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.
I could not say it or put it anymore better than how you and what you just wrote. That pretty much sums up everything. Chemistry and lack of the elite caliber skill is what we are lacking. Our D seems to have the chemistry, our top Offense line has the chemistry but they both under-perform when necessary. We are definitely a Cup caliber team, if we weren't we wouldn't make it to Game 7. But, with that being said, added size to the team would not hurt and would be a huge help. Not that teamwork is not the answer, as every team needs it to win anything, but we need more individual determination to want to score and put more effort into being that "standout" player.
There seems to be a lack of drive and motivation to really want to win, and with the last playoff "run" we had, that was a huge factor and a missing one at that.
The word to describe the Canucks in the playoffs wouldn't necessarily be apathy, but it would be close to it. I find that the Canucks just seem to be going through the motions of how to play a game, but need to be more willing and determined to GET crap DONE and really want to ???? win! I love the Canucks with all my heart, but too seem them not perform at the level I know they down right ???? can pisses me off. Less passing, and more nailing that ???? puck at that net with the thoughts in their head of, "This puck is going to go in that net." Period.
I love you Canucks, I truly do and will forever watch every game I can, as I watched every game of the season last season, but I want you guys to know that you can win the Stanley Cup, but too win it, you also have to know that you can and are willing to put in the ABSOLUTE effort that is needed.