Canucks and Beyond

Chapter 1 of 82: The Story of My Progressive Heart Failure

10/05/2007 at 2:31pm EDT

2007-08, Game #1 - Canucks vs Sharks

Line up at the starting block.
Rev up those engines.
Start spinning those tires.

...and FINALLY declare with total heartfelt certainty that, “Yes! We do honestly believe that all the Canucks really needed to add this past summer was Brad Isbister, Byron Ritchie and some new, multi-logo jerseys to make it to the SCF this year!”

Oy… but just keep saying it till you really believe it. And in honor of opening day of Vancouver’s 2007/08 efforts, here are some cheery, mildly-uplifting predictions for the season:

1. Roberto Luongo will be stellar. Might as well start with an easy one.
2. Brad Isbister will get sick of people like me joking about his scoring prowess, so he’s going to PROVE he’s a scoring threat, dammit.
3. Avalanche fans will discover what the average hockey fan really goes through: years of suckage. They think it’s a one-season thing? Ha!
4. The Sharks will not win the Cup this season.
5. Dominik Hasek will never win the Cup again.
6. Mason Raymond will win the Calder.
7. Because it’s Markus Naslund’s final year under contract, he’ll score 60 this year. Just in time for a new contract.
8. Bad NHL karma dictates that Mike Keenan loses Iginla, Phaneuf and Kipper to semi-permanent, crippling injuries by November.
9. Sean Avery will start dating Paris Hilton and a very scary, “private tape” will be leaked. Our eyes will bleed, but at least ESPN will pay attention to the NHL for a week.
10. Canucks fans will be rewarded with a Stanley Cup. If for no other reason than the fact they deserve to feel as smug as fans of other teams.

Okay, so there’s a small chance that I’m not going to be right about all of these… but a girl can dream.

In all seriousness though, there are things to be optimistic about. I mean, we’re always told that defense wins Cups. And geezus, if nothing else, the Canucks have freakin’ defense…

This team that was completely unpredictable to us only a year ago, now has cohesion and added experience. A coach who’s proven himself and a collection of players that managed to accomplish much more than was expected of them last year. Certainly, more than I expected.

Is it a perfect situation? Well, no. Isbister & Co. can do their best, but this is not a team—nor a coaching system—that is ever going to light up a scoreboard. With one-goal games being the norm, nearly every contest will be a hard fight to pull out. (And thus, the cause of my deteriorating mental health over the course of the coming 82 games…)

But they’ve already done some remarkable things with this group, too.

The Canucks scored just 222 goals last season—the fewest among Western Conference playoff teams—but still set franchise records with 49 wins and 105 points en route to their second division title in three seasons.

Starting with Alain Vigneault and ending with Roberto Luongo, there’s a lot of reasons to feel optimistic about this new season.

So, bring it on, San Jose—and to paraphrase that Yankee... Fu#k, I love hockey.

Go Canucks!

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