Friday, September 01, 2006
The Canucks join the Flyers and Senators (probably although I guess never say never) as teams who showed a lot of promise but never got to the top of the mountain.
The window is almost closed and for the Canucks, it probably is.
The defining moments for this team. Blowing a 3-1 lead to a Minnesota Wild team that looked like the 78 Habs by the end of that collapse, blowing by bewildered Canuck defenders as they filled Cloutier. And the Bertuzzi/Moore incident. That team, demoralized, fell to the Flames in 7.
Last season, racked by injuries, they fell short of the playoffs completely.
Now Cloutier is gone. So is Jovo. And Bertuzzi. And Marc Crawford as well.
With Alain Vigneault behind the bench, the addition of hard rock Willie Mitchell and star stopper Roberto Luongo this team is remaking itself, at least partially, as a defence first outfit.
Jan Bulis is a nice addition and will probably replace Anson Carter's 33 goals. Or close to it anyhow.
I think the Canucks get in - they were in last year if they had not suffered injuries that knocked out Jovo, Salo, Ohlund and Cloutier for extended periods, never mind hobbling Naslund and Morrison for most of the season.
And the Bertuzzi circus is long gone.
This team is not dropping to 11th. They are better then LA, Phoenix, Columbus, Minnesota, Dallas and maybe one or two more that THN picks ahead of them.
Dave Nonis' problem. He has no room under the cap and a startling lack of depth at every position. If Bulis produces then they have five forwards instead of six they can depend upon for offence.
Cooke, Pyatt, Chouinard, Kesler - they have some role players.
But if guys get racked up - say Ohlund and Salo go down here and there for a few weeks. Or Morrison.
Nonis just doesn't have that wiggle room to add bodies.
Having said that, I think reports of the Canucks' demise are premature.
But unless Krajicek is a player and some of these youngsters can contribute - Bourdon being one of them (unlikely), I see them as in and gone. Maybe Luongo steals a round. But that's all.
Posted by Black Dog at 11:30 AM