Game.”
“I actually think about that a lot because, not only if I don't make that save but if I don't freeze the puck, does it change the outcome of the game?
“Now that I have time since I'm retired, you think about these things, right?”