Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What's Next: Vancouver Canucks

They had a great run to end the season, turned it into a first-round sweep, but they ran into a team that didn't know fear and the Vancouver Canucks' season is now over.

Yet, the downfall of the Canucks playoffs could have been the downfall of the year. While the Sedins were able to get a point-per-game in the playoffs as they did in the regular season, the secondary scoring wasn't there at all. While Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, and Pavol Demitra tried to contribute, the defensive mindset still remains for the Canucks.

However, you can tell this team is all about Roberto Luongo and when he was injured-- you could tell things were akimbo. Jason LaBarbera started out well and then faded, and that's after he usurped Curtis Sanford's role. Once Luongo came back, he took control and allowed the Canucks to play in their defensive gameplan. So, goaltending won't be a problem for the Canucks for another year.

However, the offensive side of things will have to step up to give Luongo some support. With the Sedins both UFAs alongside Mats Sundin, who was somewhat subpar during his tenure, the Canucks may have to shift their priorities in order to give their goaltending some support and make their game more towards an offensive movement. While that may not happen under the tenure of Alain Vigneault, it may be something that the Nucks will have to do in order to be successful in the playoffs and even in the regular season.

Defensively, the Nucks had some solid performances from Willie Mitchell, Mattias Ohlund, and Alex Edler on the defensive, Kevin Bieksa's offensive performance was a breakout, but struggled on the defensive side of things. The top-four will be back again next season, but you'd think that they would want the pressure off of them, as well. If they want some of the guys to be able to open up their game more, the offensive push would be something that could relieve the pressure on their end.

There could be a lot needed for the Canucks to change their ways and to change their success in the regular season and maybe adapt to the new style of play in the NHL. Every year is seems that they either barely squeak into the playoffs or have the threat of not getting in down the stretch. If they can actually get some secondary scoring or primary scoring if the Sedins leave-- then they could be more assured to their playoff destiny and give their fans something to get excited about rather than defending their team and their defensive scheme.

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