So, the 2008-09 Vancouver Canucks. Northwest Division champs or Western Conference chumps? Stanley Cup contenders or playoff pretenders?
It’s impossible to know at this stage of the season, but we can be absolutely certain of two things: one, Vancouver can’t be scored upon, not ever, not with Roberto Luongo in net; and, two, Vancouver can’t score, not ever, not with the likes of Alex Burrows and Steve Bernier leading the way.
That’s why the Canucks have surrendered, uh, 25 goals in their first seven games (about three-and-a-half per contest). And that’s why they’ve scored 22 times, led by Ryan Kesler and Burrows with three goals apiece. Bernier, Pavol Demitra and rookie Rick Rypien – is anyone calling him ‘The Ripper’ yet? – each have chipped in with two goals, as have both of the Sedin twins.
Add it all up, and it’s all upside-down in Vancouver, a Bizarro World that would make Seinfeld proud (if he knew anything about hockey). Luongo can’t stop the puck, and the secondary scorers – who weren’t supposed to score at all, if you believed the pre-season naysayers – can’t stop putting the puck in the net.
Through it all, the Canucks have opened the season with a 3-4-0 mark, which is probably right around where they would’ve been if they were playing their traditional no-goals-for, no-goals-against style.
Despite their sub-.500 record, the fact the Canucks are scoring – more importantly, the fact it’s not just Henrik and Daniel doing the damage – is a very good sign in Vancouver.
Luongo, of course, will come around. It’s not like he’s doing that badly. He did shut out Calgary in the season opener; a 6-0 pounding that has been Vancouver’s only home game to this point. Still, we’re used to seeing a lot better than a 3.39 goals-against average and .886 save percentage out of Luongo.
The question is the same as it was before: Can the Canucks’ secondary scorers provide enough offence behind the top line of Two-Sedins-And-Another-Guy?
This column also appears in the Vancouver Metro newspaper.
Sam McCaig’s From The Point column appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Have a point to make with Sam McCaig? You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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