Canucks and Beyond

Re-Learning Canucks Hockey

02/23/2011 at 9:21pm EST

(Prologue: So, to explain my MIA, I had that baby last March and then I took my sweet time reading the “How To” manual for her… but I think maybe I’ve got that girl all figured out so now I’m back. To all of you out there who used to visit my little column and exchanged notes with me, I’ve missed you! I hope all is well!)

To start, I have to admit that I don’t know much about these Vancouver Canucks nowadays, and might need a little re-education, ergo opinions are very welcome. So here’s the first problem I’ve had in figuring out all the changes in the last year or so: I keep hearing phrases like “class of the NHL” and “Alain Vigneault is the greatest” and so on.

Lordy, it’s ramblings like this that makes a long-time fan very nervous. I know that sounds pessimistic, but sweet geezus, I’m a Canucks fan… pessimism is my freakin’ JOB.

First off, “class of the NHL” seems like Murphy’s Law code-speak for “let’s get swept out in the first round of the playoffs”; and frankly, Vigneault being described as anything but the devil makes me wonder about the intellectual collapse of the Canucks fan base.

But. I guess 85 points in February doesn’t lie. How did that happen?

As a bystander who’s spent most of the last year proudly mothering a tiny little terrorist and reading books like “Parenting for Complete Idiots”, I’m admittedly out of the loop, but even I can see there’s been a few obvious factors at work. Like Ryan Kesler and the Sedins play going to the next level the past year or so. And then there’s those new guys, Torres, Malhotra, etc, etc. But about those new guys… clearly there were a slew of pretty slick additions to this team. So what I’m wondering is if Vigneault is really the Jack Adams everyone tells me his is, or would it be Mike Gillis (*ugh*) that deserves the credit?

It’s like a chicken-and-egg argument, I think. Whether Vigneault made them better, or the players made him look better. I realize this is an oversimplification, but it’s an argument that was constant in Vancouver during the days of the West Coast Express, if, god forbid, anyone would dare praise Marc Crawford. (And as I recall, I don’t remember many of y’all being too fond of Crawford!)

So that’s where I’m at, just trying to understand why this team has done so well during my absence, and who I ought to credit for it.

If it’s Vigneault, then you have my word: I’ll take all the pins out of that voodoo doll.

Eventually.

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