It’s always darkest before the dawn. You know what I mean?
Canucks fans, enjoy this moment. Enjoy this month. These are the good times – that instant where everything’s in front of you, like the morning where you wake up on some tropical vacation and aren’t hungover, like when you pay your first toll at the beginning of a long road trip, like when you find a parking spot downtown and realize, “Yes, I do have the change to pay for it, and it’s free after 10 p.m.”
Vancouver, know that between Willie Desjardins, Dan Bylsma, and Mike Johnston, you’re getting a coach you should be thrilled to have. You could play Plinko with only their three slightly confused faces at the bottom – you’ve seen how NHL coaches look in their head shots, right? – and the chip would always land on a JACKPOT.
Florida and Pittsburgh could siphon away two of the three, and you’d still be left with a guy that – hell, if this were last year – would have been your first choice. (Come to think of it, why weren’t the Canucks pursuing Desjardins or Johnston last year? Well, it would have been a waste anyway.)
(And yes, at the time I’m writing this, it seems all but certain that Willie Desjardins will be our new head coach.)
Sure, your team needs work, but you’ve got a yeoman in new general manager Jim Benning and the people-person of all people-persons in new president Trevor Linden. They’ll make mistakes… of course they will. But who cares? You can trust either of those guys to make the decision that a) makes the most sense, or b) is a well-thought-out one with some logic and honesty behind it. There was zip of that with the Gillis regime. It was all hunches and instincts and a brave poker face in the first three years, and it works out. (That strategy works out in real poker, too.) But then the other players started to get serious, and you were left with house money across the table from guys who’d been there before, won this before, and beaten you along the way.
Maybe 6th overall isn’t the best pick. But hey, who’s poo-pooing it? Sam Reinhart, Sam Bennett, Aaron Ekblad, and Leon Draisaitl will be gone by the time the clock comes to the Canucks, but between William Nylander, Michael Dal Colle, Nikolaj Ehlers, Nick Ritchie, Jake Virtanen, Robby Fabbri, and even Haydn Fleury, we’re getting someone can can finally covet. We don’t have to do that thing we’ve done for our last 15 first rounds, where we go on YouTube after the Canucks pick a Jordan Schroeder or a Patrick White or a Nicklas Jensen, and then we convince ourselves he’s as good as whatever stud Anaheim or L.A. stole just before or after us.
Know that Ryan Kesler is doing us a favour. We won’t win a Cup with him, and he won’t win a Cup with us. Move on, give him a well-earned applause, and start planning for tomorrow, not yesterday.
Know that, even though our core is a little older than we might like, you won’t find two better people in the game today (or any day) than Daniel and Henrik Sedin. And know that they’ll play until they’re told to stop, and they’ll work their ass off to be the best playmakers on the ice, as they’ve done their entire career.
Know that it really does suck to have said goodbye to Raffi Torres, Cody Hodgson, Christian Ehrhoff, and Manny Malhotra all at the wrong times, and know that the David Booth experiment and the Schneider-Luongo stalemate were colossal, illogical failures.
Know these things so we can learn from these things.
Vancouver, it’s going to be okay. Your Canucks will be fine.