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Down The Stretch - Jan.23.08

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Mike Macri

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<table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>In case you’re wondering (and I’m pretty sure that you are), things are going pretty well with me right now. In addition to enjoying a delicious Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream (Mmm...taste the jazz!), I also recently signed a small endorsement contract with a soft drink manufacturer. In the interest of good taste (much like the good taste of a refreshing Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream - the cream lover’s choice), I won’t disclose the name of the manufacturer. But it’s not all lucrative endorsements and daiquiri mixers at the community center every second wednesday night of the month, either. The Canucks are mired in a little bit of a slump right now, and to be honest, it’s like a burning mass of black bile germinating inside of my chest, expanding into the recesses of my very essence. So give and take, I suppose.

Although the wins might be in short supply right now, the team isn’t playing all that poorly. Unfortunately, such a trend seems to reinforce the persistent thought that when Roberto Luongo looks human, the Canucks are in trouble. Perhaps the team just needs to work through these difficulties, but there is always the possibility that a shakeup is in order. Dave Nonis has a couple of options heading down the stretch: stand relatively pat and hope that his goaltender bails the team out come playoffs, or make a splash at the deadline. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues13_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues13_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>

The first choice (by definition) involves making two small trades - one of which must involve Geoff Sanderson. The other trade will most likely be for a journeyman defenseman who hit his peak in 2002. Second-round draft picks are the currency of choice in these transactions, with the occasional third-rounder thrown in for seasoning. Given the success of Mason Raymond and Alex Edler (second and third-round picks, respectively), one shudders to think what Eric Weinrich et al. actually ended up costing the Canucks. Oh well, a few months of almost-competent, yellow-visored mediocrity is almost as good as a well-stacked stable of prospects, isn’t it?

Nonis’ second option is one that hasn’t been seen around these parts in over a decade: a major deadline deal. This is rarely a prudent venture (see Nashville’s acquisition for Peter Forsberg and their subsequent playoff implosion last year); but occasionally, the timing is right. At the 1994 trade deadline, Pat Quinn dealt Petr Nedved to the St. Louis Blues for Jeff Brown, Martin Gelinas, and Nathan LaFayette. Granted, Nedved was a season-long holdout at the time, but for the purpose of illustrating my point, it still qualifies as a major deadline deal. Of course, the Canucks went on to the finals that year, with Brown and Gelinas each playing a significant role in the team’s success. LaFayette (and his affinity for missing wide open nets) on the other hand, is the bane of my existence to this day. However, the point remains, a major trade can occasionally propel a team into Stanley Cup contention.

<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues12_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues12_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>As of late, it’s rumoured that the Canucks are amongst the favourites to land Toronto Maple Leafs’ center Mats Sundin. Of course, this rumour seemed to originate from Al Strachan, so take it with an entire salt mine, but Sundin would surely provide the Canucks with a strong 1-2 punch down the middle. Names being thrown around in return include Ryan Kesler, Alex Edler, and Luc Bourdon. This is where Nonis has to tread carefully - as it’s a make-or-break kind of deal. The way I see it, a trade for Sundin can go one of three ways:

Scenario 1: The Canucks deal Ryan Kesler and a first for Sundin. The team subsequently gets swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs before seeing Sundin re-sign with the Leafs in the offseason. The city of Vancouver proceeds to riot. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/images/upload/2008/01/sundin012308_480x285_leafs.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/images/upload/2008/01/sundin012308_120x90_leafs.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>

Scenario 2: Kesler and a first for Sundin. Hard-fought Conference Final defeat, with Sundin playing a major role. With apologies to the Canucks and the city, the big center decides to return to the Leafs. The city of Vancouver proceeds to riot, but with an undertone of respect for the situation.

Scenario 3: Same trade. Cup win. The city of Vancouver proceeds to riot.

Unfortunately for Nonis, he will inevitably cause the destruction of public and private property in deciding to deal for Sundin. However, if everything comes together in the right way at the right time, the Canucks can ensure that the tears from the pepper spray are mixed with tears of joy - the best combination for the true sports enthusiast. And what’s the best combination for a blogger with a mean thirst? It has to be the rich, smooth taste of caramel with everyone’s favourite calorie-free cola - Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream: now with 12% more Jazz!

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dude cmon canucks sud make some good :mellow: friken get good players like try fo crosby and fo return fo da penguins giv e
m like 7m ;)

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dude cmon canucks sud make some good :mellow: friken get good players like try fo crosby and fo return fo da penguins giv e
m like 7m ;)

What just happened?

Excellent writing, good sir, as always.

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