It really doesn’t matter the year; the Canucks have only given us hope 3 times past the regular season. The first, was obviously in 1982 when they ran into the dynasty New York Islanders and it was over quicker than me and tacos. The second kick at the can was in 1994, the reason most of us became fans in the first place, the reason this blog exists. That one ended in pain and the beginning of a long hatred towards Mark Messier. The final chance at redemption was in 2011 and quite frankly it hurt the most; having the best team in the league and failing to muster any fight in the final two games just isn’t right.
After Saturdays loss to the Calgary Flames, the rational part of me says they weren’t good enough to beat the Flames. The fan in me however, was still bitter. It’s always the same result with these guys; why can’t they figure out how to get over that hump? Why can’t they just get it together. Year after year, the names may change but the story stays the same. Sometimes the names don’t even change.
There are organizations that have seen the error of their ways and adapted, improved and won. The Canucks seem to be content with status quo or very close to. Why are they never a main player at the deadline or free agency? Why do they hold on to players long after their due date? It really is impressive. Committed to being a sheep and never taking a chance. When does it stop?
Every team has made mistakes that they regret and if they learn from them, they usually don’t happen again. Trading Cam Neely is one of those mistakes, taking the plunge on Messier after he crushed the hearts of thousands is another. The Luongo saga, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin, Cody Hodgson, Luca Sbisa, it goes on doesn’t it?
I became a Canucks fan literally because of a Pro Set logo hockey card, 90-91 series, you know the one. My dad grew up liking Bobby Orr and I somehow identified with Cam Neely! and Ray Bourque. I thought Ninja Turtles were cooler at the time and my cousin said “you should like the Canucks, they have this guy named Pavel Bure and he’s awesome!” That was it.
So 25 years of the same thing year after year. Sure, there were some pretty good times in between but they never amounted to more than a second round exit or those few memorable losses in the Final. After listening to the most recent Pass it to Bulis podcast, they brought up how the pain, anger and bitterness from the likes of Tom Larscheid and Tony Gallagher are brought forward because they have seen this track on repeat way longer than we have.
You can’t really blame them. Take sports out of it for a second; imagine being amazingly let down/disappointed every year by the ones you love, oh and sprinkle in some good times just for fun. You can’t say you wouldn’t snap at some point, its human nature. Now, back to the Canucks. These guys just continue to let you down and we just take it for granted. We deserve better.
How many times did you try and beat the air ship level on Mario 3 just by keeping pace? Once you figured it out the P Wing was the answer, you dominated that one and Bowser was waiting for you. You felt pretty darn good didn’t you? Ya, you did; I did too!
Even the most realistic fan could have seen that Radim Vrbata should have been back on the Sedin line or that Bo Horvat was ready for better linemates or that Willie should NEVER have continued to put Sbisa and Bieksa together. Do kerosene and blow torches mix well? NO! So you don’t try and force it.
Cory Schneider deserved a start against Boston in 2011, imagine that ONE…MORE…WIN! At what point does a coach see past the contracts, past the BS and just want to outright win? The teams that adjust when things just don’t look right are the ones that move past the pretenders.
There will be a day when the Canucks move past stubbing their toes on the same chair every day and move the FRICKIN CHAIR! It has to come right? When will the Canucks stop following in the footsteps of the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and to a degree the Calgary Flames?
Drafting local might be a fun way to start. There are so many examples of how Vancouver could have taken a huge step forward but missed the chance because a player out east looked better. I don’t have to bring up the names because you know them too! Forget about the goalie of the future because you have a few of them, take a chance and see how they pan out.
There are players literally down the street or down the Coquihalla that can contribute at a high level, maybe watch a few extra games in Vancouver, Kelowna and Victoria.
I don’t care who is on the Canucks when they win the Cup. I don’t care if (insert mediocre player name here) is the captain when it happens. Its the logo on the front and everything that came with it that I’m interested in. Don’t you think the LA Kings would have loved Gretzky winning the Cup there? You bet they would have, but 2 Cups in 3 years will make you forget that.
Always90four was started as an homage to the greatest Canucks team ever, but I would love it if that team could finally be put to rest because we finally can cheer for a champion, not a loss that was really close. This current Canucks team has some pretty good pieces but unless they open their eyes and start REALLY planning the future, its Groundhog Day over and over.
Im tired of Punxatawney Phil.
Follow me on twitter: @always90four
Main photo credit – cdn.nhl.com