x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Vancouver Canucks fans can finally start believing again

The Canucks are now a 40-year-old franchise that has never hoisted the Stanley Cup, but this could be their year.

In 1982, the Vancouver Canucks enjoyed a Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup final, where they were dispatched in four games by the dynastic New York Islanders.

In 1994, the Canucks made it back to the final, only to end up as bait for the New York Rangers, who vanquished Vancouver in seven games to end a 54-year Cup drought.

The Canucks are now a 40-year-old franchise that has never hoisted the silver trophy. It has made Vancouver fans somewhat cynical, doubtful and unbelieving as the current Canucks have elevated themselves into top-contender status over the past few years.

The fans have been let down too many times before to get their hopes up.

But, good news, Vancouver: This. Could. Finally. Be. Your. Year.

The Canucks are on the verge of winning the West and getting a third crack at the Cup. Their best players - Ryan Kesler, the Sedin twins, Roberto Luongo - are in the primes of their career. The defence corps is deep and talented, mobile and physical.

Alex Burrows and Mason Raymond provide scoring support, and the third and fourth lines are fast and gritty.

The team is battle-tested and experienced.

They beat their play-off nemesis, Chicago, in overtime of Game 7 of the first round. That's the kind of inspiring victory that transforms contenders into champions, and Canucks fans can take heart that their team is on the cusp of history.