PrintPrint

Your! Call: Where's the starting point to improve the Canucks?

Danny Celia, TSN.ca

5/8/2013 3:52:40 PM

The Vancouver Canucks are heading into the offseason facing plenty of questions after their second straight first-round exit.

The Canucks were swept from the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday - for the fourth time in franchise history - after falling to the San Jose Sharks in overtime.

And that's the tip of the iceberg that's been the club's last couple of seasons.

The Canucks have lost 10 of their past 11 playoff games since taking a 3-2 lead over Boston in the 2011 Stanley Cup final. They lost the final two games of that series to the Bruins to miss out on the first title in franchise history. Vancouver then fell in five games as the top seed in the Western Conference to eventual champion Los Angeles in the first round last year before this spring's quick exit.

"This year, this is not the way we wanted to end," Henrik Sedin told reporters on Tuesday night. "It was almost like we were a first time playoff team going to the box too many times. A lot of guys have been together for a long time. It's very disappointing because you only have so many chances."

And if they want another chance next season - to improve and contend for the Cup once more - where's the starting point?

Many are saying that the Canucks have reached the crossroads, where questions must be asked about the future of the organization. Should it be a rebuilding effort this summer - or a simple retooling effort?

Up front, they have scored just 17 goals in their last 13 playoff games with nothing from the Sedins. And 11 of them were losses.

Is it time to bring in a new team behind the bench and in the front office? Head coach Alain Vigneault's playoff record has dropped to 33-35 - and 2-12 in his last 14 games - while their ongoing inability to sort out the goaltending issue is still in the hands of general manager Mike Gillis.

Gillis had the entire season and all of last summer to trade Roberto Luongo and add pieces to make the team better. But he just couldn't get it done. So Luongo ended up playing 20 games this season - pushing close to half the workload of a lockout-shortened campaign - finishing with a pedestrian 9-6-3 record, 2.56 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

Is Cory Schneider an untouchable? He started 30 games in the regular season, allowing just 2.11 goals per game but stopped just 23 of 28 shots in Game 3. Luongo allowed six goals on 61 shots in the first two games, but didn't allow any of the 10 shots he faced in relief on Sunday. Is Schneider a trade option in the same breath as Luongo is?

So many questions - and so much time. But the key one is this - If the Canucks want to improve next season - where do they start?

As always, It's Your! Call.