While the calendar shows that it is in fact 2010, the feeling today in Vancouver is eerily similar to what it was exactly one year ago after the Canucks were eliminated on Tuesday night in the Western Conference Semifinals by the Chicago Blackhawks.
While the team may not actually clean out their lockers and say their goodbyes for another day, it may well be time for the Canucks to clean out their closets after being embarrassed 5-1 on home ice by their hated rivals.
The stats were not pretty in the elimination game. The Sedin brothers were held pointless and were a combined minus-4 on the night. All-Star netminder and team captain Roberto Luongo allowed five goals while leading playoff sniper Mikael Samuelsson wracked up 14 minutes in penalties in the third period.
Compounding matters was a blueline devastated by injuries. The Canucks were without top shutdown defender Willie Mitchell who had been sidelined since January with concussion issues. While Sami Salo was able to play in Game 6, he was a shell of his normally reliable self as he battled *ahem* a “lower-body” injury. When Alexander Edler went down early in the game after being hammered into the boards by Dustin Byfuglien it forced players such as Shane O'Brien and Andrew Alberts into playing major minutes in roles that they may not have been accustomed to.
When added altogether the equation was another early exit that overshadowed an incredibly successful regular season.
While it may be easy to point fingers, it must also be taken into account that the Chicago Blackhawks were a good, young team that was hungry for success and ready to take the next step after being bounced by the Detroit Red Wings in the Conference finals last year.
So is it simply a case of the better team winning or do the Canucks problems run much deeper?
While the team's management reflects on what went wrong, we want to hear from you. Our question is this: “What was the single biggest factor in the Canucks playoff exit?'
Let your opinions be heard below in our 'Your Call' feature below.