It’s kind of remarkable that the Vancouver Canucks aren’t the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference for the 2013 NHL Playoffs and instead have the No. 3 seed as winners of the Northwest Division. The number two is significant for the Canucks for a couple of reasons. Two twin brothers, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, have been the offensive leaders and identity of this team for some time. Two accomplished goalies, Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, have provided soap-opera fodder for the fans, with Luongo basically spending the entire season on the trading block despite (or due to) his pedigree and contract. Schneider has performed well despite the massive shadow just over his shoulder and stands to continue as the primary goalie when this team tries once again for the Stanley Cup in 2013.
And the dagger version of the number two, the one that keeps even the most optimistic Canucks fan up at night, are the two straight President’s Trophies earned in the last two seasons; unfortunately, the hardware collection doesn’t include a Stanley Cup from either of those years. Two years ago, the Canucks suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. Riots literally ensued. Last season, the top-seeded Canucks were swept out of the first round by the upstart – and later Stanley Cup winning – Los Angeles Kings. Is the fact that the Prez Trophy will be won by the Blackhawks or Penguins a blessing in disguise? Will the late season charge to overcome the Minnesota Wild and win the division bode well for the grittiness needed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Only time will tell. If Vancouver can bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada, they’ll earn a year-long grace period. Maybe even two.