A first round exit, though at the hands of the Cup Winners, is not what anyone, even our rivals, expected.
It's becoming more and more clear that our problem in the playoffs is NOT goaltending, or lack of size, or experience. It's becoming clear that the only legitimate problem is our lack of playoff offense. Even if we don't score as much in the playoffs (since we play a tighter defensive game come April), we don't even pressure the opposition and don't even create many chances in the post-season.
If we can play a game where the puck is most often in the opponent's side of the rink, then there are zero questions to be raised about the defense or the goaltending. The lack of offensive productivity is what causes these so-called "defensive and goaltending gaffes". We pretty much play like October Canucks in the playoffs - no offense, the defense has no chemistry, Luongo and Schneider hung out to dry.
So, now we ask the question: "did we improve enough, if at all". Well, the problem we have is not something you improve by just going and buying some player. This is a chemistry issue. Our forwards are not bad players at all. We have a strong offense that can go head-to-head with any other team in the league. How do we fix the problem then, if it's not through FA or trading?
The players need to become more dynamic. We can't just play the same game over and over again, because the way the Canucks' forwards play can be shut down if we play predictably. Why?
The Canucks play based on teamwork, NOT skill. Teams like the Pens have Crosby and Malkin. They're two players who can produce points no matter who is assigned to deal with them. The Sedins? Well, the only reason that they still produce is because they just can't be consistently shut down. However, our 2nd and 3rd lines can. These lines lack superstar quality and lack chemistry. So then, how in God's name are they supposed to do anything?
You might say this is a good time to go for FA, but the only way we can fix secondary scoring issues is by overpaying. By a lot. And then we lose cap space for other aspects of the team.
Our situation is weird because our team isn't built to win if our opponents know what we're going to do, because our game is planned out and practiced, it's not based on individual skill.
A possible solution at this point is to either get AV to stop being stubborn in his stratagems or maybe even change coaches. I don't think AV is the reason for any of this, but the coach is the root of how a team plays, and if that must change, the coach must either adapt or he must be replaced.
MG built the team with multiple good players but nobody with elite individual skill. If that is the case, we have no choice but to play a passing game, with offensive and defensive support. It's an ideologically sound tactic, but only if the opposition defends reactively, not preemptively (eg. how the Kings stood up at their blue line during our incredbly predictable PPS). If they know what we're about to do, they can stop us because our strategy isn't based off of elite skill, which they can't stop.
Bottom line: Fix how we play. Our team is cup-calibre, but not how we play.
Edited by LordofBrussels, 29 August 2012 - 06:41 PM.