When the NHL first introduced the ever famous “outdoor game”, it was a breath of fresh air, literally. It took awhile before they brought it back as a regular staple in the season. Every team wanted to be a part of it; they wanted to be part of the money making phenomenon that is outdoor hockey. The Canucks got their wish, too bad they sold out prior to that, just not the Heritage Classic.
This is supposed to be a game that every Canucks fan has waited for since the beginning of this giant craze. Most of us probably wanted a more sexy matchup like the Blackhawks, and heck it would have been nice to play at Soldier Field. Vancouver landed the game against the polar opposite of the word rivalry, the Ottawa Senators, the most indifferent team/fan base in the league. If the Sens won ANYTHING, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal and when they lost the Cup back in 2007, no one really made a fuss.
If somehow the Nucks could have landed this game even 2 years ago against the Flames it would have been better than what it will be Sunday. Picture this: Canucks in their retro skate jerseys, the Flames wearing their corresponding 94 jerseys, maybe with some kind of a twist and if they played it out properly, Empire Field could have been the venue in January, you know, when they get snow?
Vancouver vs Ottawa will be the 5th of 6 outdoor games this season, a bit too much if you think this type of game is more a treat than another date on the schedule. It is the only game being played in Canada and even Canucks fans haven’t shown their support they normally do. Maybe its because they have been taken to the cleaners for so many years that they are finally fed up with the over inflated pricing and the lackluster product they see on the ice every other night.
The Canucks brass have done almost nothing to supplement their on ice product while continuing to increase prices off the ice. Canucks fans are passionate about their team, like any other fan would be, and they want a winner. 2011 looked to be the year that was all going to pay off, coming up just short of their goal of etching their names on the Stanley Cup. Since then, its been disappointment after disappointment and even the mistreatment of the players they DO have. Just ask Roberto Luongo.
The holes in the lineup are obvious to anyone that watches the team regularly and with the the league getting faster and bigger, the Canucks need to address those changes before they are caught in the past. Having an outdoor game like they are hosting is the perfect time to showcase the great talent they have on a bigger stage with fun jerseys, getting the alumni back for shinny and getting every diehard fan to pony up a few extra bucks to see their team play hockey the way it all started, on a pond with their buddies.
Its time for GM Mike Gillis and his kronies to get down to brass tax and put their stamp on this team. They managed to get new life behind the bench with John Tortorella this season and they kept all world goaltender Roberto Luongo instead of trading him away, a decision they handled worse than my 3 year old when I take away her bunny crackers for not eating her lunch. They did manage to find a steal of a deal in Mike Santorelli who unfortunately is now done for the year and started to promote from within.
These moves are a little late however and the fans don’t seem to want to wait for the answers to come; we want a winner before its too late. Time to see some no trade clauses bent a bit; rock the boat and show them who’s boss. This Heritage Classic will have its moments of fun, that can be assured, but overall, this game will be a dud.
The Canucks have sold out. They milked the cow until it was dry and now its time to feed the cow again. Give the fans a reason to cheer. Give them a few more retro jerseys to see on the ice. Its a start to offer family packs again and hopefully they have stopped claiming consecutive sellouts. This fan base deserves better, despite what fans outside of BC think.
Where do they go from here? This second half of the season will most definitely dictate what the team looks like next season…or even by March 5th, Trade Deadline Day. Want a start to the deadline? Go.Get.Rick.Nash.
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