The Vancouver Canucks have won three straight, and boy are some (most?) of their fans mad about it.
The Canucks — who’d lost nine straight prior to improbably beating the Sharks, Ducks and Kings in consecutive outings — have climbed to 25th in the overall standings, in the process hurting their chances of landing Auston Matthews in the draft lottery.
It’s a funny thing, having your fans cheer against you. But that’s just reality in the NHL, where there’s a clear incentive for non-playoff teams to finish as low as possible in the standings.
Meanwhile, captain Henrik Sedin has a warning for Canucks management.
“I think we have to be really careful to evaluate our team based on the last five, 10 games of the season,” Sedin told Postmedia. “I’ve seen that mistake from other teams. You go into next year thinking you’ve got a good shot at it. We’ve got to remember we’re playing teams getting ready for the playoffs and I don’t see them putting their full, full effort into it.”
Sedin didn’t specifically mention the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he sure could’ve. We all remember how the Jackets finished last season, we all remember the heightened expectations they carried into the current one, and we all know how things turned out.
The Canucks still have major deficiencies. Even with the cap space to sign a notable free agent this summer, and even though key injuries played a role in the team’s failures this season, the club has started to preach patience above all else.
“We’re in a new place,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden told the Globe and Mail recently. “I’ve talked to [ownership] a lot about where we are, about what the future looks like. … They understand this is going to take some time, and the need to be patient.”
Quotes like that represent a marked departure from two years ago when then-new GM Jim Benning called the Canucks a “team we can turn around in a hurry.”
While Vancouver did get back to the playoffs last year, a first-round loss to Calgary showed beyond a doubt that its days as legitimate Stanley Cup contenders were over.