Saturday, June 29, 2013

Taking A Bite Out Of The Cup?

The Canucks hired a coach that knows how to win? He's won a Calder Cup and a Stanley Cup?

Wow, is Marc Crawford back? Oh, yeah, he only made the AHL Final when he was coaching the Baby Leafs in St. John's, but there's that Stanley Cup (thanks, Patrick Roy!).

So, Fonzie it is--John Tortorella (Right About Now, the Funk Soul Brother!). Of course, he last won a Stanley Cup pre-lockout-lockout back in 2004 during the dead puck era. Once he lost his Stanley Cup winning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin in Tampa, not so much. Two first round exits and once missing the playoffs altogether which got him canned.

Onto New York where one assumes he was brought in to get them a Stanley Cup. How'd that work out? Well, the Shot Blockers in his first three seasons lost twice in round one and missed the playoffs in between those two one-and-dones. Then his 10W-10L .500 record in the 2012 playoffs got the Rangers to round three where they subsequently lost to the New Jersey Devils playing 90-year-old Martin Brodeur in net.

This past playoffs, we all know what happened. Torts decides to bench his best offensive player Brad Richards the last two games of the second round series vs. Boston and proceeded to lose to the Bruins.

I don't date bench players

Well, at least he'll have the Sedins killing penalties because we all know the slowest skaters on any team should be doing that. Plus didn't Mario Lemieux lead the league in blocked shots one year? Or maybe that was Phil Esposito? Howie Morenz?

OK, put them out there for the last 20 seconds a la Gretzky and Kurri on the '80s Oilers. That may work...if they can get the twins fitted with rocket skates.

Rocket skates made from golden baby seals

Not sure if the Canucks need any more biting given how Alex Burrows really only woke up the Bruins in the 2011 Final by adding more bite to his game. But, alright, let's give Mr. Bite the benefit of the doubt and look at the truculent positives. Yes, the Canucks need to get tougher BUT where are these players that will do that?  There's no Andrew Shaw or Bryan Bickell on this team (sorry, Zack Kassian). The defence is not exactly Chara scary or Keith steady.

The Nux are also moving to a way tougher division given three of the "larger" teams they struggle to beat--the Kings, the Ducks and the Sharks--are in that new division.

Yes, the window may have closed once the Canucks blew the 2011 Final, but there is that Carolina Hurricanes 2006 rebound back-to-the-Final and win it model? Can the Canucks learn anything from how the Canes did it?

Not enough really has been made of how the Canes lost in the 2002 Final and four years (but only three seasons given the '04/05 lockout) later clawed back to win it all. It's the one model losing Finalists should be looking at.

They did have a new coach in Peter Laviolette who had replaced Paul Maurice after 30 games of the '03/04 season.

The thing with the Canes is although their defence stayed virtually the same (Hedican, Wallin, Wesley and Ward) with just Frantisek Kaberle and Mike Commodore replacing Sean Hill and Marek Malik, the rest of the team had plenty of turnover.

The goalies in '02 were Arturs Irbe and Kevinturs Weekes. Yes, Canuck fans, the two and the same.

In '06 it was Cam Ward. Well, actually it was the #1 netminder Martin Gerber who flopped so badly in the first two games in round one that a change was warranted. Rookie Cam Ward proceeded to channel Patrick Roy and took home the Conn Smythe.

All the wingers changed bar Erik Cole who only got into two playoff games in '06 anyway. Given the '06 wingers were veterans Corey Stillman, Mark Recchi (a late-season pickup) and Ray Whitney with future multiple Cup winners Andrew Ladd and Justin Williams, that's a pretty strong group.

Rod Brind'Amour and Kevyn Adams were back as two of the centers but the additions of Matt Cullen and Doug Weight to go with 21-year-old Eric Staal in just his sophomore season leading the Canes in playoff scoring...and hello, Stanley.

So, there you have it. I guess the change of coach has been done. Now all the Canucks need to do is bring up some hotshot 21-year-old scoring center from the minors and change all their wingers bar maybe a veteran like Christopher Higgins.

That was easy. Next, I solve the crisis in Brazil. 

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