There is this thing in the game of hockey you just can’t explain scientifically, it’s called chemistry.
Following up on my last post, the team suddenly find themselves losing consecutive games, thanks to the line-juggling wizardry of coach Alain Vigneualt. Looking back now, with the regular season finally over, it’s okay what Alain did. He was merely testing out different line combination, just like what he did with splitting up Kesler and Burrows. Although the timing is really bad and stupid, he did what he thought best.
The experiment failed completely. Don’t get me wrong, I love Mason Raymond, I think he has tons of skills and potential. He’s fast and has great hands. One would think that Raymond could benefit greatly from icetime with Kesler and Sundin. But he didn’t.
Somehow it just didn’t click. They don’t have that “Chemistry”. The result was a three-game winless streak. In particular, the loss to a Colorado team filled with AHL players were heartbreaking to watch. Yet, Vigneualt didn’t learn from this, and he started the same line-up against Calgary in arguably the most important game of the year.
It was scoreless, and Calgary was outplaying and outshooting the Canucks with 21 shots, in the first period alone. Then, at 13:01, AV finally gave in and call out the RPM line as it was meant to be. Four minutes later, the Canucks scored the only goal in the period, despite being outshot 21-9.
The team finally settled down, and the overall play improved significantly. Captain Luongo played great, stopping 46 out of 47 shots for the all-important 4-1 win.
With this line-up, the Canucks will continue to win all of their remaining two games to clinch their second NorthWest Division title in three years. Of course this will automatically means that Vancouver will have home-ice advantage in the playoff as well.
But, go ask anyone in the Canucks organization, and they will tell you that nothing has been won, just yet. It’s all-or-nothing this year for Vancouver, just like it was during the West-Coast-Express era.
Of course, one would argue that we didn’t have a top-end goaltender like Luongo, or that our depth in our defense wasn’t nearly as good as they are now, or even the skills of the bottom two forward lines are nothing compared to the 2009-edition of the Canucks.
But all these rationale will mean absolutely nothing comes Wednesday when the puck is dropped in GM Place. It will all be about hunger, passion, grit, experience and resilience. Whichever team has more of these will be the winner at the end of the series.
I have been a Canucks’ fan for almost 15 years now. After experiencing all the promises and heartbreaks throughout the years, I think that a fan, I deserve better…better from the team I’ve cheered for all these years. This has to be the year, for our team to at least make it to the conference finals. It has been 15 seasons since the Canucks made it passed the second-round.
With our Swedish sensations in Henrik, Daniel, Mattias and Mats all facing free-agency this Summer, if the Canucks get outsed early this post-season, it will be a very very different team comes next October.
It’s Make-or-Break time guys, are you ready? I know I am, I have started my playoff-beard already!!!