At this point in the season, the chances of the Vancouver Canucks making the playoffs are extremely remote, but the team has done everything possible to help its own cause.
Unfortunately, they’re no longer masters of their own destiny, and it’ll likely require a sudden collapse by the Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes for the Canucks to sneak into the playoffs as the last seed in the Western Conference.
The Canucks earned a big victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, defeating them 2-1 in regulation. Vancouver was trailing Los Angeles for most of the game before Alexander Edler and Brad Richardson found the back of the net in the third period.
Once the dominant (by far) team in Canada, the Canucks have gradually fallen victim to old age, injuries and internal mismanagement.
Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin look a step slower this season; Ryan Kesler and Alexandre Burrows have both missed time to injury; and neither Roberto Luongo nor Cory Schneider is a member of the Canucks today.
What fans of the Canucks may be witnessing is the close of an era. The window of opportunity for many of the team’s top players has passed. As a result, it might be time to finally admit the obvious and begin the “rebuild” project: this team is past its prime.
To this effect, there was a lot of talk that Kesler would be traded this season and although he remains part of the team today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him moved in the offseason. It’ll probably prove more difficult to move the Sedin twins, but I’m sure management wouldn’t oppose the idea outright.
That’s what makes this last push by the Canucks both pleasant and sad to watch: it’s nice to see them enter the great unknown on a potentially winning note.
A bright future may greet Vancouver at the end of the tunnel – Edler is an excellent young defenceman and goaltender Eddie Lack has the skill to solve the goaltending question for the Canucks – but it’ll likely be a bumpy and dark ride getting there.
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