Survival Tip #3: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Yes, the Vancouver Canucks enter the break on a two-game losing streak. Yes, they are the eighth-worst team in the NHL at the All-Star Break. Yes, the Pacific Division is starting to look stronger with the emergence of the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks.
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But Vancouver has all the right reasons to believe that life after the All-Stars will be better than life before the All-Stars.
Top-four defenceman Dan Hamhuis will be back. Captain Henrik Sedin will be back. Brandon Sutter will find his rhythm. Sooner rather than later, the lineup will look a heck of a lot better. With Sutter back, the argument can be made that the Canucks have second-line centres. A one-two punch of Sutter and Horvat will be a huge boost to Vancouver.
Whatever the Canucks plan to do with Hamhuis or end up doing with him, it will be a boost. If he gets traded after a few games, so be it. There is an asset (hopefully) coming back. If he stays? Great. That much more chance of making the playoffs.
Another source of light at the end of the tunnel is for Brandon Prust. Hopefully by the end of the break, Prust finds himself a new home and the Canucks have themselves an extra roster spot as well as some breathing room under the salary cap.
It has been well documented on this site how the schedule is bound to help the Canucks get into the playoffs. So who is the first opponent the Canucks will face out of the break? The Columbus Blue Jackets. It should be a game that revives the Canucks’ confidence in themselves after the break.
It should serve all Vancouverites well to look forward to the potential of the Canucks squad heading into the final stretches of the season.
Next: The Bottom Line