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02-08-2013, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by vadim sharifijanov View Post
to me the canucks' dark ages are everything between the opening of GM place (the failed mogilny + bure experiment) and when luongo came over (which also coincides with the sedins taking over as the go-to scorers from naslund). but those of you who follow my posts probably all know how i feel about the nastuzzi era.
My opinion of the "dark ages" is a bit different from yours, I suppose. Though the Sedin line was only decent during the years between 2000-2004, the top line was dominant, becoming one of the most dynamic lines in the NHL during the early 2000s. The bottom six consisting of such players as Cooke, Linden, May, and Ruutu brought grit and character to the team, and the team's defense consisted of Ohlund, Jovanovski, Salo, Sopel, amongst others. The team consistently battled fiercely with their rivals, some of the NHL's top teams: Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, and the Ottawa Senators, for example. This was, in my opinion, a tremendous era in the team's history, held back only by Brian Burke's struggle to find an adequate goaltender.

I would argue the first few years with Roberto Luongo were not as great as one might recall. Though Luongo played excellent and proved he could steal games all season (in his first year), the lineup lacked offense. Alain Vigneault's decision to implement a defensive dump-and-chase system did not bode well for the team's veterans from the previous era, and Markus Naslund's production declined as a result of having lost his confidence and his license to play offensively and creatively. The Canucks were actively looking for winger for the Sedins (until they settled on using Pyatt there), and the second line of Naslund-Morrison-Bulis/Cooke was not a success. Most games were one-goal games with the Canucks playing a strict defensive style in order to win. The team allowed the Stars to nearly win the first round of the playoffs despite the latter having trailed 3-1 in the series. The series against the Ducks was abysmal, and the goal allowed by Luongo in Game 5 OT was the first sign of controversy surrounding Luongo over the next few years.

The following season, the team fell apart as a result of injuries, and many of the team's defensemen were sidelined at some point; Mike Weaver had to play big minutes for the team for a certain stretch during the season, and such players as Nathan McIver had to dress as well. Meanwhile, troubles with Naslund and AV continued; Trevor Linden, on the other hand, was benched most of the year in favor of Ryan Shannon, Matt Pettinger, Brad Isbister, and other such fourth line players. Kevin Bieksa suffered a season-ending calf laceration in November. At the All-Star break, Luongo had decided to take the week off due to the impending birth of his first child; however, when he returned to the lineup, he fell apart and played horrifically. The team also struggled, the Sedins could not score, and the Canucks missed the playoffs after losing 7 of their last 8 games. The third line consisting of Burrows and Kesler was not an offensive force yet; the two were only considered a defensive tandem at the time.

The Canucks, during that last stretch of the 2007-08 season, only needed to play .500 hockey to secure a playoff berth. We saw Roberto's reaction -- he was in tears. Meanwhile, Trevor had his final sendoff in his last game, with Markus in the shadows. Every time Naslund touched the puck, he was booed as he had now become the enemy. It was despicable on the part of Canucks fans. The team also never said goodbye to Brendan Morrison, as he had been injured for most of the season and seemed to quietly leave the city. Despite being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, Roberto still started the final game of the season, having already logged 73 games that year and not allowing his backup to have that game. He let in several goals in the first period and was pulled. The Luc Bourdon tragedy occurred only a month later. Dave Nonis was fired that offseason, having continually made unremarkable signings and bringing in depth players throughout his time as the team's general manager. Fans, at this point, felt the team had to rebuild and start over.

If anything, I feel the first few years of Luongo's tenure were much bleaker than the West Coast Express era. It's not an era I remember fondly. I only feel the team began to gain momentum the year after, once Mats Sundin and Pavol Demitra were able to mentor the team and help them succeed. That was the year Kesler and Burrows found their game, and the team's young players began to find their game.

Last edited by JetsAlternate: 02-08-2013 at 05:41 PM.
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