But it'll probably be the only time, so don't get used to it.
They had a great season.
There, I said it.
I hate them with a passion, but I’ll admit they had a great season.
They won the President’s Trophy as the winningest team of the regular season and made it through some tough opponents to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. You can’t debate that they were a good hockey team.
And they might have won it, too—but whether you like it or not (and I don’t, in case you’re wondering) the officiating changes in the NHL playoffs, and designing your team to have skill and finesse and a solid powerplay because that skill and finesse draws penalties from opposing teams will not win you a Stanley Cup.
The “let them play” attitude of officials in the playoffs changes the game, and for teams like the Canucks—or my Oilers not so long ago—that are designed to draw penalties with quickness and agility, this change is not only unwelcome, but insurmountable.
In the case of the 2010/11 Vancouver Canucks, they tried to draw penalties by flopping all over the ice like soccer players whenever they were touched, which only encouraged the officials to keep their whistles in their pockets—admittedly keeping them from calling deserved penalties on occasion.
The Canucks frustration at not accomplishing anything positive with this tactic led them to take undisciplined penalties themselves.
If officiating was consistent from game one of the regular season to game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, the Canucks probably would likely be passing that trophy around—as much as it pains me to say that.
But it isn’t. And teams should know that by now.
You have to build a playoff team and try to make the playoffs to take advantage of it.
That’s what the Boston Bruins did.
But Vancouver will see the cup on its tour. Unfortunately for Canucks fans it will be in the hands of Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins—the type of player that helps win you a Stanley Cup with his grit and determination.
Good year, Canucks. But the season changes when the playoffs start, and you should know that by now—especially considering the last few years.