May, 2010 browsing by month


Bye Bye Canuckleheads!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

In this town, this is quite an admission: I am not a Canucks fan. I suppose I was once, when I knew of no other team.

But I guess they were the local club I rooted for until about 2000 when I took my dad to a Canucks / Flames game at GM Place. The tickets cost me about a full-week’s salary- about 1/52 of my entire year’s income. We sat a few rows back from the ice, behind the net so the seats weren’t even the best in the house.

This exorbitant price was what I paid for the privilege to watch a bunch of millionaires skate. That’s all they did. It wasn’t merely disappointing; it was infuriatingly appalling. Anytime the puck got close to a Vancouver Canuck, he simply batted the offending puck out of the way. Now at exactly the same time, on exactly the same sheet of ice, the Calgary Flames did what they came to do. They played hockey. Not surprisingly, Calgary won the game, 8-1.

I may not be an avid Canucks fan- you could even say I am as much an expert in hockey as I am in nuclear physics- but my opinions on this most important Vancouver issue have, to date, stood the test of time. The rest of this entry is what I believe is so wrong with the Canucks.

Most recently, Vancouver has not been able to break into the finals or even semi-finals because of three things.

First, the Vancouver Canucks play with no heart. The entire enterprise is set up to make money- who cares about the hockey, really? Given the number of times the franchise has changed its colours and logo in recent years, I would suggest that the organization makes almost as much money selling official merchandise as it does selling tickets.

Their on-ice performance that fateful day in 2000 was representative of their spotty drive to win. Their last game this past week was yet another example of lacklustre heart. Why does this happen? Are our “stars” afraid of breaking a fingernail? Or do they all suffer from collective depression?

Second, Vancouver suffers from the “Magic Bullet” Principle. Dating back over 10 years, that’s 10 long, losing, seasons, Canucks fans have oogled over one super-star followed by another- each being the solution to the team’s woes. “Yeah, the last star we imported was a prima-donna dud, but this guy, he’s going to get the Canucks into the finals!”

First it was Pavel Bure. Then it was Marc Messier. How about the Sedin twins? And most recently it was Robert Luongo. Even Todd Burtuzzi, convicted thug that he was, was a ‘star’ in this perennial parade of pathetic performers. What about good old-fashioned team effort and grunt?

Finally, and most damning, it seems that the Canucks suffer from Springtime Golf Syndrome. While I don’t know for certain, I would suggest that as the fairways dry out, our boys of ice head to the putting greens and driving ranges. They get distracted. Little white balls and warm sunny days start to lure them from the cold ice and the disciplined humdrum of hockey practice.

While this year was slightly different in that there was no big break between their play-off rounds which always seem to do them in, the time of year is not a coincidence. But for the future, this last concern could be eliminated if they ‘rest’ between rounds in Yellowknife- or better yet- Inuvik.

So even when they- should they- ever win the Stanley Cup, I am completely convinced that it will be a total fluke unless they have overcome these three crucial yet basic criticisms.

But good luck on that one.

With rabid fans so willing to support such incredible mediocrity and a management team willing to sign ‘magic bullets’ into contracts that will ensure the player’s great-great-great grandchildren can afford Ferraris they day they turn 16, somehow I think I’ll be six feet under long before they get their act together.

As an aside, the Vancouver Giants is still my preferred local team. In five seriously important key categories: Grunt, Heart, Guts, Consistency, and a Ticket-Price-That-I-Can-Afford, they are a much superior team to the Canucks. Speaking of whom, did I mention consistency?

As for the Stanley Cup in 2010…. OK- Let’s Go les Habs! Play like the winners you are. Show our Canucklehead players- and fans- how it’s done.