TRH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Welcome to Day 4 of The Royal Half Pacific Division Season Preview Week-O-Rama!!! So far we’ve seen Jesse Cohen compare the Pacific Division to HBO’s Game of Thrones… and we’ve had PumperNicholl preview the Pacific with a bunch of awful hockey memorabilia. One Girl One Puck has… well… done something, I guess. And Flubber McGee went on the road with NHL GameDay Presented by Home Depot™. So while it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the #TeamTRH Pacific Division Previews… we also need to make sure we take a step back and welcome the newest additions to our fine Pacific Division… 3 teams from Canada!!!
We’ve heard all about the Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames… so now it’s time to get reacquainted with the team that Canada itself loves to hate. The wonderfully awesome PetBugs is here from Canucks Army to remind us LA Kings fans about our former Smythe Division rival. It’s something we like to call:
TRH NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH: THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS
GET TO KNOW YOUR FUTURE
VANCOUVER CANUCKS OVERLORDS
I thought I might use some local points of reference to
help you understand what everyone thinks of the Vancouver Canucks.
First of all, let me welcome the Kings and you, their loyal many human fans, back to the Smythe Division!
No, really. Welcome.
I mean, it’s nice that the Canucks could sleepwalk to the Division title for all those years, but sleeping is the key word there. Nothing has put more people to sleep than having to watch six games a year against Minnesota since Ambien was introduced to Orange County.
But I digress.
It has fallen to me to give you fine folks in SoCal a graphical introduction to the Vancouver Canucks. Now, I don’t know if that’s because The Royal Half thinks you guys can’t read, so maybe some rather simplistic, hand-drawn graphs will be better, but here I am.
Anyway, let’s start with a little history.
Vancouver was actually one of the cities in the running for an expansion franchise in 1967, set to join the NHL along with the LA Kings. Many of you might find this surprising. Not the Vancouver part, but the part about Los Angeles having a hockey team before 2011. Anyway, Vancouver missed out on that first round of expansion, largely because the then President of the Maple Leafs, Stafford Smythe, was a huge douchebag who vowed that Vancouver wouldn’t get a franchise in his lifetime. We, of course, got the last laugh, because the Canucks franchise was born a scant three years later, and to make matters worse, Smythe went ahead and died anyway the year after that.
I should note here that this asshattery on the part of Smythe is the reason that the Leafs haven’t won a thing since 1967, and will never win again until after the Canucks do. And I thank you for your 1993 role in keeping this curse alive.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. The Canucks finally joined the league in 1970 and promptly lost the coin toss to their expansion cousins, the Buffalo Sabres. It’s been all down hill ever since. The Sabres used their pick to select Gilbert Pereault, and we got Dale Tallon. Yeah, THAT Dale Tallon.
If that doesn’t define this franchise, I don’t know what does.
Oh, wait. Yes, I do:
That’s right. This is the franchise that immortalized holding up a white flag of surrender.
So yes, while other teams immortalize great moments in franchise history, this is what we get. By the way, the statue that the Penguins put up honouring Mario Lemieux shows that there’s more than one way to sports immortality:
Anyway, the Canucks erected a statue of coach Roger Neilson during the 1982 run to the Stanley Cup final. Neilson was fed up with the way the referee (Yes, Kings fans, there was only one referee for NHL games prior to 1999. It’s true. Look it up.) was calling the game and held up a white towel as if to say, “We give up!”
Complaining about the referees has been a long running tradition in Vancouver, and not just with the coaches. Who can forget Alex Burrows’ long-running feud with Stephane Auger? Although, I do have to say, when it comes to an NHL referee, if you recognize his name, then he wasn’t very good at his job:
But hey, before you get all uppity about how Ron Maclean was right about Burrows, let’s not forget that when it comes to whining and diving, you’re among royalty down there in LA:
That, of course, brings us to the fans. Look, I’m not going to apologize for the Canucks’ fanbase. But you have to understand, after 40 years of futility and disappointment, a certain level of desperation sets in, and then irrationality is sure to follow:
But the fact is, the only consistency among NHL fanbases is how inconsistent they are in how they perceive the calls or non-calls on the ice. If only the referees could be so consistent:
When it comes right down to it, I just don’t think the NHL officials are competent enough to be corrupt in any sort of organized fashion:
Now, all that being said, there does appear to be a different standard of evidence when it comes to the NHL’s Supplementary Discipline system:
Anyway, back to what you need to know about Canucks fans: When it comes right down to it, I’m not sure there’s a fanbase that’s better suited to its city:
Part of that mentality is due to the Canucks’ recent success. Sure, they haven’t won a thing, other than a couple Presidents’ Trophies. While that’s not an easy task, we all know that you have a better chance of seeing the Stanley Cup by winning the Presidency itself:
But with that success, and despite two consecutive first round flame-outs, the expectations around here are still running pretty high and that just doesn’t mix well with a history of futility and disappointment, which makes much of this fanbase not just ready, but waiting to jump off a bridge at the first sign of trouble:
There’s no better example of this mentality than the calls for Alain Vigneault’s head almost from the day they lost the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in seven games. And once they got that smell of blood in the water, well…
Despite being the most successful coach in Canucks’ history, Vigneault probably would have been fired after the first round loss in the 2012 playoffs, but then the Kings kept winning:
This year, he wasn’t so lucky and the sharks finally got their chum.
Oh, but before I move on, I should mention that you’re welcome for Willie Mitchell. I hope that makes up for that summer we gave you Marc Crawford and Dan Cloutier. By the way, at the risk of causing some drowning deaths, I should mention that the very same Dan Cloutier is now the Canucks’ goalie coach:
Now there’s an inside joke that pretty much only our two fanbases can really understand. What is no laughing matter, however, is that the Canucks went out and hired John “You’ll block shots and you’ll like it” Tortorella:
That pretty much covers the highlights, and brings you up to date on the Vancouver Canucks. Sure, I didn’t cover the current players or give you anything really insightful, but this the TheRoyalHalf.com, not Sports Illustrated, so what the heck did you expect?
Er, maybe Sports Illustrated was a bad example:
Ok, look. If you really do want to know a bit more about your future Smythe Division Overlords, we have a pretty good collection of blogs up here in what we like to call the Smylosphere. Here’s a handy guide to help you choose amongst them:
So there you have it. Now you know more than you ever wanted to about the Vancouver Canu…
OH! MY! GOD!
How on earth did I almost close this off without covering the SINGLE MOST DISTINGUISING CHARACTERISTIC of the Vancouver Canucks?
The Canucks, you see, have had some very, um, unique, yeah, let’s go with that, uniforms over the years. You can see the evolution of the Canucks’ jerseys right here in this chart:
Ok, NOW I’m done. I’m pretty sure none of you made it all the way down here to the bottom. Heck, probably not even The Royal Half read this far. So really, I could type anything I want down here… So, tell you what, the first person to tweet @TheRoyalHalf with the hashtag #Nonisense wins one of everything in the TRH store!