When the Vancouver Canucks were swept away by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night, it surely made most Oiler fans smile.
It’s bad enough to have to watch the Canucks win the Northwest division for five straight seasons, but to see them put together a long and often dramatic playoff run is like rubbing salt in the wounds. Our club can’t make the playoffs and aside from the floundering Calgary Flames, seeing the Canucks in a state of turmoil is appeasing to many Oiler fans (who says misery doesn’t love company) .
In the wake of another disappointing season in Edmonton, further misery is often found in the success of the Canucks and having to endure the sickening sight of them having some playoff success. That was up until the past two seasons.
Remember last season when former Oiler Jarrett Stoll ripped a snapshot glove side on Roberto Luongo that sent the Los Angeles Kings to the second round of the playoffs and essentially sent the Canucks packing? Remember how the smirk you had come over your face when you saw the stunned look on the Canucks’ players?
Fast forward to this year and with the two-goalie circus being the focal point of the Canucks season, it’s easy to see why this team was again bounced in the first round. They aren’t the power house they once were and aside from their cup run in the spring of 2011, the Canucks appear to have lost their window to win a championship; at least with this group of players.
Changes are inevitable in Vancouver and it will likely start with head coach Alain Vigneault who will be looking for work. Two first round exits in two straight seasons that had the Canucks ranked number one and number three heading into the playoffs in each of the last two years will be down right unacceptable.
The next move is surely to include Roberto Luongo, providing Mike Gillis can find a trade partner that wants a grossly overpaid netminder who under achieves in the playoffs.
While the Canucks try to piece together what went wrong this year, Oiler fans can smirk knowing we won’t have to watch another spring with our second biggest rival threatening to win the Stanley Cup.
Oiler fans haven’t had a lot to cheer about in the past seven seasons but it helps when both the Flames and Canucks fall flat on their faces. It softens the blow when reminded that Edmonton hasn’t seen the postseason since that miraculous Cup run in the spring of 2006. Has it really been that long? Yes, sadly it has.
The future looks bright in Edmonton and at least for now we have to continue to have hope, as difficult as it’s been lately. But we can rest easy knowing that the Canucks won’t be called Stanley Cup Champions this season and with changes forthcoming, the division could be wide open next year.
To the San Jose Sharks, from the rest of Canada outside of B.C…..thank you!