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 Tyler Rowe
If there is one thing I would like Vancouver Canucks fans to be known for, it’s that they are good people who don’t hold grudges. So it was no surprise when, as soon as Joel Ward scored in overtime for the Washington Capitals to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, my Facebook and Twitter accounts, cell phone, and forums I lurk/post in all erupted as one in spiteful elation. It was an earthquake of smugnacity, and I was so proud. Vancouver fans have very few reasons to like the Washington Capitals more than any other team. The most compelling thing about cheering for Washington, all other things being equal, is that we never play them and we have no shared history whatsoever. Sport is about tribalism, or as Jonathan Haidt said, “Sport is to war as pornography is to sex”, which is to say it replicates something basic to the human condition without the danger of that thing entailed. It is hard to raise one’s hackles about a tribe he has no dealings with, fair or otherwise. And if you look a little closer, it might not be that hard for the Canadian Pacific coast to rally behind this alien group far to the east.