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Comparing the 2010-11 Vancouver Canucks to the 1993-94 version

May 26, 2011, 7:00 AM EDT

San Jose Sharks v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five Getty Images

Every once in a while, something so weird (and coincidental) happens that you just have to shake your head. While the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks with one of the strangest overtime game-winning goals you’ll ever see, maybe we should have seen the ultimate result coming from a mile away.

Just look at the similarities in the way the 2010-11 Canucks and 1993-94 model made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Both teams made their way through the Western Conference finals by scoring game-winning goals in overtime; Greg Adams scored the ’94 team’s winner on a rebound against Felix Potvin while Kevin Bieksa beat Antti Niemi on a rebound of a different kind. Strangely enough, both double OT wins happened on May 24, too. It’s almost as if Bieksa’s bizarre tally celebrated the 17th birthday of Adams’ goal.

Such similarities left us wondering: what things do these two Canucks teams have in common and what makes each squad different? Let’s take a look. (Hockey-Reference.com was an excellent source for some of this information.)

The 1993-94 Canucks at a glance

Record: 41-40-3 (second in Pacific division); Goals For: 279 (14th place out of 26 teams); Goals Against: 276 (17th out of 26); PP %: 18.82 (league average: 18.64); PK %: 81.66 (league average: 81.36)

The 2010-11 Canucks at a glance

Record: 54-19-9 (Presidents’ Trophy); Goals For: 262 (1st place out of 30); Goals Against: 185 (1st out of 30); PP %: 24.32 (league average: 18.02); PK %: 85.58 (league average: 81.98)

As you can see, the ’94 Canucks were average or worse going into the playoffs while the current Canucks put together one of the most dominant regular seasons in recent memory. Seriously, this bunch was at the top of almost every category imaginable. If you want to simplify things to death, the ’94 Canucks were David and this year’s Canucks are Goliath.

(Please note that scorers are ranked according to regular season totals, although playoff numbers will be provided as well.)

’93-94 top scorers

Pavel Bure- 107 Points (31 in playoffs)
Geoff Courtnall- 70 Points (19 in playoffs)
Clifford Ronning- 68 Points (15 in playoffs)
Trevor Linden – 61 Points (25 in playoffs)

’10-11 top scorers

Daniel Sedin- 104 Points (21 in playoffs)
Henrik Sedin- 94 Points (16 in playoffs)
Ryan Kesler- 73 Points (18 in playoffs)

Both teams featured a 100+ point scorer, although the two players couldn’t be much more different (aside for their supreme talents). Bure was a singular force – he scored 37 more points than Courtnall – while Daniel Sedin is considered 50 percent of a tremendous two-headed hockey monster. Bure was a flashy Russian stud who probably inspired the likes of Alex Ovechkin. Daniel is a funny looking redhead whose efficient game probably translates best to hardcore fans.

’93-94 scorers among defensemen

Jyrki Lumme -55 Points (13 in playoffs)
Jiri Slegr- 38 Points (n/a)
David Babych- 32 Points (8 in playoffs)

’10-11 scorers among defensemen

Christian Ehrhoff- 50 Points (11 in playoffs)
Alexander Edler- 33 Points (9 in playoffs)
Dan Hamhuis- 23 Points (6 in playoffs)
Kevin Bieksa- 22 Points (9 in playoffs)

High-scoring defensemen might be one of the better shared traits between the two teams. (I must admit, it’s a trip down memory lane to see the name “Jiri Slegr” again.)

’93-94 starting goalie

Kirk McLean

Regular season: 23-25-3, 2.99 GAA, 89.1 sv pct.; Playoffs: 15-9, 2.29 GAA, 92.8 save pct.

’10-11 starting goalie

Roberto Luongo

Regular season: 38-15-7, 2.11 GAA, 92.8 save pct.; Playoffs: 12-6, 2.29 GAA, 92.2 save pct.

Obviously, Luongo’s career outshines McLean’s by a wide margin. It’s stunning how similar their postseason numbers are, though, aren’t they? It’s almost as if someone offered McLean the chance to be Luongo for a few months.

***

These two teams entered their respective playoffs with very different expectations, yet they produced similar results up until the Stanley Cup finals. That magical ’94 run ended thanks to the famous play of Mark Messier and the New York Rangers. Whether it’s the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning, this year’s Canucks will be the favorites going into the Cup finals this time around.

The question is: will their magic run out or will they be different from the ’94 version in the most important way by winning the first Stanley Cup in franchise history? We’ll just have to wait and see about that one.

  1. sknut - May 26, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    I can’t believe how much goal scoring has gone down, they were 14th in 93-94 with 279 and this year they scored 262 and were first. It’s a little disappointing to see scoring go down that much.

    • icu84bs - May 26, 2011 at 10:44 AM

      It could be fixed but I don’t think too many GM’s are for change. GM’s and coaches like to keep the game slow to minimize mistakes. The NFL also does this (most coaches instruct the QB to run the clock right down before the play is ran) The fewer plays, the fewer possible mistakes. Fewer plays also cause loss of excitement as not as many good plays are made either. Anyway back to NHL. Her are three changes that would help, I am sure the readers may have others to add. Cheers.

      1) Eliminate the neutral ice trap (make it similar to illegal defense in basketball)

      2) Cut down on the size of the goalie equipment. It has got ludicrous, they look like giant exoskeletons or transformers.

      3) Bring ice making into the current time period. Many of the ice surfaces are Slowwww…, I am sure using modern technology to it fullest could give us better / more consistent results, speed up the ice and allow more goal scoring opportunities.
      .

      • sknut - May 26, 2011 at 11:31 AM

        I agree with your assessments, although getting rid of the trap might be a problem in the sense that it can be subjective to some degree.

        What is said is that these athletes are tremendous and they aren’t allowed to showcase that skill. I think the game has gotten too much where its more of a counter attack and wait for the other guy to make a mistake. Its always fun to see teams put pressure on from the start.

  2. atwatercrushesokoye - May 28, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    It really makes you long for the days of the Oilers scoring machine when they were putting up 400+ goals per year! As a Flames fan it sucked to be on the losing end of a lot of those drubbings but at the same time it was a pleasure to have seen a team that special!

    I remember Gretzky saying that they didn’t care if Fuhr gave up 5 goals in a game because they knew that they would score 7!

  3. ikcotol - May 28, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    ‘it’s a trip down memory lane to see the name “Jiri Slegr” again’……DID YOU MISS DAVE BABYCH? Jiri Slegr? Seriously

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