Vancan Outta The Blue


Graceful In Defeat
November 24, 2011, 15:00
Filed under: Canucks & NHL, Replace The KB | Tags: , ,

 

By Josh Hall

I’m sure everyone who’s reading this is tired of reading those three words in every title of every blog post I have done the last 3 weeks and a bit. Those three words being “Replace The KB” all merged into one to form the hashtag #ReplaceTheKB have dominated my own life in that same span.

Well it was announced this afternoon that I was not one of the four chosen. Here is a link to the results.

Replace The KB Results

If there is one thing I have learned over all the years I have been watching sports (basically since I was born 22 years ago), it’s that you need to be graceful in defeat. In other words, don’t be a sore loser. So congratulations to the four who were chosen…I’m sure you’ll do a great…*cough*…horrible…*cough*…job.

I thank everyone for their support throughout (followers, friends, plus 1′ers) the entire process. Please continue to to read my posts here and all the other great pieces and stories that are available on the VanCity Sports Blog Network.

You can find all of my Replace The KB Posts below.

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The Fans
November 19, 2011, 14:58
Filed under: Canucks & NHL, Definitions, Replace The KB | Tags: , , , ,

 

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!**

By Josh Hall

Fan (noun): A person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or famous person.

By now, anyone who’s followed my journey through the twitterverse and/or blogosphere will know that I am an undying Canucks fan. By that I mean my love for them will never die, regardless of the outcome to a game or an entire season.

Going through this Replace The KB competition has been fun and it’s been a challenge. That being said, I’ve had the opportunity to share my stories and opinions with a much larger audience than usual. With that has come the chance to get to know more Canucks fans and find out exactly why it is that they love this team and also why they may love the game of hockey in general.

I have collected a few testimonials from followers, friends and fans alike to share with you, the beloved reader, on why they love the Vancouver Canucks. Without further ado, I thank you all for your support throughout this competition; I will continue blogging about the Canucks regardless of the outcome and Go Canucks Go.

Here are the responses (give these fans a follow on twitter [click their names]):

@jrcaptain91 I’ve grown up watching hockey with my Dad and loved it since I was a baby. I’m a fan through thick and thin ‘til the end.”

JH: Arguably, there is no better reason than family.

@tpoole00 It’s because they play hard most nights whistle to whistle. Also, it’s exciting watching the finesse of the Sedins and Salo/Edler/Bieksa/Rome blasting point shots. In my opinion Luongo is the best goalie in the league. Go Canucks go and bring home the cup!”

JH: I don’t know how much longer Rome’s luck is going to run but for sure, the depth we have on defense is on most nights a treat to watch. 

“@vancitybeerguy The Canucks represent courage and perseverance, guts and glory.  The excitement of a break-away, the exhilaration of a last minute goal is why I love our team. The magic that is generated through the Sedins alone is worth the price of admission. They are a brotherhood in Vancouver and I couldn’t turn my back on that. I love the Canucks because I feel like I am part of the team, just like the strangers high-fiving me after another brilliant goal or a huge save by Luongo.”

JH: I couldn’t agree more with the brotherhood comment…but let’s not forget the sister Canucks fans. Those high fives you reference too, totally awesome after the game as well.

 @nuckiiee It’s impossible to describe the reasons why I love and support the Canucks. Being a Canucks fan and a hockey fan in general isn’t just a hobby; it’s a way of life. Supporting the Canucks has been like an emotional roller coaster for me these past couple years, but I know I’ll never give up on them. They’re more than a hockey team; they’re community heroes who we can all learn from.”

JH: Took the words right of my mouth; It’s a way of life. And hey, roller coasters are fun right? Scary and they make you panic, but at the same time, tons of fun…right?

 @GB_Canuck I’m a long time football (soccer) fan but in the last couple of years my love of the game over here in England has started to dwindle. I’ve always had a ‘passing interest’ in the NHL and as I’ve been to Vancouver before, I’ve decided to follow the Canucks. It’s not particularly easy to do that over here because of the time difference but I’m determined to stay committed whether we’re winning or losing.” 

JH: Well here’s to hoping you stay ON the bandwagon. Good on ya for not becoming a fLames fan.

@kenny_M_on_mars My family moved from N. Ontario to Kelowna in 1970 and I was a Leafs fan. It took a couple years but the Canucks won me over in 78/79. I loved the tough workman style hockey they played. Now we finally have ‘committed to winning’ ownership and it’s a great time for all true fans. Regardless I will pull for them win or lose but yes there are more important things, it is just a game after all. When that cup does come, Oh how amazing that day will be!?”

JH: I’ll forgive the “It’s just a game” remark because there’s something about the way you put it that makes me agree more than usual. But yes, how special and worth the wait that day will be when we finally lift the Cup.

So it’s clear; many things attribute to being a loyal fan, whether it’s of the Canucks, the Leafs, another team or just hockey in general. The most important thing to always remember as a fan is that as a true fan, you have that commitment to remaining as loyal as possible for as long as possible.

Once again, thank you and rock on Canucks fans.

Haters Be Learners!



Alain’s Illusion

 

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!**By Josh Hall

 “Illusion (noun):  Something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.”

It’s literally every night the Canucks play a game that Canucks fans are baffled by a decision that Head Coach Alain Vigneault makes. Particularly on an evening the Canucks are trailing their opponent, one can count on at least one absurd juggling of the lines. Sometimes this works out and AV looks like a genius. The most recent example is Jannik Hansen playing on the first line with the twins. Hansen has scored four goals since joining the Sedins mid-road trip two weeks ago, but does that really mean anything?

Does Alain Vigneault (gawd I hate typing his name) really deserve any credit whatsoever? Of course we can’t forget he just led the team to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1994. But what really has Coach Vee done to make this team better? What has he had to do?  Think about it; he stands on the bench behind back-to-back Art Ross Trophy winners, the reigning Selke winner and he has the Jennings Trophy champs to count on in net. Trust me folks, the answer to this is easier than when a doctor asks you, “What do you see?” in a Rorschach image.

It’s widely agreed upon that despite the Canucks not actually winning anything this past June, they are still suffering from what fans call a hangover. Patrick Kane knows what those are too. So the Canucks are dealing with injuries brought upon from the extra long playoff run and overall fatigue from just not having as long a summer break as usual. Alain Vigneault can’t really do anything about it. This slow start we have seen as fans was inevitable. But wait, I just said AV couldn’t really do anything about it…and he did. He had Luongo play only 4 of the first 7 games. He let Kesler return when he shouldn’t have. He’s demoted Cody Hodgson from the 2nd, to the 3rd and to the 4th line…in one game. He should have left well enough alone and kept his fingers off the dreaded panic button because the ways the lines started (the way they ended in June) are the ways already been proven to have chemistry.

Burr has been tried with Kes before and yeah, they bring lots of grit. The 2nd line isn’t supposed to be grit; it’s supposed to be scoring and just because Burrows is a 30 goal scorer along Kes, a 40 goal scorer, doesn’t mean they will necessarily score in tandem. Hansen is not a 1st line guy and I don’t care how many goals he’s scored, Burrows is a proven commodity, not to mention triplet on that unit.

Let’s take a look back.  Alain Vigneault arrived in Vancouver in 2006/07 and he was known for coaching a defensive style. Many questioned his ability and willingness to make this team one which scores on a regular basis. The Canucks had the tools in the Sedins, Kesler and Burrows who had yet to break out but were ready to. Vigneault was going to hinder that but thankfully Mike Gillis came along just one year later to ensure that didn’t happen.  The Canucks missed the playoffs that first season with Gillis but the 4th leading scorer on the team was Taylor Pyatt, so it wasn’t exactly a collection of career years for anyone.

Mike Gillis has been the true mastermind and AV has taken all the credit because he’s the one we all see behind the bench. Gillis has brought in great players consistently, the first being Mats Sundin. You can credit him for getting the twins and Kesler over the hump. Love him or hate him, Christian Ehrhoff is a damn good NHL defenseman and MG acquired him. Gillis also signed Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard. Hamhuis has been a solid addition and with Ballard, well it’s been another case of wrong decisions by AV. The entire fiasco during the playoffs putting Aaron Rome in over Keith Ballard was just a travesty if you ask me. On top of all that, he acquired arguably the two best trade deadline pickups in franchise history in Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre. Without them, a lot of offense and grit would have been nowhere to be found in the playoffs. Again, what did AV have to do? These players are already talented. Oh but AV has weaved his little web around our minds and we’ve taken the bait.

I’ll say it again; Alain Vigneault has had to do nothing more than LET the players he has play like they know how. The Sedins don’t need to do drills so they can improve their game; they do drills to stay fit and fresh. They could do that with any coach, which is the thing here; any coach could win with this team. The only reason Gillis doesn’t hire someone else is because he knows exactly what I just told you. Alain has us all under this illusion that he’s some Jack Adams worthy coach, when really the only award he deserves is for having to do jack squat.

According to an article posted on liveflashscore.com that you can read here, Gillis spent parts of 4 years playing with one Craig Mactavish in one city called Boston for one team called the Bruins. He even represented him as a player agent in the 90′s. Funny right?

The talk of the town is what’s going to happen with this team by the end of the season and if I have to make one bold prediction with the way things are going, it’s that we’ll have a guy who once pulled a tongue out of an opposing mascot’s mouth, pulling the strings here in Vancity.



Kes N’ Booth: A Month Later

 

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!**

By Josh Hall

It was a month ago Friday (October 18th) that Ryan Kesler made his long awaited return to the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler was injured in the WCF and played through it during the Stanley Cup Finals. It turned out he needed off- season hip surgery. The question from fans and the team’s management was clear; Are you completely healed?

Kesler’s response was equally transparent as he was quoted as saying, “My hip is 100%…I expect big things from myself.”

Exactly one week later, David Booth with his silky flowing hair made his debut in blue and green as the Canucks faced off against the Oilers. AV quickly let everyone know Cody Hodgson would be demoted to the 3rd line while Booth, a proven goal scorer in this league, would form an All-American 2nd line with Chris Higgins and Ryan Kesler. Fans dubbed it the American Express line. I can’t lie; as a fan, that line on paper looked pretty darn dangerous. Alas, it produced just about nothing and lasted not long at all.

Well since Kesler’s return, he is a -2 with 7 points (2G, 5A) in 14 games. That hardly screams to me ‘100%’ and it’s sure as hell a far cry from the .89 points per game he had last season.

David Booth, the proven goal scorer that he is has the exact same point totals in 11 games, but is a -6.

I have to be honest with you; I am fairly disappointed with Kesler. While I can appreciate his fervour, his passion and his eagerness to get back out there and help the team, he basically lied to all of our faces. He has not been 100% since returning and no one could convince me otherwise. Don’t get me wrong here; the whole team has played like crap for the vast part of the season so far. The Sedins, Higgins, Hodgson, Edler and Salo have been the most consistent players to date.

On the same note, I can appreciate David Booth having to become accustomed to a new team, a new system and a really freakin’ new environment. Despite that, I am still disappointed in him. He just hasn’t shown me yet that he’s tried to fit in on the 2nd line and trust me; he’s been given every chance. Eleven games and you’re -6? Come on, you’re playing with the Selke trophy winner. He may not be 100% but surely, you could make something of it. What David Booth needs to do is to focus. Obviously he hasn’t experienced the entire melting pot that is the Vancouver hockey market, but I expect him to soon be accustomed enough to be able to focus more on his on-ice product.

Then there’s the issue of AV’s line juggling. When he does it, we all cringe. More often than not, that cringing is followed up by either withdrawing our previous comments and calling him a super genius or more cringing while calling him an idiot. He did it again Wednesday night when he moved Cody Hodgson to the 4thline. This is all connected to Kesler and Booth because before Booth arrived here, the 2nd line was Silent G, Kes and Higgy.  In the two games those three players had to work together, they had all but two goals but hey, two games isn’t that long. Before that, Hodgson had 1G & 1A with a -1 rating in 5 games but had been the most consistent and hardworking Canuck up until that point. He was kind of the ’40 saves in a 5-1 Loss to Minnesota Cory Schneider’ of the first five games. He proved why he deserved to be here longer than nine games.

AV’s problem is that he hasn’t given guys like Kesler, Booth, Hodgson and even Higgins consistent line-mates. How Hodgson hasn’t up and quit this team already is beyond me because of the way Vigneault cuts him down so much, and that goes way beyond just this season. Here’s a story I wrote a month ago on Booth displacing CoHo.

Going forward if the Canucks want to see real results from the 2nd line, the coaches need to figure out who they want on that 2nd line and leave them there. No juggling mid-game and I don’t care if we’re losing 4-1. Line-mates will form chemistry when clicking on all cylinders, but when they aren’t, that just means the chemistry hasn’t been developed…YET. Coach Vee needs to have more patience. Whether guys like Booth or Hodgson get put on the 2nd or 3rd line, in the end they need to stay there because familiarity will breed chemistry.

Hopefully when Kesler returns from this most recent injury; a sore shoulder, the scenario between himself and his comrades will be clearer…than mud.



The Devil’s Advocate on Lucic
November 14, 2011, 14:51
Filed under: Canucks & NHL, Replace The KB | Tags: , , ,

 

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!

This post is on a non-assigned day for Josh in the competition, so instead of being posted on the Province Website with a thumbs up/down button, please hit the FB Like button on this page instead.**

By Josh Hall

Our good friend Omar, a fellow Replace the KB Competitor, over at HeadToThe.Net posted most recently Monday night on why the non-suspension to Milan Lucic makes no sense whatsoever.

Well, as there is for everything, this story has a flipside. There is role to play here as devil’s advocate, so I present to you the post from HTTN, advocated devilishly, but as friendly as possible.

HTTN – “This is straight from rule 42.1, and it’s enough.

“A goalkeeper is not ‘fair game’ just because he is outside the goal crease.”

What else needs to be said?”

JH – It is what it is. Theoretically, the punishment for breaking this rule is subject to the opinion of the punisher, that being Brendan Shanahan. Obviously, he saw not enough wrong with the play to suspend Lucic. Frankly, neither did I.

HTTN – “Ryan Miller was outside his goal crease and Milan Lucic ran him over.

According to the rule, a goalkeeper is not fair game. Lucic should have tried to avoid the hit, and he should not have taken straight aim at Miller’s body.

But instead of making any attempt to sidestep him, Lucic followed through on Miller’s head with his arms. If you’re still arguing that, watch it again.”

VIDEO – Lucic Hits Miller

JH – Ryan Miller was outside his crease. Lucic did not try to avoid the hit. Bang on sir, congratulations. However, Lucic had lost control of the puck, had tried to retrieve it and in the meantime, Miller had collected it. If you continue reading as to why I believe the rule should change, you’ll see why I believe Miller, or any goalie in this situation, should be fair game. It’s the same for any other player too. If a player is playing the puck or did so in the last split second, it’s okay to hit him. Anything more than a second, it’s deemed late. This hit, regardless of the rules, was not late.

Furthermore, in my opinion, he did not “follow through” as you put it, on Miller’s head. Initial contact is clearly with the shoulder area of Miller and not the head. Any head contact that was made, which I believe was minimal was not intentional. In fact, I would put any head contact just on the momentum of the contact between Lucic and Miller. Obviously his mask had to come off somehow, but that’s also partially due to the velocity that Miller was spun around.

HTTN – “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Lucic is a “piece of sh**” like Miller did. I’ve seen him at bars in Vancouver during the summer, and he seems like a nice guy to be honest. But what he did on Saturday – definitely a “piece of sh**” move.”

JH – Agreed – not that I can say I’ve seen him in bars during the summer, but I believe it. Yes, what he did was a move straight from the Dummy’s Guide on Douchebaggery. That being said, even if he was a nice guy, I probably wouldn’t give him the time of day given what happened this past June.

HTTN – “Of course the debate about whether a goalie should be fair game outside his crease has resurfaced, as it does several times a year – everytime there is a questionable hit on a goalie.

So what, the goalie, who is weighed down by twice as much gear as any skater, who, aside from being able to do the splits in those pads, has limited mobility because of them, he is supposed to be able to throw a bodycheck and defend himself?”

JH – First of all, this debate doesn’t happen “several times” a year. I can’t remember the same time something like this got this much attention. If anyone can name me more than two occasions from last season, then props.

Yes the goalie does have twice the amount of padding but I think people arguing FOR Lucic don’t necessarily cite that as the reason goalies should be fair game. If you’re going to phrase it this way though, let’s look at a teammate of Lucic. His name is Tim Thomas and this past June, he cross checked/pushed/punched Henrik Sedin straight in the chest because Henrik got to close to his crease. So just because Henrik was near or in Timmy’s crease means he gets to knock him over. There was no penalty on the play and though there was an uproar in Vancouver (due to obvious bias), the play wasn’t illegal. So hypothetically speaking, the goalie is allowed to knock a player over if he is in his crease? Is that right? Well if it is, then shouldn’t you argue that a player should be allowed to knock a goalie over when the goalie is in the player’s regular area of play? Goaltenders have the same equipment and as mentioned, even more than a regular skater. Therefore, they should be able to defend themselves if they decide to come out and play the puck 15 feet from their net.

HTTN – “Do you know how ridiculous that is?”

JH – It’s not ridiculous if you look at it the way I just did.

HTTN – “Many people would like the goaltenders to stay in their creases. Once they step outside, they should be treated like any other player.

Thing is, he’s not any other player. Like a quarterback in football, the goalie is the most important position in hockey. Just look at what happened to the Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning or the New England Patriots without Tom Brady.

If a starting goaltender goes down – like James Reimer in Toronto – the team struggles to find a replacement in the same way.”

JH – You chose Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as your examples, so respectfully, I will stick with them as well.

I firmly believe that even if a QB in football isn’t of All-Star calibre, they can still have an All-Star season if they have the right supporting cast. This theory was proven in 2008 when in Week 1, Tom Brady went down with a knee injury and was sidelined the remainder of the season. Matt Cassel stepped in and led the Pats to an 11-5 season. He didn’t do this by himself. Look who he had for receivers, namely Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Receivers have to be good enough to get open for a QB to pass to. Wel Welker was selected to the Pro Bowl that year and Moss caught for over 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Needless to say, Matt Cassel had some help that year.

Now we look at Peyton Manning and his situation this year. Obviously he hasn’t played a single snap so far this season, and obviously, the Colts haven’t won a single game. They have used three different quarterbacks, none of whom are household names. Furthermore, Indianapolis has no one, at least not on my radar, in their receiving core that you could say is a household name or has any chance of being one anytime soon, at least not without Peyton Manning passing to them.

So as it is clear, a backup is as good as his supporting cast. I think most people in Vancouver would agree that if Luongo went down, we’d do quite well with Cory Schneider backing the Canucks up.

HTTN – “This is why it’s not free season on goaltenders when they’re outside their crease. This is why rule 42.1 is there in the first place.”

JH – You’re probably right, that is why the rule is there. Obviously the makers of this rule would disagree with me that the rule should be changed, but again, that’s subjective and the makers of this rule are all old fashioned. This is a new game, with new idiotic rules like a delay of game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass.

HTTN – “Somehow, Brendan Shanahan missed rule 42.1 and didn’t suspend Lucic. And now, as was the case so many times under ex-NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell, a muddy precedent has been set.”

JH – Again, it is subjective. Yes, Lucic did hit a goalie, which by the letter of the law, is illegal in the game of hockey, in the NHL anyways. But again, it’s subjective and in this case, it is nothing to do with a Boston bias. Campbell is gone from that post.

You say it’s set a precedent but really, shouldn’t this rule in the first place have told goalies that they can skate up no further than center ice with the puck, and remain untouched? Do they? NO!

**You can see the original post and scan over HeadToThe.Net by clickingHERE!



You Might Be A Bandwagoner

 

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!**

By Josh Hall

True Canucks fans do exist, and no they weren’t rioting on June 15th, 2011. Of course there is a flip side to everything and in this case we are talking about the not so mythical creature that is the Canucks bandwagoner.

Some bandwagoners don’t even know they are bandwagoners and sometimes when they are accused of being one, they can’t admit it. I have put together a helpful guide for one and for all to educate one’s self on whether or not you are in fact, a Canucks bandwagoner.

11.       If you only watch because the players are hot/you saw Ryan Kesler’s nude photoshoot/you have puck bunny syndrome…you are definitely a bandwagoner.

You are most likely a girl and most likely have a boyfriend who is really into hockey or you’re single and have no actual interests. You glob on to hockey and call yourself a fan, but really you just can’t wait for the next close up of Ryan Kesler stretching during warm-up.

10.       If you turn the game off your TV midway through because they’re losing…you are definitely a bandwagoner.

Friday night’s game is a prime example of this. I don’t even need to take a survey because I know people turned off the game before the Ducks even had 4 goals. Serves you right that you missed probably the most entertaining third period you’re going to see all season from the Canucks. Advice: Be more patient and keep the faith.

9.       If the Flying Spaghetti or Flying V mean nothing to you…you are definitely a bandwagoner.

The Canucks only switched back to the Blue and Green a few seasons ago, so you probably don’t appreciate the success this team has had with past colours and logos. In fact, the Canucks have reached the Stanley Cup Final now with each of the primary logos they have had, not counting the ‘Stick In Rink.’ Oh, and I bet you didn’t know that each of the three players who are in the rafters all wore that flying plate of spaghetti.

8.       If you call Rogers Arena ‘The Rogers Arena,’ ‘Rogers Centre,’ or ‘GM Place…’ you might be a bandwagoner.

Clearly you’ve either just recently become a fan or you’re too lazy of a person to start calling it its actual name. There is no ‘THE,’ The Rogers Centre is in Toronto, and GM Place is so 14 months ago.  If you don’t get that being associated with something from a city full of losing teams is a no-no, then away with you. If you are in fact a real fan but you still call it one of these things, get with the times and/or stop living in the past. GM Place gave us no Stanley Cups so calling it that now is only bad luck. Here’s an idea, let’s call it Canada Hockey Place.

7.       If you joined in on the local Cup festivities this past summer of Mark Recchi or Milan Lucic, you are a traitor and most certainly a bandwagoner.

Seriously, you claim to have been a fan forever and suffered countless letdowns by your team but yet still are a fan? Then you decide to go hoot and holler it up with somebody from the team that beat your so called favourite team? Give me a break. I get wearing a shirt or clothing of some kind if you lost a bet, but I don’t care if one of the players grew up in your current house, they are the enemy. Milan Lucic may be an East Vancouver hero to some, but to a true fan, he is nothing more than the monster underneath each true fan’s bed that ripped out our hearts and souls while we were sleeping.

6.       If you can’t name the THREE retired numbers and players retired by the Canucks…you may as well be a bandwagoner.

In my experience as a hard-core fan, one can only appreciate the plight of the current team representing a Cupless franchise by knowing a little bit about what has come before them. A good way to measure the success and get a flavour of what the franchise has been like in the past, is by looking at who the best players have been. For all you bandwagoners reading this, the names Stan Smyl (12), Trevor Linden (16) and Markus Naslund (19) probably mean nothing to you, unless you order your eye glasses from Lasik or work out at Club 16 like me.

5.       If you Blame Roberto Luongo when we get shut out, you know nothing about hockey and are 110% a bandwagoner.

So bandwagoners, if you know as much about hockey as you claim, what do you have to do to win? Oh yeah, score goals. Can a goalie score a goal? Yes. How many times has it been done in history? Nine times by seven different goalies. Roberto Luongo isn’t one of those and even if he managed to score 7 goals, that might win us 2 or 3 games tops, if he scores multiple times in one game. So next time you blame Lu for the Canucks getting shutout, think of the players who couldn’t score a goal 190 feet closer to the opposing net than Luongo.

4.       If you only watch the playoffs…you’re pretty much a bandwagoner.

There’s no denying the NHL Playoffs are astronomically more exciting, on average, than the regular season. That being said, true fans know that it’s all about the journey; not just the sprint to the finish. A true fan can appreciate the bonding and development that goes on during the course of a regular season. If you just have April 9th circled on your calendar every year, then there is no way you really understand how that team got to where it is or really, how big of a favourite or underdog they are entering the playoffs. Enjoy the trip from September to June.

3.       If you attend a Canucks game and leave before the final horn…you’re 99.9% a bandwagoner or 00.1% a horrible manager of your time.

These days, it costs an arm and a leg for a ticket to a Canucks game which regularly top the league’s ticket prices rankings. If you’re not committed enough to staying until the final buzzer, why bother going? I’m not talking about a 3-2 situation late with the Canucks threatening to tie. If you leave then, you’re just stupid. This is more about if the team is down Five-Zilch and there’s no hope of a comeback, you leave with 5 or less to go. As much as these players get paid, they are still human and they still need and love fan support. It boosts morale to have a full stadium at the end of an embarrassing loss compared to a half empty arena.

2.   If you say the Canucks suck, you’re just an idiot (bandwagoner).

Call the NW Division weak, but the Canucks have won 4 of the last 5 Division Championships. If someone came to me today and said the Canucks suck, I would just be speechless from their lack of common sense. Hello? They were just in the Stanley Cup Final. Yes, they lost, but they finished in the top 6.7% of a 30 team league. They have arguably three of the best forwards in the entire world and a goalie, when on top of his game, is elite as anyone. The Canucks don’t suck, YOU DO!

1.   Finally, if you say “IT’S JUST A GAME,” You can bite me and remain the bandwagoner you are.

Recently in the sports world, we have seen the story out of Penn. State involving the sexual abuse scandal. In that respect, when it comes to sports, YES, it is just a game. But it’s different when someone such as me puts as much effort into learning and knowing the game of hockey and the team that is the Canucks as much a Med. Student puts into becoming a great doctor. Everyone has something that they love in life and would do anything to know more about, sports or not. It’s even more important to note that sometimes these obsessions with hockey come from past family experiences. Maybe someone became a Canucks fan 20 years ago because their father was a huge fan. Bottom line is that it IS more than just a game; it’s a way of life.



Rivalries: NHL to the Canucks

**Author’s note: This post is ANOTHER in Josh Hall’s bid to Replace the KB as part of The Province Newspaper’s Hockey Blogger Competition. When sharing on twitter or facebook, please use the hashtags #ReplaceTheKB and #ProvNeedsVancan. Thank you for supporting Josh in his quest! For more info on the details of the contest and other bloggers, click HERE!**

By Josh Hall

RIVALRY (noun)Competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.

Synonyms: Competition, Emulation, Contest, Contention

Origin

The NHL was whittled down to just six teams in 1942 due to WWII and so began the ‘Original 6 Era.’ Naturally, with only six teams, they would play each other so often in those 25 years prior to expansion, that great rivalries were born.  For example, the Toronto Maple Leafs played the Detroit Red Wings SIX times in the Stanley Cup Final. In that same 25 year span from 1942-1967, the Leafs and Habs each won 10 Stanley Cups.  Rivalry indeed.

 The 1980′s

Skip ahead now to 1983 and the Stanley Cup Final featured two of the most dominant teams in NHL History. By that, I mean they each won consecutive Cups during an era with more than six teams. The Islanders, winners of three straight championships, were facing off against the highest scoring team in the league, the Edmonton Oilers. Led by none other than The Great One, Edmonton faltered. The Isles ended up with a 4th straight victory, and had limited Gretzky to just four assists in the sweep. These two teams met once again the following season, with the Oilers winning their first Stanley Cup, and first of 5 in 7 years. Now imagine those two teams in the same conference.

Present Day

Fast forward to present day NHL, and really only one of the aforementioned rivalries still exists. Games between the Leafs & Canadiens are still bloody brilliant to watch. The fans in both cities know the history and that plays into each game’s atmosphere. The Leafs and Red Wings still entertain; although that one has been squashed out a bit since the two were separated into different conferences. Perhaps with Detroit possibly moving into the East with the upcoming re-alignment, that rivalry will be renewed. Obviously the final one with the Islanders and Oilers is completely non-existent today. This is due to the fact that over the last decade, both of those teams have sucked, but it also doesn’t help they’re in different conferences as well. That being said, Oil-Isles games could get pretty exciting over the upcoming seasons with all the young talent each side possesses.

Why are rivalries important today?

GARY BETTMAN. The way he’s expanded hockey throughout the USA has put teams in locales that don’t exactly scream hockey market. Without a doubt the greatest rivalry to hit the NHL in recent years has been that of the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Sure, it’s primarily because of Ovechkin and Crosby, but regardless, that rivalry has piqued interest in hockey south of the border. Unfortunately regional rivalries like Tampa Bay & Florida haven’t exactly worked out but if rivalries could be built stronger, maybe, just maybe teams in sunbelt markets could succeed. Florida should take a page out of Los Angeles’ book and snag a player in the realm of Gretzky. Hey, it worked in LA-LA Land.

It’s crowds like the ones in Florida that make me think a team in Seattle would do the NHL wonders. Seattle being home to an NHL team would provide a new geographical rival for teams like San Jose, LA, Anaheim, Colorado, Minnesota and oh yeah, Vancouver. Of course the idea is more rivalries are created amongst American teams but let’s be honest, what American hockey fan doesn’t love seeing the talent the Canucks have any time they can. The key to remember here is I said American Hockey fans, meaning they do in fact enjoy and can appreciate the sport. The whole arena situation is another story but it is safe to say Seattle is home to hockey fans. Many Seattlites already cheer for the Canucks.

Now on to our beloved Vancouver Canucks.

There is one team that automatically comes to mind when you think rivalries with the Canucks, that being the Chicago Blackhawks. Whaddya know; an Original 6 team. Of course it’s got to be fate; the Canucks could’ve easily played another team three straight times in the playoffs had a game or two each season gone another way, but that’s the beauty of it all. Rivalries occur because they are meant to.  The hockey gods may have chosen the Nucks to lose the first two times, but at least it was hella entertaining. Imagine playing Nashville or Minnesota three years in a row. Of course the Canucks rivalry with the Hawks does date back to the 80’s when Roger Neilson waved a white towel on the end of a stick, inspiring what we all now know as Towel Power. This rivalry, as clear as day, will continue into the future for sure.

Roger Waves The Towel 

Burrows Slays The Dragon << It’s really fun if you just keep clicking the :08 and :09 second marks

Without a doubt, the Hawks take the cake when it comes to Canucks rivals but what are the next closest? Here is my take on the top three after Chicago, starting with #4.

4) Boston Bruins

This past June, the Canucks played the Boston Bruins Seven times. That’s twice more than the amount they faced each other since the lockout. Needless to say, a rivalry was born. If there was one team Canucks fans would want their team to win a championship against now, it would likely be those pesky Bruins. All you have to do is look at that series. There was the trash talk between Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo. No one will ever forget the phrase, “Pumping Tires,” now.  The Canucks were up 2-0 in the series, and then Rome smashes Nathan Horton. He is then suspended for the rest of the Series. We then have consecutive blowouts by Boston, IN Boston amid reports of it being literally unsafe for Canucks fans to wear Canucks things inside the TD Gardens and around Boston. Proceeding to Mason Raymond’s back being broken and of course, Brad ‘the Rat’ Marchand punching Daniel Sedin in the face six times.  Eventually Cory Schneider came into backstop, only worsening Luongo’s mental situation and the Canucks lost in Game 7 here at home. These teams play once or less each season, but hopefully with re-alignment coming, the NHL can work out a more balanced schedule that includes a home and home against Boston. As much as the Canucks and their fans hate Boston, it’s not like Vancouver CAN’T beat them.

Aaron Rome Takes Out Horton

3) Detroit Red Wings

Are you picking up on a trend here? All Original 6 teams so far. It’s widely known that Vancouver and Detroit have very similar team makeups. A lot of European influence, particularly Swedish, represent each squad. This rivalry is unfortunately a dying one as we will likely see the Wings move East in the aforementioned re-alignment. That means the Canucks and Wings will go from playing each other four times a season to potentially one or less. While this rivalry doesn’t contain so much disdain as the Chicago and Boston ones, the level of skill we see each time they face off is certainly a sight to see. Players like the Sedins for the Canucks and Zetterberg and Datsyuk for the Wings light it up consistently. Nowadays, both teams have great depth and pride themselves on strong defense.  Going back to the West Coast Express era though, the two teams do have a playoff history.  In 2002, Nik Lidstrom wired a slap shot from center ice and it snuck past Dan Cloutier. Up 2-0 in the series, the Canucks then lost four straight and were eliminated. Pieces of that rivalry still live on today in players like the Sedins and even Todd Bertuzzi who now plays for the Wings.

Lidstrom Ruins Cloutier 

2) Calgary Flames

Geographical connections aside, this rivalry has perhaps been the most consistent over the last 20 years. Nowadays, the Northwest Division is weaker and Calgary is a part of that. That hasn’t prevented Canucks-Flames games from being extremely entertaining. For example, the Canucks scored more goals against Calgary last season (24) than they did against any other team. Obviously they play the Flames more than most others but still 4 goals per game is considerably high. Once again, with the Flames and Canucks, there is a playoff history. In recent generations, you look straight to the 1994 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Vancouver, down 3-1, won 3 straight OT games to take the series 4-3. Game 7 which ended in 2OT, featured what Canucks fans now know as “The Save” and Pavel Bure’s breakaway goal to win it all. Jump to 2004, and again the Western Conference Quarterfinals. With the series knotted at three games apiece and the Canucks down a goal with 30 seconds left in Game 7, at 5 on 5 with an empty net, Markus Naslund make a streak down the left side, puts it on net and Matt Cooke roofs it sending the game to OT. Martin Gelinas scored about a minute into OT to send the Flames onwards and upwards to what would eventually be an appearance in the SCF. In conclusion, apart from Chicago, Calgary is the best rivalry the Canucks have simply due to the amount of amazing plays that have occurred during Flames-Canucks matchups and the consistency of great regular season games.

The Save 

Nazzy and Cooke Tie It Up

GOING FORWARD

Future rivalries that could heat up involving the Canucks include:

a)      The Oilers. With the youth there, they are bound to be the next Chicago. The Kid Line will be something to be reckoned with.

b)      The Sharks. After a WCF Matchup last May, this rivalry can only get hotter. SJ still has their core from that series and with the Canucks potentially being re-aligned to the Pacific division, we could see more regular season tilts than in the past.

c)       The Jets. In the Eastern Conference now, once re-alignment is completed, these two could take things to the next level, especially if the Canucks remain in the NW and Winnipeg is inserted into the NW.




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