Wednesday, April 25, 2007

One down, three to go

Elation filled downtown Vancouver as the Canucks dumped the Stars to at last bring a marathon series to end. But what lies in the road ahead? The big, aggressive Anaheim Ducks, a team not unknown to beat its opponent to victory. Whilst this is destined to be a tough series, if they can get through it alive they seem to have a reasonably easy route to the finals. At the conference finals, they would play either San Jose or the Red wings. The Canucks have a winning record against both teams, and a phenomenal record against the Eastern Conference since the lockout. The Ducks also had a considerably easier regular season than the Canucks, playing teams like the Kings or Phoenix so many times its not funny. They're a big, physical team but as long as the Canucks stay out of the box and Bieksa gets his game feet back, the Nucks should pull through. We saw signs of the Canucks' physicality in Game 7 - Pyatt in particular, but that needs to be more of mainstay if the Canucks want to keep their Cup hopes alive. Perhaps it would have made more sense to call up a more physical player like Bourdon or -dare i say it- Goren than the likes of Edler. With a bit of luck, Cooke and Kesler will be back for the second half of the series, and that would give us one amazing checking line (Cooke - Kesler - Pyatt,) not to mention players like Green, Linden and Burrows on the 4th. So while many predict a Ducks win, keep this in mind: the Ducks are a 1 dimensional team - brute size and strength is there only real attribute, but the Canucks are the embodiment of a complete team: rock solid defence, all-star goaltending in Luongo and some ridiculously skilled forwards in the Sedins and Naslund. We also have Captain Canuck, Trevor Linden, fighting for one last chance at Lord Stanley's Cup. Oh yeah, and Sabourin got his first win against the Ducks. Too shay.

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