Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Reminders in Lieu of Excuses

So the Canucks are on a losing streak.

As far as streaks go, anyone will tell you I'm more of a fan of the winning ones than the losing ones. Both are bound to happen in an 82-game schedule, and honestly, you can say before the season starts that the Canucks will win between 45 and 55 games this season, and lose between 27 and 37. It shouldn't bother us particularly when the losses come in a row.

Still, I like winning streaks better than losing streaks because I know the Canucks are a solid team, and I like hearing sportscasters and the like recognize them. It's cool to see them near the top of the power rankings, it's cool to hear people talk about how great their power play is. And the forums are always full of crazy, but it's happy crazy rather than panic crazy. I like happy crazy. It's more fun to say, "that's cool, but come on guys, Edler won't really win the Norris," than to say, "that's a drag, but come on guys, there are worse players out there than Bieksa."

I don't believe in excuses. I don't like making them, I don't like hearing them. I've always believed in owning up to your failures, acknowledging your mistakes, and truthfully assessing how likely they are to continue. "I've screwed up. I shouldn't have screwed up, but I did. I'll do my best in the future, and hopefully won't continue to screw up, because that's not acceptable." The Canucks don't seem to take to excuses, either, and I like that. I like that, when Canucks media suggest that maybe jet lag or fatigue or minor injury or bad officiating or the like may play a factor, the best they can hope for is "Maybe that's a factor but that's part of the game, and we need to do better." That's the truth about this losing streak.

The Canucks haven't been playing up to their potential. Sometimes they're still finding ways to win, but they aren't playing consistently, and they've won games they deserved to lose more often than they've lost games they deserved to win. They need to play better than they are, and it's likely that things will start to click.

Until then, we need to keep our spirits up. This is a temporary apocalypse, not a permanent one (like Z-day, but with a cure). While we wait, take a deep breath, and remember the following:

  • Last season, all six of the Canucks' top two lines put up 25+ goal seasons. No other team could say that. All six of them have returned to the lineup.
  • Roberto Luongo's "bad season" last year saw what was, for him, a low sv% of .913. For many teams, that's the ceiling of their goaltenders' ability. For the Canucks, it's the floor.
  • Including Salo, the Canucks have six defensemen that are both defensively responsible and offensive threats every night.
  • Henrik Sedin is coming off a Canucks single-season points record, and is the reigning Art Ross and Hart winner.
  • Daniel Sedin is like a clone of Henrik Sedin that shoots more.
  • Ryan Kesler has twice been a Selke finalist. Any team without Pavel Datsyuk is jealous of the Canucks for having Kesler.
  • Alex Burrows brings a level of compete that few other NHLers ever do. He'll block shots, take hits, skate till his whole body cries out for relief, and then jump back on the ice to do it again the next shift. Basically, he is playoff hockey.
  • One of the best two-way defensemen for the Canucks, Sami Salo, could return as early as December. The Canucks' record with Salo is dramatically better than it is without him.
  • While Sami Salo would be returning from a big injury after a long period of time, no one is more experienced in coming back from injury than Sami Salo.
  • The Canucks have a defenseman that's put up multiple seasons with over 40 points, is counted on night in and night out this season to silence the opposition's offense, and has done a pretty solid job, and is tougher than nutlog. Normally, such a man would be an indispensable piece of a team's core, but for the Canucks, he's not only expendable, he's likely to be traded. That's how crazy good the Canucks' defense corps is.
  • The Canucks last season were using 7.2 million in cap space on a third line that just didn't get the job done. They are now spending 4.325 million on a third line that's much better.
  • The Canucks will make the playoffs. No matter how bad the losing streak may be, the Canucks are still, ultimately, playoff-bound. While the team will never take this for granted, that's something we, as fans, can.
  • Never before have the Canucks iced this complete a team.
  • The Canucks' current head coach has won the Jack Adams award for best coach in the NHL. He's also won division titles coaching both defensive- and offensive-minded systems. What other coach can claim such versatility?
  • Many analysts and experts have picked the Canucks to win it all this season, and for good reason.
  • Even during the Canucks' win streak, when all the analysts were using the words "Vancouver" and "Stanley Cup" in sentences together all over the place, we hadn't seen the team at the top of their game. As Frank Sinatra once observed, "things will reach their apex sometime in the future."

So let go of the panic button and remember that good teams have bad nights. Nothing's going to keep the Canucks from the playoffs, and they're poised for a deep run. Ask yourself in the worst of moments, what would Bobby McFerrin do? I'll tell you what Bobby McFerrin would do: He wouldn't worry. Also, he'd be happy. And so should you.

1 comment:

  1. This has given me immeasurable optimism. Thanks, Qris. Life is good.


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