Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Motivation or Bad Omen?

From the Globe and Mail:

When the Vancouver Canucks stepped onto the Rogers Arena ice Tuesday morning for their pre-game skate, the scoreboard read 5-0 for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Not exactly positive reinforcement, nor a good omen given that the Blackhawks have ended Vancouver’s playoff runs in each of the last two years, with lopsided results in the deciding games.

If it happens again this year, after Vancouver held a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final, than it would represent one of the greatest collapses in NHL history, and perhaps the biggest disappointment in the 40-year history of the Canucks.

They’ve played in two Stanley Cup finals before, but the 2010-11 edition won the Presidents’ Trophy, for finishing first in the overall league standings, and was a Cup favourite for the first time ever.
The last time these two teams played in this arena, in Game 5 on Thursday, the Blackhawks got themselves back into the series with a decisive 5-0 win.

They evened it Sunday with a 4-3 overtime victory, setting up Tuesday’s Game 7, a contest loaded with intrigue.

Key Vancouver players such as goaltender Roberto Luongo, the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler and others are facing a pivotal moment in their careers. Should the Canucks become just the fourth team in league history to blow a 3-0 lead, then questions about their core group and the future of head coach Alain Vigneault will come fast and furious.

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