But are you actually, legitimately excited about this team winning just enough games to stay in the playoff race? I have to admit, I’m not. And that is despite the fact that I hate few things more than losing.
“Sometimes you hear if you accept being average, you’ll only be average,” said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins before his team’s game in Philadelphia on Thursday. “Bo Horvat can’t accept being average. He just can’t accept it. He wants more than that. As a result he’s pushing himself every game and every practice and that’s why he’s getting better.”
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Bo Horvat is the Vancouver Canucks’ next captain. He just has to be.
Talent only takes you so far. There are several players every year who experience talent alone won’t be enough to achieve their dreams. Pro sports are a tough business to be in, and you have to work hard every minute to get to where you want to be.
Barring any major surprises, the Canucks will finally enter a full-on rebuild very soon. With that, the Canucks’ average age will go down and we might one day see a lineup that includes six rookies, four second-year pros and five third-years.
For those players, it will be extremely important to have someone to look up to. Someone who did what those kids will be trying to do. They will need someone to show them what playing in the NHL means, and what it takes to stay there.
Reading Kyle Phillippi’s piece and others before, Bo Horvat seems to be the perfect guy for the job.
The scoresheet claims that Tryamkin had only 5 hits, but the real number is probably twice that.
Either way, this game did not have much going for it for most of it, other than the big man’s big hits
Will Nikita Tryamkin become Zdeno Chara 2.0? Man, I don’t know.
What I do know is that Tuesday’s match-up against the Nashville Predators was another outstanding showing that proved Tryamkin has outstanding potential. For the first time this season, Tryamkin did what fans want to see from him: He hit just about everything that moved.
That, along with his ability to read the play and react accordingly, making the right decisions, and having the skill to execute them, showed us that Tryamkin can without a doubt be a top-four two-way player at the NHL level. At least one day.
Chara is one of the NHL’s best D-men of all time, so I really don’t want to go there yet. But it seems like Tryamkin has all the tools, so… We’ll find out.
Fans and pundits have spent countless hours discussing the topic of tanking, the merits and drawbacks, and whether or not it compromises the integrity of the game, so much so that the NHL felt the need to change the draft lottery odds to dissuade teams from purposefully icing a sub-par lineup.
All that has really served to distract from the larger picture of what it means to be in a rebuild: it’s not so much a race to the bottom as it is the ability to recognize when your team will be in its competitive window and planning accordingly.
Another thing I have said before and will say again: The Canucks need to understand the situation they are in and go into full-on rebuild mode.
Now, rebuilding does not equal tanking. Rather, it means selling veterans that don’t hold much value for the future and collect draft picks in return. The process isn’t easy, but initiating it is.
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There is no point in adding more and more veterans in their thirties in desperate attempts to make the playoffs. Because, as explained by Jackson McDonald, that approach can really hurt the club in the long term.
At the end of the day, the Canucks could become a team with no star players and no high draft picks or elite prospects. They could end up finishing at the bottom of the standings for many, many years — kind of like the Edmonton Oilers did over the past years.
Sure, the Oilers ended up getting Connor McDavid, who has a shot at becoming the best NHL player of all time. But there are no guarantees for other teams who are doing the same thing.