Thursday, March 31, 2011
Posted by Daniel Wagner
I understand some Canucks fans are wary of the playoffs: with only two Stanley Cup Final appearances in the team's 40 year existence and no victories, most Canucks fans have a pessimistic outlook, just waiting for something to go wrong. And certainly things have gone wrong in the past. We've seen a dream playoff run ended by a goal post. We've seen an Art Ross trophy and a division championship choked away. We've seen Nicklas Lidstrom score from center. We've see Luongo lose focus. We've seen them lose in the second round to the Blackhawks. Twice. In a row. And that's just recent history.
So I get it, I really do. For many years the pessimism has been a realistic and fair reaction to the performance and history of the team. So I want to let you know, because it's completel atypical and likely goes against everything you've ever believed about the Canucks: it's okay to be optimistic.
It's okay to think this could be it, they could really do it this time, or this is our year. It's okay. Yes, it's okay to say "this is our year." It's optimism. It's okay.
And it's not misplaced optimism. Sure, the Canucks might not win the Cup this year and that will be disappointing, but there's no need to expect it or, as some fans appear to be doing, accepting it as an inevitability. We are witnessing the greatest regular season in Canucks history. They have already broken team records in points and wins. They have already locked up first place in the Western Conference. With a win tonight and a loss by the Flyers, the Canucks could have the President's Trophy secured before any other team in the West has nailed down a playoff spot.
The Canucks are first in goals, first in goals against, first in powerplay percentage, first in penalty kill percentage, and first in faceoff percentage. They also have in their employ the league leader in points, two of the top five goalscorers, and three of the top ten leaders in plus/minus. Their starting goaltender is top-five in the NHL in save percentage, goals against average, and wins. Their backup goaltender has almost identical stats, with just a slightly better save percentage and winning percentage.
They haven't lost in regulation to the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks, the two teams immediately below them in the standings. They haven't lost 4 games in a row in regulation all season. They haven't had their top-six defensemen on the ice at the same time all year and they just keep winning.
Look, I'm not trying to cheerlead. I'm not trying to pump up the bandwagon. I'm not trying to be a fanboy. I'm just giving you permission: be optimistic. Embrace it. Keep calm and be optimistic. Really, it's okay.