Tomorrow marks another start of the NHL regular season, bringing professional ice hockey back into the limelight for North America. Sports writers, bloggers, and plain old regular folk have been trying to predict which teams will do best in the upcoming season. The local professional ice hockey team in my city, the Vancouver Canucks, have been penciled in by many as the best team in Canada and the best team in the Western Conference. Some even go as far as saying they are the favourites to win the whole thing, the ever elusive Stanley Cup.
While I agree that the team looks good on paper, I get quite frustrated when I read such lofty predictions for those Canuckleheads. It leads less informed fans to think that the Vancouver team can do no wrong this season. In reality, this year’s version of the Canucks retains that special ability that every other past Canuck team had. It is that special ability to play like crap even when everyone else thinks they should be playing great. I’ve seen it before time and time again, and this year will not be different. I don’t care if the players are different, they’ll find a way to let the wheels fall off at the most inopportune time.
The other thing to consider is how well the Canucks play in the playoffs. They haven’t been able to escape past the second round since 1994. It doesn’t really matter how good your regular season was once the playoffs start. No one cares about that. What good is 100+ point regular season campaigns when that doesn’t translate into playoff success?
The Canucks will play their first regular season game on Saturday with high expectations. I hope they live up to them.