Stanley Cup Champion and ESPN NHL Analyst Mark Messier praises Vancouver Canucks

Messier appeared on 'The Pat McAfee Show' to talk about how the underdog Canucks are holding their own against the Edmonton Oilers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
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6-time Stanley Cup Champion and ESPN NHL analyst Mark Messier recently appeared on The Pat McAfee Show to share his take on the Vancouver Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup Playoff series.

Messier had previously predicted that Edmonton could make it to the Stanley Cup Finals but admits that they have their "work cut out for them" against a big, strong, and skilled Canucks team who is utilizing a talented but inexperienced third-string goalie. Messier also gave props to Coach Rick Tocchet for preparing the Canucks players for their playoff run.

The series is far from over with the Canucks leading 2-1 and Game 4's puck dropping at 6:30 PM PT on May 14, but Messier says the Oilers have committed too many penalties.

What else Mark Messier said

Messier believes the Oilers have one of their best and most balanced team in years. It is a gritty group with four lines and an improved defense.

However, he said playoff hockey always exposes a team's strengths and weaknesses. A team cannot outscore its mistakes with only eight teams left in the playoffs.

What this means is that virtually no one thought, including Messier, that the Canucks could be competitive with the Oilers in a best-of-seven-game series. Halfway through the series, the Canucks are exceeding expectations so hockey pundits are backtracking on their earlier predictions.

Messier is correct in giving Coach Rick Tocchet credit for keeping this team level-headed, developing their resiliency, and helping maximize his players' talents and confidence.

Edmonton will not be shrinking violets cowering in fear. The drama and physicality of this series are expected to ramp up with each game. The Canucks need to play clean hockey, make smart decisions with the puck, and block out the external noise. Watch Game 4 of the Canucks and Oilers series tonight on ESPN.