NHL Playoff Odds: Canucks Favored to Win Stanley Cup
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 4/13/2011
The Vancouver Canucks have had a torturous franchise history. Since coming into the NHL in 1970, they’ve been to the Stanley Cup finals twice, in 1982 and 1994, and those have been the two big highlights. Which is rather sad, since they lost on both occasions.
No wonder Canucks fans are so excited that Bodog is giving Vancouver 3/1 odds to win the 2011 Stanley Cup, followed by Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals (11/2) and the San Jose Sharks (7/1). It’s been tough sledding being a lifelong Vancouver hockey fan, and heading into the playoffs as the favorite is a unique experience.
The Canucks were horrendously bad for the first 20 years of their existence and were known at the time to be one of the least successful pro sports teams in North America, right up there with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Mariners. Or should I say down there.
They had some good teams in the early 1990s that coincided with the arrival of Pavel Bure, but they still couldn’t get over the hump. In 1994, they took the Rangers to Game 7 of the finals but fell just short at Madison Square Garden.
More dark times followed later in the decade, but at the turn of the millennium things started to look up again with the formation of the West Coast Express line, featuring Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison. Many considered it to be the best line in hockey.
Thanks to the West Coast Express, the Canucks had a great chance to go deep in the 2003 playoffs but blew a 3-1 series lead to the Minnesota Wild in the second round.
The following year represented another opportunity to break the Stanley Cup drought. Until Bertuzzi attacked Colorado’s Steve Moore and was suspended for the playoffs.
And that was pretty much it for the West Coast Express’s dominance. It was never the same after the Moore incident.
Flash forward to the present and the Canucks are once again in position to win it all. They finished with the most points in the 2010-11 regular season, capturing the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history.
Vancouver has two superstar forwards in Henrik Sedin and his twin brother, Daniel. They’ve got Ryan Kesler, who’s on the verge of superstardom. And they’ve got a goalie in Roberto Luongo who’s playing the best hockey of his career heading into the postseason. Add to the equation six quality defensemen who can move the puck and you’ve got what many Canucks fans are calling the best team in franchise history.
Of course, they haven’t done anything yet. The Canucks drew the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. The ‘Hawks have eliminated the Canucks in consecutive postseasons, but lost a number of players in the offseason and barely squeaked in to the playoffs.
Is this finally the year for the Canucks? We’re about to find out.
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