Did it sting when the Vancouver Canucks blew their 3-0 first period lead and eventually fell 7-4 to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night? Sure it did. C’mon, you can admit it. There isn’t one fan base of any NHL team that would like to see their team go out in such a way. But as bitter as that loss may feel to you today, fear not I have good news.
It will make Jim Benning’s decisions easier to stomach when he makes them.
What did the Flames have in this series that the Canucks didn’t have? The answers are a mobile defense and youth.
If the Flames had Captain Mark Giordano right now on that back line to lead the likes of Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman and TJ Brodie, Calgary may be a Cup contender. That defense is always turning up the ice, picking their spots to rush with perfection…at least against Vancouver.
Vancouver’s defense was akin to watching kids rush into a concert. Calgary’s forwards danced the Canucks D on a regular basis and when they weren’t twisting them in knots, they were blowing past them like a broken turnstile.
Vancouver’s youth moment consists of one player, Bo Horvat, who outside players named Sedin was the best player for the Canucks in this series.
When the GM Jim Benning enacts his plan to rid his team of some of the older players on it this summer, don’t be angry. You may have loved Higgins, Bieksa, Burrows, or Hansen, but this team needs to get younger to make way for what is in the juniors and on the farm, and what they can plunder from other teams. In order to get value, you must give value. Other teams value those players.
The moves will not be easy, they never are. But if it makes this team a winner, not one of you will ever complain.