In episode eleven, Mike and company debated whether or not Vancouver was the best team in the Western Conference. The Canucks might be at the top of the conference standings, and are tied with the Flyers for the most points in the NHL, but I still doubt the Canucks will advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Until they prove me wrong, I have the Canucks pegged as a regular season wonder. Much like the Sharks before them, these regular season champions seem to have it all. Solid goaltending, strong play in all three zones, top penalty kills and power plays, few injuries, etc. But when push comes to shove in the playoffs and you have to fight so much harder for every inch of ice, these teams fold under the pressure. This could be the year Vancouver changes that, but I am not holding my breath.
The 2010-2011 Canucks are without a doubt the most talented and consistent team Vancouver has fielded in years. You cannot say enough about the twins, and Kesler might score fifty goals. The tandem of Luongo and Schneider should push Thomas and Rask for the Jennings trophy. The addition of Schneider as a true number two goalie was key. It gives the Canucks a legitimate chance to win every night and should give Luongo more nights off to rest up for the playoffs.
While the Canucks have a deep and talented roster, I just do not think the rest of these guys are good enough to score in the playoffs. There are some questions on the blue line; any team that is going to throw Andrew Alberts out there is in need of an upgrade. A bigger, more physical, or more skilled team will come along and bounce them in the second or third round.
The trading deadline is still yet to come and there is a lot of hockey left to be played. So much will depend on who is playing their best hockey when the playoffs start. But the Canucks are Canada’s only legitimate option for potentially winning the Cup this season, that is for sure.