Before we pull the Vancouver Canucks off their four-year throne atop the Northwest Division – because, you know, the Minnesota Wild are, like, sooooooo good now that they actually have a no. 1 defenceman and a scorer who actually wants to play there – we have to breathe. Yet again.
The Score fueled the debate on their Facebook page this morning:
The comments are as you’d expect. Some people just saying “Canucks SUCK!!!” because it makes them feel good, others touting their three-line roll-out (which is, perhaps, still the best in the National Hockey League), and many bringing up the Edmonton Oilers youth revival.
The fact is, nobody’s convinced the Wild are suddenly a great team. They’re a team now, which hasn’t been the case for four years, since they last won the Northwest.
Seems that most people feel like we do… Suter and Parise aren’t a team, and while the Wild have filled their holes, it doesn’t mean they’ve climbed the crevasse. After all, they were like Nortel in 2000 before this. They were dead. Left for rape.
Meanwhile, the Canucks were thriving, regardless of their lack of Cups. And, while many have been claiming that the division was just too easy for the Canucks, most forget that they didn’t just win the Division. They ran away with it.
And, on top of it, their record against high-quality teams outside the Northwest – we’re talking Pittsburgh, Jersey, Philly, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Jose, and Detroit – was better than their record against the Wild, the Avs, or the Flames.
The Wild aren’t the Canucks’ greatest challenge. They’re going to grab a piece of the pie, but that’s not the whole dessert.
Vancouver has to contend with an improved Flames squad, and a Calgary fan base that hates them to their very core, Starbucks tri-foam latte, and all. The Avalanche have vastly improved their roster, they finally have a goaltender, and Gabriel Landeskog is a future Hart Trophy winner.
The Oilers, meanwhile, were winning at a Red Wings-like clip last year until injuries to Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins derailed their ascendancy. Now, with Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz signing, they’ve gotten better even without being bad, when healthy.
The Canucks shouldn’t worry about the Wild. They should worry about everybody.
White Cover Staff
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