PRELUDE TO PLAYOFFS

Every year that the local professional ice hockey team makes the playoffs, I try to make an even and balanced prediction as to how well I think they will fare in each round. The 2010 edition of the Vancouver Canucks have made the playoffs. It’s still too early for me to look into my crystal ball as the season isn’t even over yet and their first round opponent can’t even be calculated.

I do have a few concerns though. I hate to be a party-pooper but the chances of the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup this year are not good. I’ve watched hockey long enough to know what teams look like serious contenders and what teams, while good, don’t have all the necessary pieces.

Let’s just get goaltending right out of the way. A serious contender has a goalie that will steal not one but several games during a playoff run. Canucks goalie, Roberto Luongo has played inconsistent at best since the Olympic break. He’s never strung together more than two somewhat decent performances together since he won the gold medal. There’s a chance he might get his act together in the three remaining regular season games but he’s given no one any indication why that might actually happen.

The other thing that is worrisome for Canucks fans is their defense. One of the top d-men, Willie Mitchell has been in the past relied upon to shut down the best players on the other team. Mitchell has been out of the lineup with concussion problems for months now and isn’t even practicing with the team. It’s almost assured he’ll miss whatever playoffs the Canucks have. Their current number one dude on the blueline, Christian Ehrhoff, has a wonky knee now as of the last game. Canucks staff say he should be fine for the playoffs but who really knows if they’re telling the truth. In the meantime, they have players like Andrew Alberts filling in. No offense to Alberts (he makes more money in one game than I do in a year) but he’s gonna look silly out there against playoff calibre teams.

I don’t want to be all negative as the playoffs are about to begin but fans have to face reality here. I’ll never be one of those guys that every year, without fail, say they’re sure the Canucks are gonna win the Cup this time around.

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