The NHL trade deadline has come and gone but you might not know that given the Canucks’ current roster. The swap of Matts (Cooke for Pettinger) with Washington left Vancouver’s lineup virtually untouched for the stretch drive, which means a lengthy run at the playoffs is much more likely than a lengthy playoff run.
The Canucks will need to scratch and claw just to get into the post-season since Dave Nonis did not address the club’s most pressing need: scoring. At this point, there’s no evidence to suggest that the Canucks will be able to generate the requisite offence needed to knock off teams like Anaheim, Dallas, Detroit or San Jose, all of which got stronger since last season.
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Yes, Roberto Luongo could slam the door completely on any of the aforementioned teams, but even the most staunch Canucks’ supporters would label the locals “underdogs” in any of those series. The disappointment in ‘Canuck Nation’ is understandable considering Nonis verbalized the need for more scoring nine months ago, but was unable to deliver it.
It’s become increasingly apparent that management of this club feels the best shot to win during the Roberto Luongo Era is next season because this year’s squad is in no better position than it was last year to make a serious run for Lord Stanley’s mug.
•Vancouverites weren’t the only ones shaking their heads after Tuesday’s trade deadline. Montreal GM Bob Gainey not only lost out to Pittsburgh on the Marian Hossa sweepstakes, he dealt half of his goaltending tandem for just a 2nd round draft pick in 2009. Gainey and Guy Carbonneau may have given Carey Price the nod in the playoffs anyway, but to get rid of a veteran keeper that has a good relationship with your rookie puck-stopper seems a bit bizarre given the return.
Especially when you consider defenceman Hal Gill fetched both a 2nd and 5th rounder at the deadline.
•Good decision by the Ottawa Senators to fire John Paddock yesterday. Not that I want any man to lose his job, but it’s clear that it just wasn’t working under Paddock.
GM Bryan Murray is a big believer in the “passionate coaches produce passionate teams” philosophy, and Paddock appeared devoid of life behind the Senators’ bench. Murray reassumes the role that he held during Ottawa’s run to the Cup Finals last season, and at this point of the season that might be the only thing that gets the Sens back on track, particularly if he can persuade Ray Emery to start stopping more pucks than police cars.