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An unfamiliar feeling for Canucks fans



Wrote this for the SFU paper before Manny's fatal accident; however it some weird twisted extremely confident thought, The Canucks may play better. I actually think the Canucks are less likely to be upset in the first two rounds of the playoffs now that they know that they have a significant hole...and know that they all have to pick up their games and contribute each night.

Check out the positive article, something different from the consistent negativity.

In a season of remarkable runs, the Canucks have been able to put substantial distance between themselves and the teams chasing them. For the first time, the franchise has an opportunity to add a new banner to solidify their success. After all, this year the Canucks have clinched their division title in the shortest time in franchise history, and, until now, have never been the top seed in their conference, let alone the league.

With no signs of taking a nap, the players have provided the fans with an extremely consistent season, forcing analysts to desperately search for holes. As much as we all want to believe that this is the year, the Canucks always seem to fall short come playoff time, and the history of fans waiting for the "expected" to occur is a well-known ritual in this city.

But what if the "expected" doesn't happen? What if there are no catastrophes? What if this team gets healthy and stays healthy throughout the post-season? What if instead of having difficulty making things happen in a defensive playoff battle, the stars of this lineup finally wake up? What if this team finally proves all their critics wrong?

The team deserves credit for what they have achieved thus far, and this may be the year fans can justifiably "Believe in Blue".

The Canucks created a path to stroll into the playoffs as the number one seed, locking up home-ice advantage for possibly the entire battle. The countdown is on.

Who is to say this has to turn out badly? By the way this team has conducted itself, they have proven for months that they have a firm grip on something very unique in terms of leadership and professionalism.

It has been a business-like atmosphere since training camp and every time you expect this team to let down and have it crumble, they gain momentum and go on a run.

The numbers don't lie; the Canucks have won six or more games at four different points this season, which is why it is no surprise the Canucks are on top of league.

No brother duet has ever won back-to-back scoring titles in league history. Both Sedin brothers have been able to grab the game by the throat and take charge, a trademark of any great player.

They have proven this year after year, and now they are established trophy case candidates. The luxury of alternating goaltenders is not a dilemma; it's the solution to Roberto Luongo's playoff woes.

Not only is the undisputed number one tied with Montreal's Carey Price for most wins, but Cory Schneider is playing as if he's a seasoned veteran.

Schneider has not been the guy with the burden; nevertheless, he is without question the greatest insurance policy that this franchise has ever had. He has been able to gain an incredible amount of respect from his teammates and management.

If the team stays on schedule and the core defense all get back in time for the playoffs as expected, it will be the most mobile group in the league. Even with injuries to the blueline, the Canucks have proven that they are extremely resilient.

Rather than have their fourth line sit in the press box (reminiscent of last year), the new look of Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre provide the team with speed, agility, and much needed grit.

The intangibles are more evident than ever before, and overriding them all is leadership. Players such as third-line centre Manny Malhotra helped the team stay on the rails and brought with him the culture of consistent professionalism that it takes to be a champion.

I am not saying it's going to be a breeze to win the Cup, but seriously, in what other year did they have a team of this caliber to compete for Lord Stanley? It has been 40 years of cherished memories and unforgettable statistics, but one team photo has yet to be shot.

Maybe the hockey gods finally understand the pain the city has felt and are telling us to leave the concern by the front door and let the players handle themselves. This group has handled the scrutiny better than any other Canuck ensemble and the end is in sight with no negative symptoms.

Failure is too ingrained in the mentality of people in Vancouver when it comes to the Canucks. Let's lift our spirits.


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