Canuck supporters have been trying to predict what the team is going to do on the ice in 2014/15 before pre-season even began. The lineup has been scrutinized in every area top to bottom, as though looking for lost Inca gold.
There was an almost even split between the naysayers, who had the Canucks somewhere near the bottom of the league, and the optimists, who were willing to actually let them play before declaring the season a lost cause.
And those that have been patient enough to wait and see what develops have been rewarded, because that will be the key to the whole season if you are a fan of the Blue and Green. Patience.
There have been ups and downs so far for sure, but that should have been expected. 1/3 of the team wasn’t here last year, including the coach, so there is certainly going to be an adjustment period.
But when you have as much turnover as the Canucks have had, a little adversity is good. And when it has arisen, Vancouver have responded like winners.
There have been a couple blowout losses to Dallas and Colorado that weren’t pleasant to watch, but they followed those games up with much better performances, and in both cases won the following game.
For the most part, it’s been bad periods or shifts, as opposed to entirely bad games, and considering the off season that took place in Vancouver, you really couldn’t hope for more.
And this is what Canuck fans should expect for the rest of the year. Ups and downs, a few blowout games here and there, but overall a consistent effort every night.
Overall, I would say that the season at this early juncture has produced far more highs than lows, and nearly every player has already performed better than last year’s annus horribilis.
The Sedins have renewed confidence and look much more like the Daniel and Henrik we are used to seeing, and have blended wonderfully with Radim Vrbata. They’ve combined to form a solid top line and have rejuvenated the powerplay.
Vrbata so far has been the best pick up the Canucks have made in years, looking every bit like the sniper he was a couple years ago in Phoenix.
Ryan Miller, who for some reason didn’t inspire faith in large numbers, is currently tied for 1st place for wins by a goaltender.
No one is suggesting that the Western Conference all-star team will be made up entirely of Canucks, because there have been some glitches for sure.
Miller has let in some bad goals, and had bad games. But he’s also shown his mental composure by following bad games with very good ones, making some terrific stops along the way.
Bad penalties have hurt them a few times, essentially costing them a game against Tampa Bay that they were playing very well in and should have won.
But this kind of back and forth will continue, probably for the season.
Some bad goals, then some big saves. Someone like Burrows shows he’s still a player in this league, then takes a bad penalty. A guy like Sbisa is a -4 and awful one night, then scores the game winning goal the next.
Ebb and flow, some positive mixed with some negative. But the coach doesn’t panic so neither should you. This season is already a huge improvement over last year, and we are only at the 10 game mark.
Expect a few speed bumps, but don’t assume they will turn into roadblocks. There is a lot of entertaining hockey left and few more losses sure to come. But draw strength from the fact that the Canucks have set goals they are determined to achieve. All it takes is patience.
Darrin Hayes is a regular contributor for the Vancouver Canucks on TheHockeyWriters.com. Follow Darrin on Twitter @HayesTHW or on Facebook via TheHockeyWriters fan page.