'The Canucks are screwed!?!!!?'
Apologies for the uncouth headline. But I'm afraid it applies.
As it's widely known, I'm from B.C. (the not-so-rainy part) and once upon a time, the Vancouver Canucks were the team I followed most fervently. Oh, was I fervent. Not quite this fervent — but fervent nonetheless.
On the scale of predicting-the-apocolypse-far-too- quickly, Canucks fans are right up there, and only slightly further from the ledge than members of Leafs Nation. So, when one of Vancouver's best players went down for the count yesterday, the Chicken Littles of the land were out in full force. (For photographic evidence of said injury, see Ed Jovanovski, shown at right in mid-groin strain.)
Some excerpts from random Canucks fanboard No. 1:
- So now everyone knows we are desperate for a goalie and a defenceman. I see 0 trades on the horizon.
- Arrrgh... mah groin hurts....
- Brandon Witt anyone?
- Now we have the cap space to bring back Sopel. :victory
- Now we REALLY need to get another defenseman - even if it's a "rent-a-player". Thanks alot Nonis...for sitting on your *ss - we needed another defenseman BEFORE Jovo was hurt (for depth purposes) - good luck trying to get one now.
- The Return of Lumme? :silly (or maybe Quinn will get him)
- Weinrich is reported to be dealt outta St. Louis, could be a nice addition.
- I was thinking the same thing.
- Bring back Dana Murzyn, Bret Hedican, Jyrki Lumme and Adrian Aucoin.
- Where's Ronning playing these days?
- Last I heard he retired. Wonder if Larry Courville or Sergio Mommesso would come back for 1 season.
- Underrated fighter -> Momesso!
- Ronning is in semi-retirement. He is still a free agent and last I heard (a couple of months ago now) he was still hoping to find his way onto a NHL team.
- Troy Gamble!
- Nathan Lafayette could ring a couple off the post.
Nevermind, I didn't want to see where that was going either.
The fact is, Vancouver's starting six defencemen were a middling group to begin with. Missing Jovanovski is like taking the Orbs of Power out of the Oilers — Cory Cross is there holding the bag. Well, not the bag.
Now starting on defence for your Vancouver Canucks...
- Mattias Ohlund: No qualms here. One of the best there be.
- Sami Salo: He's certainly slowed from the ridiculous pace he was on to start the year, but that's like saying Wacko Jacko has upped the crazy since the 80s. (Although I'm not discounting Wherry's plans for a WJ comeback).
- Bryan Allen: A career year for the big man — although he didn't exactly have Coffeyesque numbers to live up to.
- Nolan Baumgartner: We're starting to see some male pattern thin blueline here. 'Baumer' has had a great year to this point, averaging just more than 16 minutes a game and floating saucer passes on the power play. 20 minutes plus, the kind of time a fourth defenceman needs to log, seems far too much for him, however.
- Kevin Bieksa: If you're saying 'who' right now, you're not one of the 4,168,123 residents of British Columbia.
- Steve McCarthy: There's a reason coach Marc Crawford had only given him 12 minutes a night: He's not that good.
Beyond that, only two other 'defencemen' have played for Vancouver this season — career minor leaguer Sven Butenschon and goon Wade Brookbank (shown at right scoring one of his three NHL goals). Another injury or two, and Crow's going to be looking at calling up the first 'Making the Cut' finalist.
Not that reality show contestants haven't equalled Stanley Cup goodness in the past. :silly
Vancouver's one of a handful of clubs that desperately needed to make a deadline deal in order to really be a threat in the playoffs this season. Should Jovanovski not be ready to go by April, times will be all the more desperate.
And, considering goaltender Dan Cloutier's injury was initially branded a paper cut (only for fans to later find out had been beheaded), I'm skeptical Jovo-Cop is due for only a six-week stint on the IR.
What it all adds up to? An uncouth headline, a rambling entry in the blog and another early playoff exit by your Vancouver Canucks.
Maybe I'll change my hometown to Aylmer. I hear they make good jam there.