In recent days here at Vancouver Hockey Now we’ve often brought up the word ‘patience’ with this Vancouver Canucks hockey club. The NHL trade deadline remains 48 days away and the team has a sincere interest in making the playoffs. Of course there are no guarantees, but there’s also no reason to do anything rash.
“I’ve learned that these guys want to win,” Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said Tuesday morning. “When you want to win you do things the right way and you pay the price, and we’ve certainly paid the price on numerous occasions.”
The team has also overcome a series of Covid nuisances to put it mildly. The line-up appears to be stabilizing heading into the NHL All-Star break. Tuesday night’s game against the Nashville Predators is pivotal, particularly if the Canucks win it. It would keep the dream alive.
Although still a remarkably tall task, a playoff berth has to remain in the sights of ownership with a series of home games approaching and plenty of time to make personnel decisions. Why not keep the excitement going; it would be irresponsible, poor public relations, and bad business not to provide fans hope.
Which brings us to another of our popular words lately: mandate. Under what mindset is management operating? Simple; it’s read and react. With the luxury of providing an exciting status quo, why not provide it. No pressure to purge at this point. A ‘tweak’ or a ‘re-tool’ will eventually ensue depending on the direction.
It would also be an incredible story should the Vancouver Canucks somehow make it, of the 2018-’19 St. Louis Blues ilk. Great for the franchise, the city and the coach.
“My job is to try and go out there and try to win every game no matter who’s in the line-up,” Boudreau said. “We’ve had some of the best players out of the line-up and you still go out there and you try to win and accomplish your job. The best thing I could do is to make it really difficult for upper management, on if they were to trade people, by winning consistently.
“Nobody has talked to me about any trade possibilities or anything else, I think that’s outside noise coming in. They happen during the course of the year and every team worries about it and players worry about it, but for me, whoever’s on the ice, my job is to coach teams to win and that’s what we’re going to do if we make ten trades or no trades.”
‘Games-in-hand’ is the greatest detriment to the Canucks at the moment as the teams they are chasing have a handful of them. Vancouver sits two points out of the second Western Conference wild card spot but Calgary and Dallas have five and three games-in-hand respectively.
The Canucks are seven points out of the third place position in the Pacific Division with a game-in-hand themselves on the present occupants the Los Angeles Kings. I wouldn’t expect the Kings to stay there. Whether it’s the Oilers, Canucks, or someone else, someone will catch them in the second half.
The Predators don’t factor into the wild card chase at the moment because they’re relatively comfortable in second place in the Central Division with 58 points. That’s an automatic bid. They’re 13-and-7 at home with one of those losses coming to the Canucks exactly two weeks ago.
This will be a feisty affair Tuesday night. Both teams start their All-Star break after the game.