Friday, September 21, 2007

What's News

At the end of the 2005/06 Season things looked bleak. I wrote this analysis of the team at that time. Carolina when on to win the cup and Rod Brind’Amour went on to take his rightful place as a member of the select few who wear the “C” and have won the cup.

The 2006/07 season came with a bang. Fourteen regulars from the 2005/06 team were gone including Todd Bertuzzi, Anson Carter, Dan Cloutier, Alex Auld, Ed Jovanovski, Jarkko Ruutu and Bryan Allen. Brian Burke was let go after 2005/06 and more about that in a moment. Dave Nonis,the new GM, was putting his stamp on the team including the hiring of new coach Alain Vigneault.

The new look Canucks got their major face lift the eve of the 2006 draft which was held in Vancouver. GM Nonis, three days after hiring Vigneault, pull off arguably the largest heist in NHL history. The Florida Panthers were the victim of the crime. Moving to Vancouver were Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round draft pick who turned out to be Sergei Shirokov for Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld. Bertuzzi fizzled in Florida. Auld was released after one year. Allen remains the only roster player the Panthers can show for their fleecing.

The team started slow as could be expected with a new coach, new systems and so many new faces. Come New Years Day the team lumbered in meritocracy. Then caught fire! The climbed from lower middle of the pack to first place in their division and west side third seed in the Stanley Tournament. Along the way Luongo notched 47 wins to set a team record for most in a season. The wins were only a tangible metric of how “Robby Lo” was putting his stamp on the team and endearing himself to the fans. Rumors have it that one well know local hockey blogger even had his name tattooed on her (umm) “body.”

The return to the playoffs was welcome celebration of spring. A hard fought seven game win in round 1 only furthered our delusions of expectations. The series featured a quadruple overtime win which was the longest game in Canucks history and the sixth longest in league history.

The second round brought on Brian Burke’s Anaheim Ducks. The series was much closer than the eventual game five win the Ducks posted on their way out of the west and past Ottawa to the first west coast cup win since – well the Vancouver Millionaires in 1915. Scott Niedermayer lifted the cup for the fourth time, kissed it and passed it brother Rob. The senior brother took his rightful place in the Captains Club.

We choose to ignore the events that actually lead the exit of the 06/07 ‘Nucks. Something about Luongo discussing a perceived penalty while Rob Niedermayer threaded a seeing eye shot into the back of the net in overtime. It was a puck up of the brain fart variety. We never mention it. We ignore it. Luongo is the promised land. He will bring us closer to a potential cup. He has got all the latitude he wants: for now.


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