Canucks face questions

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

Good news is the Canucks won six of their last 10 games. Bad news is they won't play an 11th.

Their early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs after an embarrassing 7-5 game six loss in Chicago on Monday means general manager Mike Gillis has a busy rest-of-spring and all of summer ahead.

Here are 10 questions facing the Canucks' organization that must be answered before the puck drops on the Canucks' 39th campaign in October.

1. Will Mats Sundin retire? The Swede put his online poker pitchman job on hold to grab what may have been his last multimillion dollar contract from the Canucks. His name still isn't on the Stanley Cup, but now it's mentioned along with Mark Messier as a big-ticket veteran who did little for Vancouver. The much-ballyhooed career point-per-gamer got just 28 in a half-season's work, but did manage three goals and five assists in eight playoff games.

2. Will Daniel and Henrik Sedin find a better contract elsewhere? The Twins are regular season point-producing dynamos with their skillful cycling but have done diddly-squat in the playoffs when impact players must motor. They're unrestricted free agents on July 1.

3. Will Roberto Luongo extend his stay? The $7.5-million man will be reminded of 7-5 all summer long. He's the Canucks' franchise player and an excellent talent. But he is not invincible. If Luongo is hungry for a Cup, he may decide to go to a contender to get it when his deal is up next year.

4. Will the Canucks invest in a backup goaltender who can play 20 games or will Jason "LaBurnaby" LaBarbera get more work? Regardless of what Luongo does when he sits down with Gillis, he cannot possibly have the same workload next season and also be on the Canadian Olympic team goaltending shortlist. The compressed Olympic-year schedule will be brutal, especially for the frequently flying Canucks.

5. Will head coach Alain Vigneault's contract be bought out? Game four of the Chicago series will live in infamy. Under his game plan, the Canucks did the bare minimum -- like they did in their final two regular season games -- but this time it backfired. The series was lost and the season wasted on that night.

6. Will Mattias Ohlund sign elsewhere? Luongo had the C on his mask, but Ohlund was the functional captain of the team. He took most ceremonial face-offs and conferred with referees more often. A solid presence. Matti-O, like Luongo, is getting itchy for a Cup.

7. Does Taylor Pyatt get a vote of sympathy and a chance at training camp? Pyatt is a restricted free-agent. His 19-point performance was not worthy of a new contract for the same value, but his regular season ended with the tragic death of his fiancee and he saw limited playoff action.

8. Does Gillis re-ink Kyle Wellwood? Vigneault's designated bench minor penalty server rarely gets called for a penalty, but can score pretty goals and contribute important assists. The question in October was "would Kyle do well?" Answer: He did well enough to earn himself a second season in Vancouver.

9. Will the orca C - which might stand for choke - be cast adrift and the stick-in-rink and lumberjack become the full-time symbols of Canuckistan? Other fans might want the red, yellow and black back. Those were the colours of the magical springs of 1982 and 1994.

10. Will the global recession erode the Canucks' season-ticket base and sponsorship revenue and cause the Aquilinis to lower the inflated prices of tickets?


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