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JamesB

Thoughts on the Window of Opportunity

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Over the last few years there has been a lot of talk about the Canucks window of opportunity to win a Cup. This year might be the best shot for a while and I think the goalie situation is a key aspect of the situation. Here is the thinking.

1. Right now the Canucks are a very good team and when Kesler and Booth come back they will probably be as good as any team in the NHL.

2. The key to the Stanley Cup is often having a hot goaltender (think of the last two Cups and the role of Quick and Thomas). If the Canucks keeps both Luongo and Schneider they double their chances of having a top flight goalie who gets hot at the right time. I think that what Gillis is doing makes sense. Unless he gets a great deal for Luongo (or Schneider) having them both available for the playoffs probably gives the Canucks their best shot a Cup.

3. We all know about the age-related issues. The core of the Canucks for the last several years has been the Sedins. Without their scoring (and high performance to cap-hit ratio) the Canucks would just be a good team, not a genuine cup contender. And they are about the age where you expect an age-related decline to start. We should not see a big drop-off in performance, and they will still be good players for a few years yet, but they will not be as dominant.

4. The cap reduction of about 6 million will hurt the Canucks as much as it hurts any team next year. The Canucks will not be able to have over 9 million devoted to goaltenders or pay 4.2 million for Ballard. Ballard and one goaltender will have to go and even then there will not be room to add anyone at a significant cap hit. Even re-signing Raymond, Malhotra, Higgins, and Lapierre is in doubt for cap-related reasons.

5. The only really good young player who should improve enough to be a core contributor over the next few years is Kassian. Most of the core players are veterans. Tanev is young and good but I see him levelling off where he is now -- a solid defensive D who can play shutdown but without much offensive contribution and without a physical game -- a great guy to have a low cap hit. And the recent draft picks are a few years away.

Bottom Line: This year is probably going to be the best shot for a while.

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As long as the team keeps drafting/ trading well, they could be similar to Detroit or New Jersey who are always counted in as playoff contenders.

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I think you are off base on #5 - way off base. Lack and Jensen - and not sure why you'd assume Tanev won't improve much other than the fact he's already outstanding.

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I think the cap hit kicks in next year actually, but if u are correct the Canucks willl find ways to keep certain players this off season

they will keep one of Higgins or Raymond...... They will also keep one of Lapierre and ebbett, and Manny will be ridiculously cheap so i think he will be back regardless. Jensen will replace either higgins or Raymond, but i am certain Lapierre is safe.

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Ballard will likely be traded during the draft or bought out, Frankie Corrado will come up, Raymond is going to want a raise and unless LU gets dealt he will hit the market, Higgins will come cheaper, Lapierre will be about 1.375 and we will be fine cap wise especially considering the fact that LU and Ballard like 10 mill in space.

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I'm afraid I wouldn't really want the cup this year. Seems like an asterisk year, what with the no pre-season or camp and half as many games. I know a cup is a cup, but it wold be a hollow victory in my mind.

That said, the window was extended by some wise moves on MG's part. Namely Kassian and Schneider. Other key pieces to the puzzle are a solid d-core, which can always be supplemented by rentals, and a nice variety of fairly young, scrappy forwards - Burr, Kes, Higgins, Hansen, Lappierre and others.

Age isn't going to be a factor for a while. Even then it won't be much of a factor.

The only piece that may be problematic is the head coach, but that may not even matter so much.

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I'm afraid I wouldn't really want the cup this year. Seems like an asterisk year, what with the no pre-season or camp and half as many games. I know a cup is a cup, but it wold be a hollow victory in my mind.

That said, the window was extended by some wise moves on MG's part. Namely Kassian and Schneider. Other key pieces to the puzzle are a solid d-core, which can always be supplemented by rentals, and a nice variety of fairly young, scrappy forwards - Burr, Kes, Higgins, Hansen, Lappierre and others.

Age isn't going to be a factor for a while. Even then it won't be much of a factor.

The only piece that may be problematic is the head coach, but that may not even matter so much.

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F windows man, Were kickin the door in!

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I hear what you're saying about the "asterisk year" but consider this:

1) The Canucks were Presidents Trophy winners the last two seasons and how much does this count for the fans? More than any other contemporary team the Canucks have proven to be 82 game season champions and I'd say they'll be right up there again (top 5 for sure) this season. However, the bottom line is nobody cares about the Presidents Trophy winner, they're playing third-line fiddle to the Stanley Cup winner and their opponent.

2) This abbreviated regular season still gives ample opportunity for the cream to rise to the top. The best of the best will still be the ones making it into the play-offs. Plus, what is lost in the drawn out 82 game season has been replaced by a gruelling condensed season so, in a way, teams are still facing the the pre-playoff punishment they would have.

3) It's still 16 wins to The Cup. The road to The Cup (in games played) is longer than the NFL regular season's 16 games.

I'd agree that the window is now. The core has (1-3) years given their age and the foibles of the cap system but we'll never have the same goaltending opportunity that we have this season. We will not have two #1 golaies next season.

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10 games in is way to early to speculate. This team could be playing/looking much different come trade deadline.

Next year MG has a lot of options to get the cap hit down (Ballard, Luongo, Malholtra, Raymond, etc). I also think that Corrado and Jensen are getting very close to being NHL players.

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Coaching is not a problem, never has been. Its only a problem with CDC'ers.

Agree somewhat about a Cup win this season would be a hollow win.

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Winning the cup has a lot to do with luck too. I believe that MG will always keep us in a position to win the Stanley Cup. One of sixteen teams will win the cup from the playoff pool. We will always be one of those sixteen teams.

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couldn't care less about the 'hollow win' winning a cup in a shortened season would bring. How can any Canuck fan even say they wouldn't want to win the cup, no matter the circumstance?

Every team played the same number of regular season games. And besides, I view the Stanley Cup as the winner of the playoffs. The playoffs will still be 4 grueling best of 7 series. The regular season and the playoffs are too completely different things to me. The Canucks have proved that with two straight presidents trophies. - now those are 'hollow wins.'

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I'm afraid I wouldn't really want the cup this year. Seems like an asterisk year, what with the no pre-season or camp and half as many games. I know a cup is a cup, but it wold be a hollow victory in my mind.

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Schnieder, if he stays, can extent a window with mediocre drafting just by being awesome. The twins will still be good to great players in 3 years, our D will still be among the best and our forwards can get by with quantity over quality.

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The Canucks are contenders and I don't see that changing. They are as good a team as any in the NHL. The one thing that has been lacking in the last few seasons was the endurance factor.

Once the playoffs begin we all know how the referees like to put the whistles away (frankly referees in general are a scourge on professional sports in my humble opinion, but that is beside the point) and in the series against Boston, I think Vancouver was looking to the refs to make calls that they should have made. The Bruins took full advantage of this fact and in turn Boychuk was given full reign to break Raymond's back, Ference given full reign to slash Bieksa's calf, and on and on.

This year the Canucks are a different team. In these first few games of the shortened season, they look like a pack of wolves. They are no longer taking it from anyone and are usually happy to take it to the other team. When Henrik is throwing solid hits on the opposition you know they are fed up and are ready for the war that will be this shortened season and subsequent playoffs which we will go deep in.

The Canucks have tenacity, skill, and grit all over their roster. Kassian, Volpatti, Bieksa, and Weise have already dropped the gloves numerous times with fervor and commitment. We should also consider that we have one of the leagues more reputable pugilists playing with the Wolves, Jim Vandermeer. When he is called up, and he will be for the playoffs, we will become an even more onery bunch to contend with.

The Canucks are looking stronger with each game. They are on top of the Northwest and could very well top the West by the end of March. All this with one of the best two way forwards in the game out of the lineup. When Kesler gets back in to the lineup, this team will be twice as difficult to deal with. Booth hopefully will be able to find his game and be a force on the second line.

Keeping both Cory and Roberto may happen, and if it can be done amicably, it would be ideal. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that we have two number one goaltenders. They are both capable of playing lights out and have shown that to be true within the last three weeks. Going into the playoffs with a tandem of this calibre would make us very difficult to handle.

The only real concern in my opinon is defense. Yes Edler is leading the team in points, however he will truly be a complete asset if he becomes the beast we have seen glimpses of, in his own end. Hamhuis, Garrison, and Bieksa have also had lapses in judgement in their zone and through the neutral zone. If they can tie those up and become better at clearing the crease we are fine. Ballard and Tanev have been a rock on the third pairing, which I can only see as helping the top 4 find their defensive game.

The youth movement is just fine. Kassian, Tanev, and Schroeder are proof of that. Add in Jensen, Lack, Gaunce, Mallet, Archibald, Corrado, and Connauton, and you can see the future looking just fine. The fact that they are all on the larger side is also a plus.

The window for the Cup is merely a figment of imagination that local scribes like Botchford, Gallagher, Macintyre, and Kuzma use to justify their existence. I have never in my time as a Canuck fan seen the local media be so abrasive and parasitic to a team that any city would be proud to have. Yes other teams fans hate the Canucks, but that's just because they are irretrievably stupid.

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I remember Detroit in the early 90's and their window was closing as Stevie Y was getting older and not as dominant... yada yada yada.... How many cups did they win since?

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I disagree that keeping both gives us the best chance. Choosing the best one then trading the other one for pieces that fill other holes in our lineup gives us a far better chance. People who are so intent on keeping both seem to view a potential trade as the Canucks losing something for whatever reason. They should be seeing it as an opportunity to improve the team. Remember that come playoff time, most likely only 1 of these goalies is going to be able to help us.

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