la kings

Canucks Haven’t Won Anything Yet

Let’s do a little exercise in Canucks history shall we? Remember back in 2011 when everyone had the team pegged to be the Stanley Cup Champs in October? Well they didn’t win it in case you happened to forget, or you lived in a bat cave or something, but I guess in the batcave you’d have wifi. Vancouver and most of the hockey world believed it was time the Nucks won the Cup and they almost did.

A shootout loss to the Kings in the first game of the season with those sick awesome retro 40th jerseys and ok, the Kings had purdy neat ones too! Were they doomed? No. Still no 82-0 teams ever so it was fine. The team got it going early though and redeemed the prognosticators, so basically Twitter.

IMG_1018.JPG
Oh I miss those jerseys
Courtesy of windsorstar.com

The Canucks had a great goalie tandem that won them games they might have otherwise lost. The beauty of it was on any given night it was Cory Schneider or Roberto Luongo and it didn’t matter; we were excited to see both and a W usually resulted with the start. This season has been a bit of a learning experience and possibly a little hesitation on coach Willie Desjardins‘ part to cycle both goalies.

He certainly trusts everyone in front of Ryan Miller and Eddie Lack when he confidently rolls 4 lines nightly. They have earned it though. Pick a night, any night and aside from the few stinkers, it could be the Sedin line, the Bonino line, the BoHo line or the Vey line stepping up and leading the charge. Even in 2011, it didn’t quite feel this impressive. I do remember how great Manny Malhotra was (61.7 % Faceoff wins, 2011)so don’t think that team sucked or anything.

This 2014/15 has impressed so far and safe to say not many people thought this team would be where they are at this point. 6th in league standings, Miller putting up top 5 goalie stats and countless other achievements by the rest of the team but they are still missing something.

What I’m getting at is, as good as the 2011 team was, when they were pushed and forced to show what their compete level was, they answered the call. Again, a few stinkers to start the year, ahem Chicago game; but the realization games came when they battled Anaheim and Dallas late in 2010. When Cory Schneider stole the game against Dallas on New Year’s Eve, that was the a ha! moment. That’s when this team really turned it on.

When the Red Wings beat Vancouver over the weekend, that was the kind of game that could have helped the Canucks cause not only in the standings but in the makeup of what this team can be. It’s still early but those “test” games need to be statements that this year’s team actually CAN do some damage. If the LA Kings are still wiping the floor clean against all things Vancouver, there is still work to be done.

The win against the Ducks and Ryan Kesler was huge but one game does not a season make. Beating the Blackhawks convincingly wasn’t what it used to be and the hate level just isn’t there. Maybe that’s a good thing. If this team can put some emotion into their games going forward it might help swing a decision here or there.

So maybe the Canucks can start showing off just a bit in the next while against oh I don’t know, Pittsburgh? Maybe a thrashing of the Leafs, burying the Habs in Montreal and the California crew to end the calendar year can help silence this critic.

Sure, Vancouver is 17-7-1 and 1st in the Pacific, but they haven’t won anything yet.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four and @hankthetank10
Like A94 on Facebook: Always90four
Pics and such on Instagram: @always90four

New York Hockey Team Wins Big Game

Well folks, it happened. The Rangers (team that beat Canucks in 1994) are in the Stanley Cup Final with Alain Vigneault as their coach (Canucks fired him a year ago). Let that sit for a second…i’ll wait.
The New York Rangers are back in the big dance. Henrik Lundqvist has a chance to prove he is all powerful.

The Big Apple will be celebrating for a few more days and if they do it right, a few more after that. Gary Bettman has to be just going bonkers right now hoping that the Kings somehow finish off the Blackhawks. A NY/LA Final? Could it really be? There is a chance it will but tomorrow night has to happen first.

Canada now has zero teams left in the NHL Playoffs with the Canadiens losing to the Rangers on Thursday evening. It was a good run but we only had the one team, so that was basically what kept a lot of Canada’s faithful interested. Now, you have to pick a team that most likely you hate.

Do you pick the freshly minted Rangers? AV is behind the bench, back in the Final and running hot with equal contributions up and down the lineup, sound familiar? Or maybe its the Kings? The team that simply has decided not to listen to the critics and is still in the driver’s seat against Chicago. How about the Blackhawks? If the Hawks somehow go all the way and win, they will be a modern day dynasty.

Chicago would have 3 Cups inside of 5 years if they pull it all off and have kept a large part of their original group intact. Just shows that you can fully rebuild and make it work. I would love it if the Canucks were able to pull something like that off. Time will tell.

So hats off to the New York Rangers, Alain Vigneault and hopefully future Canuck Rick Nash. You earned a spot in the toughest competition in sports, go get it!

Follow me on twitter @hankthetank10 and @always90four

The Idiots That Leave Games Early

There is one pet peeve that drives me absolutely bat ish crazy: “Fans” who leave the games early. Whether it be that their team is getting pasted or they are getting mercied, it is the WORST thing you can do as a fan. Who cares what the final score is when its all over; if you paid to be there stay until the end.

OK, there’s a tiny exception that we should allow: people with kids at the game. As a father of two myself, I love to regularly bring my daughter to hockey games but being that most of the games are played at night, bedtime comes pretty quick; that or she’s being a little brat. I feel for those people and regardless of the score, I always have every intention of staying until the buzzer hits 0:00. I had no other plans to do anything else for those 2.5 hours or so, so why should I leave?

As the Canucks are seeing this season, winning has come at a premium and the fans apparently aren’t in the mood to watch 60 minutes of hockey. Give the tickets to me then or someone who cares because honestly, YOU DON’T DESERVE THEM!! What does that say to your team when you won’t even support them to the fullest degree? If your team is up enough that its out of reach, stay to cheer them at the final buzzer, they deserve it for kicking ass! If they get pounded within an inch of their life, stick around to show them you are still a fan. Actually, don’t. The loyal fans of the Miami Heat are a perfect example of what NOT to do when your team is down, facing elimination and basically left for dead.

The Heat were facing elimination in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last year against the San Antonio Spurs. They were down 5 with 30 seconds to go in the game, basically it was over. Fans started filing for the exits and going home. A defeat too much to take. What happened after that was the stuff of legends: The Heat rallied back to tie the game with 3 seconds left, eventually going ahead in OT and forcing a Game 7.

Insert – Basketball really abuses the time out system and the clock stoppages and such so really the last 30 seconds took awhile. Regardless, it was an amazing comeback and I was in absolute shock when Ray Allen hit the ice cold 3 to tie the game, it was amazing!

The security staff at the American Airlines Arena didn’t let the fans back in as they have a strict no re-entry policy, no kidding. What a way to shove it in your “fans” faces, with the clutch performance of the ages. Fans begged to get let back in, but nope, they were stuck scrambling to a bar that was showing the game. GAME 6 OF THE FINALS…..HOW DO YOU LEAVE??? You pathetic excuses for fans. Wasn’t really surprising when the victory parade was the size of a protest, maybe not even.

Its understandable if your team is getting rocked but really, what else were you going to be doing in the next hour? Probably sitting in traffic. I’d rather be at a game then sitting in traffic thats for sure. The sad thing is that this epic movement happens from Major Junior hockey all the way through the NCAA and right up to the pro leagues. I think back a few years ago when I was able to attend Canucks games semi-regularly. Not cheap. Vancity would be killing whoever they were playing and fans would be hitting the exits with a period or more to go, why? Or they were losing and they would up and leave. I would kill to be able to afford seats where I could get up and go. The difference is I would stay.

Try this on for size: When your kid’s team is getting peppered, get up and go. Tell them you’ll see them after the game. See what they do. Or if they are up big, go get a coffee at Timmys and pick them up after the game. Pretty sure you will win the award for deadbeat parent of the year. Don’t feel bad though, there are plenty of people that will join you.

The beauty of the unknown in sports is the reason you stay. If you have ever seen a comeback you know what I’m talking about. From the unheard of like what the Heat did, or what North Carolina State did in 1983. Before you click, know that its an hour long documentary, but its worth it. A true Cinderella story and overcoming all odds to win it all. My personal experience with comebacks has two sides: the bad first; watching the Canucks go up 2-0 in game 4 of the Conference Semis against the eventual Champions, the Ducks, and then watching the quackers waddle back and win in OT. The good – I was in attendance at a Kings/Stars game in LA back in 2007 and I witnessed one of the biggest comebacks in NHL history. The Kings were down 4-0 with just over 7 min left in the game. They would come back and score the fastest 5 goals in NHL history. The Stars came back and forced OT and LA sealed it in the extra frame.

Can’t make that up.

So all you so called fans that don’t like watching full games, next time you go to a game, think about if there is literally ANYONE ELSE that would rather be there. Im pretty sure there is.

Follow me on twitter @hankthetank10