Canucks and Beyond

Top 5 Reasons the Canucks Can Survive Luongo's Injury

11/24/2008 at 3:41pm EST

Darren Eliot at Sports Illustrated named the Vancouver Canucks as one of the most notable surprises of the NHL thus far this season, and he summed the team up this way:

Luongo is obviously the foundation on which the Canucks base their game—being the goaltender captain that he is—yet the team’s play goes beyond their defensive stinginess. Theirs is a hard-charging aggressive team game that is invigorating.

Very true. And that’s why Canucks fans—while understandably drinking heavily these days—need not jump off any bridges.

Here are my Top 5 Reasons the Canucks will survive Luongo’s injury:

1. They’re not as offensively incompetent as people generally like to assume. While their game itself could fairly be accused of looking like dripping paint some nights (but not too often these days, thank god), the team is still tied for 5th in the NHL for goals-scored this season, last I looked.

2. Curtis Sanford is on a roll. Sure, a “roll” is a bit of an exaggeration, but this situation is much much better than it could be. While Sanford spends 98% of his time bench-warming usually, the last two games he’s played… and he’s won. He stopped 45 out of 48 shots between Minnesota and Pittsburgh the last two games—and that’s legitimately a “roll” when you consider how seldom he plays.

3. The Canucks have achieved 5 of their last 7 wins by outscoring their opponents by 2 goals or more. So as much as Luongo was a huge factor, team offense hasn’t been AWOL either.

4. The Sedins and Demitra have found their mojo. Knock on wood that it continues.

5. This team certainly knows how to play defense when it has to. They limited the Penguins to 19 shots against Sanford last game, and while they might not be so lucky against Detroit tonight, it’s a good omen.

Bottom line: the last game that the Canucks lost in regulation was on November 2nd against the Detroit Red Wings whom they face tonight. And that was with Luongo in the net. So while the captain is critically important to this team, it’s safe to say that their achievements are a team-wide effort and not just one man.

The test the Canucks face without Luongo in net, they’ll pass—or fail—as a group.

Update 11:44am PT: Let’s hope my overall optimism is well-founded… Luongo appears to be out for 4-5 weeks.

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