The Vancouver Canucks open their first-round playoff series tonight at Rogers Arena versus the San Jose Sharks, but postseason excitement isn’t exactly sweeping the city.
Among the potential explanations:
—- Playoff fatigue. Unlike, say, Toronto, Vancouver has hosted plenty of postseason games the past few seasons.
—- Tickets aren’t cheap. Better to save up for later rounds, if the Canucks get that far. Speaking of which…
—- Lowered expectations. Confidence in the team was shaken after the loss to the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, and was shaken more after last year’s first-round defeat to the Kings. In 2013, after back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy wins, the Canucks finished eighth overall in the standings.
—- A less entertaining product. Even the Canucks admit they don’t play the same up-tempo brand of hockey anymore.
—- The opponent. The Canucks and Sharks met in the 2011 Western Conference finals, but it wasn’t a particularly memorable series, and there’s not the rivalry with San Jose as there is with a team like Chicago.
—- Lingering resentment over the lockout.
Having said all that, the Canucks are still a major topic of conversation in town. If the result is a good one tonight for the home side, it won’t take long for playoff fever to strike again.
Related: Canucks-Sharks series preview