Monday, March 23, 2009

Bingo Bango Bye Bye

Maybe it's because Roberto Luongo actually said out loud that he may not re-sign here, but why the surprise on the fans' and media's part about this revelation? The captain has always struck me as a fairly intelligent guy who gives pretty well thought out answers to questions thrown his way.

Canuck fans should be happy that he's come out and said that. It puts the onus on Mike Gillis to go out this summer and get the two "made" Marians--Gaborik and Hossa. Let the Sedins walk off to T.O., where they can cycle their way into the hearts of Buds' fans.

After all, for Luongo to be truly judged a great goalie in this era he has to win a Cup. It's not like he's like Blackhawks' Hall of Famer Tony Esposito stuck in an era where the Habs, Bruins, Flyers and Islanders dominated and would not let any other teams snag silverware.

Given that fact, put yourself in Roberto's skates, and would you sign an extension with a team that has made all of two deep runs in close to four decades of NHL play vs. signing on with Detroit after next season? It worked for Dominik Hasek after years in Buffalo.

Gumby takes it all in '02

So now the ball's in the Canuck court. Obviously, Luongo has to lift the team at least past rd. 1 this year. In rd. 2 if they are matched up vs. the Sharks or the Wings, Luongo is going to have to play lights out and the series has to go at least 6 for any Canuck fan to have any hope in '09/10. Should, by some Dwayne Roloson flukey stop everything in sight scenario, either of the top two teams bow out in rd. 1, the Nux have to get to the Western Conference Final period or Mats Sundin is also toast come next season.

So, thank you Roberto Luongo as now you put the pressure on where it should be. Gillis has to go for it this summer and throughout 08/09 by loading up on as many scorers as he can (also, a Jay Bouwmeester would be nice to add that Dan Boyle/Nicklas Lidstrom type to the backline). Until then Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows are great stories (and pretty decent players now) but they are not playoff studs yet and probably won't be in a year's time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Can This Team Do It?

With the amazing home winning streak of 11 straight, Canuck fans are giddy with thoughts of a deep playoff run. It may be warranted but are the media focusing on that? But nooooooooo!

First, we had the mini-panic in the press over not obtaining anyone at the trade deadline, and especially losing out on snagging Anaheim's checking center Samuel Pahlsson and his going to the Nux possible first round matchup team, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Well, since then the Canucks have caught up and passed the Hawks. Add to that there seems to be no one out there who has not figured out that the Canucks do have a supreme checking line center by the name of Ryan Kesler. Obviously, now he makes his name as a high-flying offensive force on the Sundin line but if during the playoffs a series turns where the Nux need a "shutdown" center, Kesler is the man.

Also, is Ryan Johnson not a perfectly good second choice as a checking center?

Then I suppose people will get in a tizzy about taking Kesler off the top line. Well, the playoffs are a whole different nut to crack involving so many ebbs and flows so let's just see how it all plays out there, Dave Lowry, before we determine that the less than "great" checker Kyle Wellwood is locked into that 3rd line center spot.

I may have a oversized melon but I can pick up my check...I'm not that cheap

Next was Roberto Luongo's puckhandling. Sure, he's no Martin Brodeur or Marty Turco but last I looked Patrick Roy seemed to be less than a Jacques Plante in his puckhandling skills and he seemed to do fairly well come playoff time.

Then there is this criticism over some "weak" goals Luongo has given up. He's not sieve a la the new flash in the pan Steve Penney clone there in Montreal so let's all calm down (speaking of which do Canuck fans really need to go "Luuuuuu" every single time the guy makes a save? How about we save that cheer for the great saves? Just a thought). His save pct. since the All-Star break is .915. So I'll take one weak goal a game as long as he's saving over 91% of the shots that comes his way.

The main stat fans should focus on is how the team does on the road (5W 3L since the All-Star break) and how the PK unit is doing (a poor 20th overall) as far as gauging the Canucks' ability to go deep in the playoffs. So the upcoming six-game road trip should be a fairly good look into how playoff ready this team is.