by Brian Beitz
Each year, once the Canucks have been eliminated from the playoffs, I dread one question. No, not my co-worker asking me if I thought “Lagono was losing on purpose,” though as of yesterday that is now high on my list. I dread the inevitable question of “Who are you going to cheer for now that your team is out?” The wonderful part about last year’s playoffs was that when the Canucks were eliminated, that question was moot. No more rounds,
nothing to live for no more teams to cheer for. I dread this question because a) I’ve been fairly smug all year about my favourite team’s chances and b) I have very mixed feelings on this topic.
Of course, the default would be to go for a Canadian team, but I’m not built that way. I love my country, but if the Canucks aren’t winning the Stanley Cup, it’s not coming “home.” Don’t get me wrong. I’d certainly be pleased if a Canadian team won the damn thing, as long as it isn’t Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, or Calgary. Winnipeg still falls into the lovable upstart category for me, and Ottawa’s win would show the Ontario market that a team could rebuild quickly without winning “a goddamned lottery,” right, Burkie?
Earlier today, Tyler talked about why he is cheering for the Capitals. As usual, he is wrong, wrong, wrong. I won’t be cheering for them. Nor will I be cheering for LA, St. Louis, Phoenix, Nashville, or Florida this year. Why? It’s simple. There’s only so many teams remaining in the league that have an ominous “Never” listed in the “Last Stanley Cup Win” column, and I’ll be damned if the Canucks will be sitting alone in that category like Phil Kessel at an All-Star game—maybe they’d pick you sooner if you didn’t cut your own hair, Phil.
Let’s look at some of the Stanley Cup droughts ongoing in the league, why I’m still able to take some solace when I look at Stanley Cup playoff history, and which teams Canucks absolutely cannot cheer for:
by Brian Beitz
I must admit, I’m confused about the Canucks’ current predicament. The team was awarded the 2011-12 Presidents’ Trophy, and that trophy, according to the NHL, is awarded to “the club finishing the regular season with the best overall record.” Best. And it only stands to reason that the club with the best overall record is the best club, right? So how did it come to pass that the Canucks found themselves down 0-3 and facing a sweep in the first round against the 8th seed LA Kings—the first such sweep in NHL history?
Surely, the explanation must be something other than “poor play.” Poor play is not indicative of the best team in the NHL. Poor plays are indicative of high school musical theatre. Wednesday night, in Game 4, the Canucks came out strong in the 2nd and 3rd periods, scoring 2 powerplay markers en route to a 3-1 victory. The difference between Game 4 and the first 3 games of the series, aside from the fact that the best team won, was that Daniel Sedin finally returned from injury after suffering a concussion at the
hands elbows of Duncan Keith. With Daniel’s return came a return of the Canucks’ top line, their cycle game, and the Team 1040′s annoying game of “Which twin said this?” It’s safe, and fairly obvious, to assume that the Canucks have struggled in large part because they have been without their leading scorer.
And since the Canucks are the best team in the NHL, as acknowledged by the league, they must just be unlucky. As you’ll see after the jump, this isn’t the only season where that’s been the case.
by Brian Beitz
As many Canucks fans learned from watching Raffi Torres last season, he can be a valuable addition to a team. Unfortunately, he can also be a liability, as the gritty winger has a habit of making stupid, dangerous hits—perhaps none more dangerous than his hit Tuesday night on Marian Hossa at 12:42 in the 1st period of Game 3 of the Phoenix-Chicago series. Here is the video:
This is a stupid, dangerous hit. Torres will definitely be meeting with Shanahan in the very near future, and the Shanahammer will throw the book at him. Torres, the multiple repeat offender, travels a good distance to leave his feet while crushing an unsuspecting superstar player who doesn’t have the puck. The only thing missing would be slamming his head into the glass after the game had end– What? That wouldn’t add any games? Hmm… Still, I think we’ve seen the last of Torres in the playoffs, no matter how far Phoenix goes. This has become a real tragic part of Torres’ game over the last couple years, and Torres has already been suspended 2 times in just over a year and nearly suspended a 3rd. He definitely is developing a pattern, but maybe more specific of one than you would think…
by Brian Beitz
Every once in awhile, Smug Nation likes to review the stories leading up to a game and compare them to the harsh realities that came to be. We want to know what the difference makers in the game were. Were the “keys to the game” really just hype? Essentially, after a win or a loss, we just want to know why this is the best or the worst day of our lives.
Find out what the stories were for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals after the jump!
by Brian Beitz
In sports, for any team or individual, there are always highs and lows. For those of us who follow and root for a specific team, those highs and lows are experienced vicariously and empathetically. We feel elation after each win and grief after each loss, and those feelings are multiplied greatly by the deemed importance of the match or event. Heading into the 2012 playoffs, after the Canucks came so close to the ultimate prize in 2011, there has never been as much importance placed on a series of Canucks game, in my experience. I honestly believe that there is more pressure on the players now than in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. Last year, nothing short of a length playoff run would have been acceptable to the organization and its followers. This year, nothing short of a Stanley Cup will be tolerated.
With that said, it should come as no surprise that Wednesday night’s game at Rogers Arena, at which I was in attendance, made me sad. The Canucks lost 4-2 after what appeared to be a disjointed, lacklustre affair, ending a long streak of impressive Game-1 performances, and effectively derailing the fanbase’s overly optimistic season-long argument: “They’re just saving themselves for the playoffs.” Um, guys? You know the playoffs have started now, right? But while I felt a low when the game was lost, my sadness came from a very different source.
You see, what made me sad last night wasn’t the Canucks at all. It was the fans.