I keep checking the Calender to see if it is April 1, waiting for a loud out-burst of laughter. I continue thinking that I'm on the T.V.Show PUNKED. But I then realize that Dave Nonis is the GM of the Vancouver Canucks. And he is cutting this team apart like a five year old with scissors in art class. Was the Canucks missing the play-offs worth disbanding the team. They did actually win more regular season games that the Edmonton Oilers. And had a large amount of injury time (Cloutier,Jovanoski,Cooke,Salo)
06-07 Season Watch out for Florida
And Most Important Farewell and Thank you 44
It's easy to think that last season was just one bad season, and getting rid of Marc Crawford was the answer, but truthfully it's not. Dave Nonis should be commended for doing a few things:
1. Doing something about goaltending. For too long, Vancouver has 'accepted' decent goaltending (Cloutier/Auld) but not GREAT goaltending. Great goaltending wins you Stanley Cups. Decent/Good goaltending in the regular season leads to bad goals at all the wrong times (Cloutier - Detroit series/Minnesota Game 7). In addition, having a new coach who hopefully understands the concept that a backup goalie can add value to a team will hopefully help as well. With Luongo, we may never know though.
2. Willing to change the makeup/chemistry in the dressing room. Say what you will about Bert's presence (good or bad) - it wasn't working. The team needed a facelift.
How much of a facelift? Hopefully not too much. By adding Luongo (even for one season - but hopefully many more), the Canucks could potentially be serious Cup contenders. Before anyone disagrees with me, remember that the Edmonton Oilers MISSED the Stanley Cup Playoffs the season before their recent cup run. What else do they need?
1. Ed Jovanovski (if they can afford him) or a decent defenseman or two to add depth (3/4 defensemen) to support Ohlund and Salo. If they add the Florida kid they just traded for (forgot his name), Bourdon (remember he is still young but he has great size and skill), Bieksa as a #5/6 and Brown for depth, this defense could work. Regardless of whether they sign Jovanovski, they do need to sign a decent defenseman (or two). The trick may be watching how other team's defenses are affected by free-agent signings. Nonis may want to be patient and not try to sign the first free agent out there. He may want to wait and even trade for a quality defenseman affected by a free agent signing (though with FA signing he wouldn't have to give up a player).
2. Character veterans. The dressing room MISSED a few hard-nosed veterans to call out the floaters last season. They missed a (fill in the blank) "Brad May/Trent Klatt/Mike Keane" type player. Richard Park/Josh Green/etc. took up one or two of those spots. Time to bring in a warrior or two who will come in handy in the playoffs.
Above all - Nonis should be careful not to tinker with the chemistry too much. I doubt he would do that. The worst thing to do is completely overhaul the team (ie. Mike Keenan's style). A new coach, a new goalie, upgrade the defense with better speed on the back-end, a character veteran who has won the Cup before, and someone to at least replace some of Bertuzzi's 71 points would be nice.