After four decades of futility, the Vancouver Canucks have reason to celebrate. The franchise claimed the President’s Trophy, given to the team that finishes the NHL regular season with the most points, for the first time in their history last night. It was fitting way to crown the 40th year of the team playing in the NHL. Having begun life out in the PCHL back in 1945 before moving to the WHL in 1952, the Canucks stepped up to the big time in 1970. In that time they have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, being swept by the Islanders in 1982 and going down 4-3 to the Rangers in 1994.
Winning the Presidents’ trophy far from guarantees a return to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011 for the Canucks. The Red Wings, in 2008, are the only team to win both the President’s Trophy and Stanley Cup in the same season since the lockout. Finishing the year on top does still have its perks. Finishing at the head of the class will give Vancouver’s players a massive confidence boost ahead of the post-season, as will the all-important home ice advantage that comes with it. Right now the Canucks are the best around and it’s going to take a good team to bring them down.