Lack of postgame updates, I know. Bad blogger, no Wordpress plugins for you!
I did want to write a Canucks blog post now, though. Last night’s game was probably the best possible way to end the regular season. The Canucks were able to put another, similar game behind them when they were mercy killed by the Flames 2 seasons ago, a game in which the Flames were looking to ensure Iginla hit the 50 goal plateau. It stung back then, especially since the Canucks were on the outside looking in, so it was great that this team was able to exorcise that.
And look at how they did it, too. Last night’s game really only had one objective for the Canucks: get the puck to Henrik and help him out with the Art Ross.
The great thing is that Henrik and the Canucks responded in the way the fans were hoping for. As was mentioned numerous times in the telecast last night, past history had the Canucks faithful looking really pessimistic. Who could forget Markus Naslund’s frittering away the scoring race on the last game of the season and his subsequent ‘We choked’ address to the folks at GM Place?
But last night was different and really speaks to the dynamic of this Canucks squad. Back when Naslund was the captain and was part of the West Coast Express, the Canucks really were a top heavy, one line squad. They were defined as separate parts working together: the big and strong Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund being the sniper and Brendan Morrison being the quick and hardworking centerman.
It’s a different dynamic from the Sedins and Burrows, whose game relies on them working together and playing the same style of game. That reliance on each other has led to banner seasons for Burrows, who is producing numbers no one would’ve thought possible, and Mikael Samuelsson, who played quite a bit with the Sedins on the powerplay. It led to the Canucks scoring the second most amount of goals in the NHL, behind only Ovechkin. It led to the Canucks having a top 5 powerplay this season and with numerous players having career seasons offensively.
I don’t think it would’ve happened with the old WCE. Just as the Sedins game is so much more effective because they lean on each other, I think the Canucks are so much more effective because they work and win together as a unit. It was best encapsulated in last night’s game when Kevin Bieksa looked like he had walked in on his parents doing the nasty after scoring. The team wanted Henrik to win and they were doing everything in their power to help him out, just as he’s helped out his own teammates.
That it led to an Art Ross trophy is amazing, although I would’ve been happy if Henrik had ‘just’ surpassed Pavel Bure’s 92-93 season totals and planted himself atop the Canucks scoring heap. The point I’m trying to make would’ve had the same significance, although it would’ve been lost to the rest of the NHL.
The Art Ross should mean as much to Henrik Sedin as it does to every other member of the Canucks. Ken Campbell’s ’secondary assists’ argument be damned.
History is being made, and it’s being made by the Vancouver Canucks. Bring on the playoffs!