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Completely biased takes on the most hated team in the league.

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If you follow me on twitter, you are already well aware as to how I feel about the way Alain vigneault has been steering the ship that is the Canucks over his tenure, but more specifically the last year and a half. Today I received this gem, which sums it up perfectly. I honestly could not have better expressed how I feel about the job Vigneault is doing any better myself. So kick back, crack open a pack of your favourite lozenges and enjoy the hell out of this guest article written by Kirk Paul.

IT’S ALL PART OF THE PROCESS…I think…

By Kirk Paul.

“It’s all part of the plan.” Uttered famously by the late Heath Ledger’s iconic Joker in “The Dark Knight”, this phrase could be applied to the Vancouver Canucks – if you swapped the word “Plan” for “process”. Yes, it was the mantra during that magical 2010-2011 season, one that brought the team within a game of winning it all. But since that gut-wrenching loss to the Bruins, that “process” has become less and less apparent to those not employed by the Vancouver Canucks.

Let me be clear: I am a die hard Canuck fan – have been since I watched Pavel Bure score that legendary breakaway goal against Mike Vernon and the Calgary Flames that spearheaded the run to the 94’ cup final. Beyond my own personal aspirations, I have wanted nothing more than to witness The Canucks hoist Lord Stanley’s mug. This is not a smear campaign, rather an impassioned plea by a fan that can no longer sit idly by, and silent, while my team squanders their last few chances to finally reach the Promised Land.

I have tweeted relentlessly on twitter my disdain for Alain Vigneault, and have made no secret of my desire to see someone else behind the bench. A great many have taken me to task on this, rubbing my nose in stats, and that seemingly answerless question (to them) of who could possibly replace the most successful coach in Vancouver Canucks history. My answer? Anybody. I don’t mean you just flip a coin (although that would be ironic) to select the next coach, but you bring in the best candidate available and go from there.

I’m not going to re-hash the history of new coaches who have come in late, taken a team on the verge of greatness, and given them that one last nudge across the finish line. You know what, screw it, I am. Larry Robinson and last year’s cup winning coach Darryl Sutter being the best examples of this, and I’m probably overlooking a few more. I’m not suggesting the Canucks simply axe AV, and bring in, “a closer”, but would that be the worst thing that could happen?

Look, The Canucks may not have a pure “country club” atmosphere in the dressing room, but it may have an even worse affliction: Inmates running the asylum. During that 2011 season, AV and his coaching staff handed the keys to the dressing room over to the players. Nobody questioned this at the time because the team was virtually infallible during that season.

Unfortunately, like a Dad allowing their sixteen year old to drive his Ferrari, eventually they develop an air of invincibility, and after a year of no hiccups, they wrap it around a tree. I’m not suggesting The Canuck players have wrapped the car around a tree, but it’s getting close. When your coach has relinquished authority, inevitably, the inmates take over the asylum completely. Think about it, if your boss empowered you at work, telling you, you had complete autonomy, then tried to persuade you to do things “his way” once again, would you be receptive? An element of respect has been lost. You no longer view this person as an authority figure. That barrier has been breached and there is no going back.

Even without this, I believe Coach V’s act has worn thin in that dressing room. Well-documented spats with various players are well known to any fan of this team. From Shane O’brien, to Willie Mitchell, Cody Hogdson, not to mention the alleged (or outright) feud with Ryan Kesler, these are not isolated incidents. There’s always some issue with some player, and when that occurs over a span of years, I think it’s clear that there is one constant in all of this, and its “Mr. Gant”. Speaking of arrogant, if that’s not Vigneault’s middle name, he should have it legally changed because it would suit him better than just about anything else.

In fact, arrogance has become a corner stone of the entire Canuck’s organization. Increasing, I feel like a child being condescended to on a regular basis by this regime. Not even during the Burke era did I come to feel this way. For all of his bluster, and arrogance, Burke never took the paying customers for granted. Yes, his battles with the media are well known, but he never made it seem as though he disregards the fans as this regime appears to.

The amount of incredulity that Gillis conveys whenever he or his staff is questioned on the many unorthodox, and frankly, ridiculous seeming methods this team employs is infuriating. You are sports franchise – not the CIA. Drop the smug attitude and start recognizing faults. Remember those? Oh, that’s right, it’s all part of “the process”. When did mediocrity become part of that process? When did the status quo of indifference become an acceptable practice?

It’s a good thing Vigneault is not forced to sit down during games, because if he did he would be in great discomfort due to the horseshoes he has crammed up his ass. Has AV’s success been a product of his coaching methods, or luck? I’m not diluted enough to suggest he isn't a good coach, because no one garners that much success if he is inept, but make no mistake about it, luck has played major role during his time in Van.

During his first season behind the Canucks bench, Vigneault wasn't even required to show up. Let’s face it; neither was the rest of the team because Roberto Luongo was the team. He was that good. The following year the Canucks missed the playoffs entirely – due to injuries and the delicate pregnancy of Lu’s wife. Dave Nonis lost his job over this, but incoming GM gave AV a stay of execution. I don’t know if that decision came on a Sunday, but it was black indeed.

The next two years the Canucks proceeded to go on all fat diet as the Blackhawks crammed enough humble pie down Vancouver's throat to choke King Kong and Jay Feaster combined, during the 09’ and 2010 playoffs. Joel Quenville took AV to school, as “the greatest coach in Canucks history” failed to adjust his style on both occasions to defeat Coach Q. Of course, there were a few Luongo bed-wettings and defensive crumbling’s mixed in there to be sure, but this isn’t about those.

Which brings me to that infamous opening round series with the Blackhawks during the 2011 run. In first three game’s, the tables had turned. The Canucks were on the verge of going cowboy on those Indian’s – gun to the heads of the natives, finger on the trigger, ready blast when – BAM. Before Vigneault was able to finish sucking on his latest lozenge, the series was tied and going to a seventh and deciding game.

How does this happen? How can a presidents trophy, Jack Adam’s winning coach fail to prepare his Stanley cup contending team on THREE occasions to eliminate their stripped down greatest rival in the first round? Was it arrogance? Oh - There’s that word again – or did Coach Q just adjust accordingly and devise a new game plan, like a Stanley cup winning coach should?

Game 7’s are always a crapshoot, but of course, as this franchise is known to do, it did things the absolute hardest way possible, giving up a late shorthanded goal to Toews, and ultimately winning it in OT. But not before Luongo made a job-saving stop on Patrick Sharp to facilitate this, which just counts as another time Lu directly saved AV from the chopping block.

I’m not going to summarize the Stanley Cup final and what happened, but it stands to reason when a team gets blown out on the road on three occasions, and the coach fails to adjust (once again) that it underscores a fundamental flaw that Coach V has yet to prove he can correct.

Last year was much of the same. Being confident (not arrogant) they would have D.Sedin back for the playoffs saw the Canucks completely unprepared for the defensive-minded Kings, and red-hot Jonathan Quick. You can argue that Quick, an opposing goalie spared AV this time, as Quick’s performance, and ensuing play during the Kings run was the perfect built-in excuse to bring that happy-go lucky Coach V back into the fold.

This season we have seen much of the same. A coach who calls out players on the limp, that makes a mockery of his goaltending decisions, and is virtually mute behind the bench. I’m tired of the status quo, and I know I’m not the vocal minority. I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned by this franchise, and the way it does business. Again, I know I am not alone.

I’ve had enough of the excuses and the rhetoric, which pollutes radio airwaves and kills trees to sell papers. Mostly, I’m just sad that a franchise I have been a fan of for 25 years is flushing their best chances to win a cup down the toilet. Fans deserve better. Hell, the players deserve better. Unfortunately, whether this franchise ever wins a cup or not is up in the air – along with AV’s coin. It’s anyone’s guess which side it will land on.

You can find Kirk on twitter at

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Remember when Zdeno Chara took ran Max Pacioretty face first into the stanchion or when Shea Weber grabbed the back of Henrik Zetterberg’s face and smashed it off the glass? Two of the most glaring examples of intent to injure ever seen in the NHL, zero suspension.

Fast forward to last night in Chicago where Jannik Hansen attempted to make a play that happens several times over the course of every single NHL game (trying to knock a puck out of the air with his hand) when his elbow, inadvertently comes into contact with Marian Hossa’s head. After seeing several replays, it’s very clear that the initial point of contact was Hansen’s glove on Hossa’s shoulder, but why use video evidence to come to a decision?

Also note the Hawks bench in the background of this video, they sure seem calm for a team that just witness a blatant, intent filled head shot don’t they?

Many have argued that the play was reckless, that’s garbage.

Reckless would have been using his stick to bat the puck out of the air, what Hansen did was the go to move for everyone who plays the game. Hansen has been subsequently suspended one game, for playing hockey the right way. Hell, if anyone deserves a suspension it’s Joel Quennville for throwing a guy with the durability of an hour old lit cigarette out on the ice. Sure, that sounds ridiculous. But, is it any more ridiculous than any of the crap we see from Shanny and Co. every year?

The biggest transgression in this game was by fourth line hack Brandon Bollig, who after a clean hit along the boards by Dale Weise, decided to feed Weise 3 shots to the face before Weise even had time to react. Not only is that reckless, but it’s definitely intent and a chicken-**** move.

Personally, I’d rather get accidentally elbowed in the back of the head on a hockey play, then get sucker punched three times in the face by some clown who shouldn’t even be in the league.

I don’t even really mind the suspension, if the league is actively trying to get all head shots out of the game, accidental or not. But we all know they aren’t. This dog and pony show going on at NHL head office isn’t fooling anyone and we can all see the clear prejudice taking place. It’s about time they spare us from their excuses, quite frankly it’s all getting to be a bit much.

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In yet another display of the vast intelligence running rampant through the streets of Boston, several fans took to twitter tonight to express their displeasure at their team being eliminated from the finals. Unfortunately they chose to do so in very disgusting manner as they hurled racist comments towards Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals, the man who scored the overtime winner. Joel is black, which apparently doesn’t sit to well with Bruins fans, which is ironic considering the colour of their uniforms.

Speaking of irony, remember the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot last year?

Of course you do, because I know me personally, I can’t go a day without hearing about it. Many Bruins fans have taken to twitter to express their displeasure with the comments made by their peers and to distance themselves from them by stating that they are not all racist, it’s just a small group of idiots.

You know how many cop cars I set on fire? Zero.

Just like the vast majority of Vancouver Canucks fans I had absolutely nothing to do with the riot, but that didn’t seem to matter. It’s funny when you want to be distanced from a certain event, as to not be painted with the same brush as a group of idiots. But, when we asked the same thing of you, there was no holding back on the endless piling on.

To me the best part of this is the hilarious display of ignorance from Bruins fans, who probably should be reminded that, Willie O’ree, the first black player in the history of the NHL first laced up the skates for, you guessed it, the Boston Bruins.

I’d imagine the Bruins organization will be issuing an apology to Joel Ward in the very near future, I just hope he gets it. He’s going to be very busy in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Speaking of which, Joel. When you’re done, I’m sure there’s plenty of people in Vancouver who would like to buy you a beer, and don’t worry, It won’t be any of that Samuel Adams piss water that comes out of Boston.

As for you very special Boston B’s, the B stands for Bigots. Keep your heads up. The NHL playoffs are over and that’s a drag, but look at the bright side, the NBA playoffs are about to start in a couple of weeks and your Boston Celtics will be making another run at a championship… It’s too bad for you the core of that team is black.

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blog-0659237001335315025.jpegAs you are already quite aware, we are both huge Luongo fans. I'm quite certain Ricky may even have some Luongo stuff from when he was an Islander. Needless to say we were both extremely excited when he came to Vancouver and on numerous occasions have had his back when the rest of the market seemingly wanted him gone... I do mean numerous. We'd both be extremely sad to see the best goalie this franchise as ever seen traded away, but that's not the focus here.

Not taking anything away from Cory Schneider, because the kid was phenomenal this year. But if you really think about which guy is going to get moved in the off-season, it makes more sense for it to be him.

The Canucks are a team, just one year removed from a Stanley Cup birth and still have the talent around here for the next 2 to 3 years to get back there, and win it.

While Schneider has passed every single test thrown his way, he still has yet to be "the guy" and going from 30 games to upwards of 60 is a big step for a young goalie. While he very well may conquer this test as well, there is a distinct possibility that being the every day guy will take a year or two for him to get used to. In that scenario you are virtually throwing away at least one season of this ever-decreasing window for the current core of the Canucks to get back to the finals and win.

Meanwhile in Luongo you have a proven number one, who time and time again has proven that he can handle the load and thrive under the insane amount of pressure the fan base here puts on their goalies. Yes, Schneider has witnessed this first hand as the backup, but going through it and being the guy that criticism is often directed at is a lot different. Disagree with this all you want, but you know at some point, just like any other young net minder would, Schneider will struggle and when he does the fans will be all over him. It's happened with every guy who has ever held the position in Vancouver and with the angst here at an all time high, don't expect that to change.

Aside from this, a lot of which is admittedly speculation, there is the unarguable fact that Schneider would fetch far more than Luongo on the market.

If this last season told us anything about the team it is that there are definitely a few more weaknesses than we all thought. Combine that with Hodsgon being dealt away last year, the Canucks once again have a hole to fill at centre on their third line. If Hodgson wasn't good enough to be that guy, do you really think Jordan Schroeder will be given the opportunity to step into that role?

If you keep Schneider, you are taking a chance, however small we all believe it is that he may have a setback this year.

With Luongo we all know what we've got, A guy who can play upwards of 60 games and carry a team all the way to a Stanley Cup and despite what some people may argue, has the ability to win it as well.

If the Canucks were not in a place right now where they expect to be contending for the Stanley Cup every year, there would be no doubt that going with Schneider would be the best and only action to take here. But the fact is they are and to me when you measure these goalies up against each other going into next season, they are basically a saw-off. So why not take that opportunity to trade the guy who is going to bring you the most back in return for him, that you could use to shore up weaknesses on your team to make another run at what we all want, Lord Stanley's Cup.

Makes sense to me.

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blog-0368929001334118017.jpegIt seems nowadays everyone has an opinion on who is going to win each series in the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, be it trusted experts, ex NHL’ers or heck, even a monkey. Doug Maclean falls into one of these categories, we’re not going to tell you which one, you can decide that for yourself. We will however follow the crowd and let you know who we think is going to move on into round two.

We will be going round by round giving you our picks, series mvp’s and goats as the match ups are determined. Assuming of course the Canucks haven’t been eliminated. In which case, we’ll stop caring all together.

Eastern Conference

New York Rangers (109 Pts) vs Ottawa Senators (92 Pts)

Season Series: 3-1 Sens

The Rangers return to the top of the Eastern Conference on the back of a stingy defence and another Vezina nomination worthy season from Henrik Lundquist. On paper this looks like a cake walk for the Rangers but the Sens dominated the season series and being led by the resurgence possible Hart candidate Jason Spezza and Norris nominee Henrik Karlsson, could be poised for an upset.

Dave:

I think Ottawa makes one hell of a series out of this one, maybe even jumping out to the early lead. But in the end expect the Rangers led by their Veteran, cup winning coach John Tortorella to pull it out.

Rangers in 7.

Series mvp: Henrik Lundquist. It’s no secret that he is the heart and soul of this series should be no different. Lundquist will have to be huge.

Series goat: Jason Spezza. While his return to the top caliber of NHL players have been nice this year, I’ve seen the Spezza disappearing act far too many times to think that it won’t show up yet again at some point in this series. Sens simple cannot afford that if they expect to win.

Ricky:

The Rangers were one of the more consistent teams in the league thisseason, and a win vs Washington on the last day of the regular seasonwould have got them the Presidents Trophy, but the hungry Capitals gotthe much needed win. Guys like Marion Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and youngdefensive stud Micheal Del Zotto stepped up their game this season,and the team adopted a hard working system under coach JohnTortorella. On the other side the Ottawa Senators at the beginning ofthe season, were picked as a team that was in rebuild mode, and a teamthat wouldn't see any playoff hockey. Long time Senators DanielAlfredsson and Jason Spezza both came off disappointing seasons andlead this team into the top 8 this season. Another surprise emerged asrookie Erik Karlsson lead NHL scoring for defenceman, and played inthe Allstar game in Ottawa. I think the Rangers get by in this onehere, they've been consistent for the entire year, but Ottawa is definitely heading into the right direction.

Rangers in 5

Series MVP: Marion Gaborik. He scored 41 goals this season, and always made the most out of his opportunities. I can see him having a very productive series.

Series goat: Erik Karlsson. I know he's a rookie, and he just came off an unbelievable season, and trust me I love this kid, but he will struggle in his first taste of playoff hockey, it'll be a great learning experience though as he develops.

Boston Bruins (102 Pts) vs Washington Capitals (92 Pts)

Season Series: 3-1 Caps

Ah yes, our friends, the defending champions from Baaahston.

The Bruins struggled with consistency since the All-Star break and with Washington this season for that matter. Luckily for them Washington has zero goaltending and the battle tested Bruins should be able to squeak one out against the Caps.

Dave:

Expect a slow start from the Bruins, with a very shaky Thomas. Remember before his heroics in last years final he was brutal for stretches. Fortunately for him, the Bruins have a very capable backup in Rask who should be able to hold the fort as the Bruins take full advantage of the even weaker net minding from Washington.

Bruins in 5

Series mvp: Tyler Seguin. When finally given the opportunity to play in last years playoffs Seguin lit it up, I expect much of the same from him in the first round.

Series goat: Alexander Semin. Who else? This guy never shows up and with his pending departure from Washington, why would he start now?

Ricky:

As much as this Canucks fan would love to see Washington eliminate thedefending Stanley Cup champions, I just dont see it happening. TheCapitals dominated the season series, but Bostons in your face workethic will frustrate the likes of Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom inthis series. The Bruins were much more inconsistent in this yearsregular season than last year, and looked more like a team that had abit of a hangover, but down the stretch here they looked like they gotback to their Bruins style of hockey. The Capitals will have youngBraden Holtby in net for this series due to injuries, and as good asthis kid looks, I don't think it will be enough to save the Capitals.

Bruins in 6

Series MVP: Milan Lucic. Coming off a Stanley Cup win last season and62 points in the regular season, Milan didn't really lose a beat as hescored 61 points this season. He will be huge in this series, and lookfor him to be Bostons go to guy.

Series goat: Mike Green. What ever happened to the Mike Green from acouple seasons ago? You know, the one that scored 31 goals? To hiscredit, he was injured for most the season, but in the games he didplay, he looked very lost out there. I can see him having a very roughtime against Bostons big forwards.

Florida Panthers (94 Pts) vs New Jersey Devils (102 Pts)

Season Series: 2-2

Once again the team nobody pays attention to, the New Jersey Devils have quietly racked up another 100 point season. The Panthers are a nice story finally making it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2000. Where they were swept.

Expect much of the same in this one.

Dave:

The only chance I see Florida having in this series is if Martin Brodeur continues his string of poor playoff performances, which we never used to see from one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. Even with that, he gets a few mulligans in this series as the Devils make quick work of the Panthers.

Devils in 5

Series mvp: Patrik Elias. The old guy can still get it done and he is going to feast upon the Panthers.

Series goat: Clemmensen/Theodore. Really, whoever is unfortunate enough to be in goal from game to game.

Ricky:

This is one of the more feel good stories in the NHL, seeing the Panthers back in the postseason for the first time since 2000, when that team lead by Pavel Bure were eliminated by these same New Jersey Devils . The Panthers had a very busy offseason, and aquired alot of experience by adding guys like Kris Versteeg, John Madden, Ed Jovanovski, and Mikael Samuelsson, to name a few. They definately needed this change after 12 years of not making the postseason, and I can see these guys squeaking this one out against the Devils. Florida will have to shutdown the likes of Kovalchuk who is coming off of a stellar season, Parise and rookie senation Adam Henrique. The longer this series goes, the more likely it is that Florida advances.

Panthers in 7

Series MVP: Mike Santorelli. He only scored 11 points in 60 games thisseason, but his previous year showed me that this guy was the realdeal. I think he becomes a big factor for the Panthers and believe itor not, lead all players in points in this series.

Series goat: Martin Brodeur. I love this guy, he's won everything youcan possibly win, but his play has been gradually declining the lastfew years, and he gives up his fair share of stinkers.

Pittsburgh Penguins (108 Pts) vs Philadelphia Flyers (103 Pts)

Season Series: 4-2 Flyers

The series everyone is looking forward to, the battle of Pennsylvania. So many stars, so much hate. Settle in and enjoy the show because these two rivals never disappoint.

Dave: I expect an absolute war here and despite the Flyers winning the season series, I think home ice is a massive factor in this one. Flyers are really going to miss Chris Pronger here.

Pens in 7

Series mvp: James Neal. He will be overshadowed at times by the immense star power both teams bring to the table, but expect him to continue doing what he’s been doing all season. Putting the puck in the net.

Series goat: When the Flyers lose, there is only one option, their goalie. Ilya Bryzgalov gets shelled in game 7 and another promising Flyers goaltending career goes down in Flames.

Ricky:

This is probably the most anticipated series in the playoffs. To quoteScott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers, "This will be a bloodbath".These two teams do not like eachother, actually thats anunderstatement, cause the hatred between these runs very very deep. Itdidn't help that these two teams met a couple times in the last coupleweeks of the regular season. There were cheapshots, blood, and lots ofsmack talk exchanged between the players and even the coaches. Thereturn of Sidney Crosby has sparked the Penguins, and vaulted them tothe top of the conference, 2 points shy from Presidents Trophy. Crosbyand his partner in crime Evgeni Malkin have turned this team into aStanley Cup favorite in some peoples minds. I do like what the Flyershave done this season, and you can't overlook the success that ClaudeGiroux had this season, but this series, will all the offensivefirepower on both sides, will come down to goaltending, and I justdont think Bryzgalov has enough in the tank to stop Sid the Kid andEvgeni "Gino" Malkin. This will be a series everyone sgould tune into.

Pens in 6

Series MVP: Evgeni Malkin. He will huge, and will score some big goals that will turn the tide in their games. Look for James Neal to also factor in and provide secondary scoring.

Series goat: Ilya Bryzgalov, he of the long term contract. His unique style of goaltending will get exposed in this series. He's shown he can shut the door, but this Penguins team means business. I don't see him making that "big save" teams need to stay in it.

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks (111 Pts) vs Los Angeles Kings (95 Pts)

Season Series: 2-2

In a rematch of the 2010 Western Conference Quarter Finals Vancouver vs LA promises to be another very tight affair. Jonathan Quick has had a Vezina like season and could very easily steal this one if the Canucks aren’t careful.

Dave: With the uncertainty of Daniel Sedin’s availability this is a tough one to call. The teams are quite evenly matched across the board but if the Canucks can get their powerplay going their experience should take over and be enough to get them the victory.

Canucks in 6

Series mvp: Alex Edler. Last time these 2 teams met in the playoffs Edler was a huge physical presence and helped turn the series in Vancouver’s favour. If he can bring that paired with his offensive ability from the back end, he should be a huge factory in this one.

Series goat: Mike Richards. A very sub par season for Richards’ standards. If he cannot raise his play to that of previous playoffs with the Flyers, the Kings have no chance.

Ricky:

I dont think the Canucks will be blowing the Kings out in any of these games, but I think the depth and wins the Canucks got down the stretch in close games will pay off in this round. If the Kings are to steal this series, Jonathan Quick will have to be their best player, and Los Angeles will need to score goals, they come into the playoffs 29th in goals for. The Kings made a splash trading defenceman Jack Johnson to Columbus for some more firepower upfront in Jeff Carter. They also added Mike Richards in the offseason, a former teammate of Carter in Philadelphia, and so far, it hasn't provided the offence management in LA thought it would. If the Canucks powerplay starts to click, especially with Daniel Sedin back at some point, the Kings will be in

huge trouble.

Canucks in 5

Series MVP: Alexander Edler. I really think he took a huge step forward this season, he replaced Christian Ehrhoffs scoring after he left with 60 points, and also made his 1st NHL Allstar game appearance. Look for Edlers physical play and powerful point shot to be a huge difference in this series.

Series goat: Mike Richards. This guy has gotten a free pass ever since he arrived in Los Angeles, he underachieved in the regular season, scoring just 44 points, one of the few reasons the Kings didn't light the lamp.

St. Louis Blues (109 Pts) vs San Jose Sharks (96 Pts)

Season Series: 4-0 Blues

The surprising, youthful Blues take on the disappointing San Jose Sharks. In another series that should be an all out war.

Dave: I wavered on this one as I feel the Blues are overrated and have overachieved for the most part this season. But with San Jose still being led by the likes of Patrick Marleau and “No Show Joe” it’s hard to get behind these guys. You’ve gotta think this is the last kick at the can for the Sharks core and they should give the Blues all they can handle, but it won’t be enough.

Blues in 7

Series mvp: Jaroslav Halak. We all saw what he did the last time he was in the playoffs, with a way better defence in front of him than he ever had in Montreal, expect him to shine again.

Series goat: Joe Thornton. With so many options why not go with what you no? Joe once again cements his nickname as truth as David Backes shuts him down.

Ricky:

This is a matchup that you look at and think, wow, St.Louis is the team with home ice? This series is a tale of two teams who went in opposite directions than what was predicted. You look at the Sharks roster and think, how did they not win their division? You look at the Blues, and they got some nice young talent, but this team scores by committee. Ken Hitchcock certainly turned things around in St.Louis, and his team had the best home record in the NHL, losing only 5 times in regulation. I think the Sharks depth will get them through this series, but the St.Louis Blues lead by veterans Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott will definitely give them a good fight.

Sharks in 6

Series MVP: Joe Pavelski. This guy is one of the most underrated players in the league, he can skate well, and has a really good scoring touch. He'll be the leading scorer in this series and the difference.

Series goat: Baret Jackman. His play has been slowly declining and I can see the Sharks top 2 lines exploiting this guy. He was once a force, and does still add some veteran leadership for the younger guys, but at this stage of his career, I don't see it anymore.

Phoenix Coyotes (97 Pts) vs Chicago Blackhawks (101 Pts)

Season Series: 3-1 Coyotes

Another year, another brilliant job by Dave Tippet getting the Coyotes into the playoffs. The Hawks were the top team in the league for a long period of time in the earlier part of the season but ran into goaltending issues. Very Interesting series to predict.

Dave: As in the Florida/ New Jersey series, it’s the case of another team getting a top seed due to winning a terrible division. Chicago’s one weakness is goaltending, which is also the only real strength of the Coyotes… In the regular season, If Jonathan Toewes it healthy and Chicago gets any goaltending whatsoever, expect their plethora of offensively gifted stars and experience to be too much for Phoenix.

Hawks in 5

Series mvp: Jonathan Toewes. Natural leader who almost single handedly willed the Hawks to a first round victory over Vancouver last year, If he’s even close to 100% health, he has a huge series.

Series goat: Mike Smith. Fantastic regular seasons are just that, regular seasons. Smith will need to prove that he’s the real deal come playoff time to be regarded as a truly elite goalie.

Ricky:

This is a series that a lot of people would pick Phoenix to be the underdog, despite having home ice advantage. They've quietly went about their business, but won their respective division in the last few days of the regular season. This is a team that could've easily missed the playoffs, but got the job done when it mattered. Their goaltender Mike Smith has evolved into one of the better goaltenders in the NHL, and goaltending is the reason I pick the Coyotes to win this series. The Hawks, with all the firepower they possess, seem to struggle in the goaltending department. They allowed 238 goals against, 3rd worst in the Western Conference. A tandem of Crawford and Emery just dont seem dangerous to me, and this has nothing to do with hatred of the Blackhawks. I also think the possible absence of Jonathan Toews will be a huge factor. This will be a long series, but the Coyotes will win that Game 7 they couldn't win last season against Detroit.

Coyotes in 7

Series MVP: Mike Smith. As I stated, he was one of the better goaltenders in the NHL this season, and was a huge reason Phoenix got into a playoff spot. I think he will frustrate the likes of Hossa, Sharpe, Kane and Toews, and will be the difference in this series.

Series goat: Dave Bolland. He's a pest, but aproductive pest at times. I think he wears the goat horns in thisseries his undisciplined play that will cost the Hawks.

Nashville Predators (104 Pts) vs Detroit Red Wings (102 Pts)

Season Series: 3-3

Dave: The Preds are much improved this year and after winning a round last year seem ready to take the next step. It’s hard to count out the Red Wings ever, which Is why I think they make one heck of a series out of this. But they are up there in age and unlike past years where that wasn’t a factor, they enter this years playoffs banged up.

Preds in 7

Series Mvp: Mike Fisher, with his smoking hot wife cheering him on and not having to shoulder the entire offensive responsibility, expect a huge series from Fisher.

Series goat: Jimmie Howard. Failed to take the next step as a goalie who was ready for the big time again last playoffs, I’m expecting a repeat performance from him.

Ricky:

This matchup will be very interesting. The Nashville Predators made some very big moves at the deadline to solidify themselves as contenders in the West. They have a great defence lead by Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. They also added some size as they acquired Paul Gaustad from the Buffalo Sabres, a great bottom 6 addition that adds much needed depth. The Detroit Red Wings are a team you can never count out, all the playoff appearances and Stanley Cups show you how good the scouting staff is with this team, who never picks high in the draft. This is the 3rd playoff meeting between these two teams, with Detroit prevailing both times. I think however, with the moves Nashville has made, it will make a huge impact in this series, and the Nashville powerplay is now one that is dangerous any time it gets a chance.

Preds in 7

Series MVP: Mike Fisher. He will lead the way in points in this series and it seems throughout his career, this guy has scored some pretty clutch goals. You add guys like Erat, Wilson, and the Kostitsyns’ upfront, and you know he'll be playing with players who can feed this guy the puck.

Series goat: Todd Bertuzzi. This guy has definitely got his game back, he loves to go to the front of the net and get involved, but that will be his downfall this time around. He has a tendency to take bad penalties, or take his team off the powerplay. With Nashville's defence, look for Todd to be shutdown and frustrated.

And finally, The greater Calgary open. it's a very tough field this year with lots of tough competition. Jay Bouemeester should be near the front of the leaderboard this weekend as he has been hitting the links every single year of his professional career to date. He's also quite commonly found in the minus column, so expect a great tournament out of him. In the long run though we feel that Jerome Iginla's experience accompanied by his knowledge of this course, being that he plays it year after year. Will see him defending his title and coming out on top once again.

Thanks for sticking this one out, it was long, we know

Hope you enjoy round 1.

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blog-0921111001334019948.jpegMaybe your team didn’t make the playoffs and you’re looking for someone to throw your support behind or you’re from Vancouver and just can’t be bothered with the regular season.

Either way, with the playoffs only a couple of days away, it’s now time to act like you care and have been behind the Canucks all year long, every step of the way.

Feeling a little uneasy about making the leap from not watching a game all regular season to a know-it-all super fan? Don’t worry,

BrowntoBure are here to provide you with some tips that will help you to fit right in during your Canucks playoff experience.

First and foremost no Canuck fan can even consider being taken seriously unless they are sporting team gear. Don’t have any? Borrow from a friend… Most fans have plenty to go around and you might even get lucky with a Linden shirt, who you can in turn tell everyone is your favourite player of all time… Tug at the heart strings, everyone loves Trevor and you’ll be in the good books right away.

Really want to up the ante? Go out and purchase a pink Canucks jersey, nothing says you love your team more than showing complete disregard in pride for yourself in the name of the Canucks.

If you’re fortunate enough to own your own vehicle, head on down to your local Canadian Tire and pick up a Vancouver Canucks car flag… spare no expense here, the more you are able to fit on your car, the more obvious it will be, that you indeed are a fan.

If you hear a conversation regarding the Canucks taking place, be it at your workplace, a pub, or even the grocery store for that matter all you have to do is mention the year 1994.

Again, only the most die hard of fans are aware of how awesome this was. Remember though, you were in the building for any and every game someone may mention. You may also want to throw in the name “Captain Kirk” for good measure. “The Save” would also be a nice touch, not necessary though.

Now in the event that you actually sit down to watch a game with a group of friends you’re going to want to keep a few key points in mind.

1. Regardless of what happens leading up to the goal, you must curse Roberto Luongo as soon as any puck crosses the Canucks goal line, a tasteless dig at his background and a comment about how Schneider would have stopped it will also add to the appearance you know your stuff. Be careful not to go overboard on this one though, it’s nice to keep a couple Schneider’s in your back pocket to be used at a later date.

2. Every single penalty called throughout the course of the game is a terrible call; the refs, the league and the announcers are all against the Canucks and will stop at nothing to make them lose. Gary Bettman, remember that name… You will need it a lot if you’re going to go the conspiracy route.

3. Any time someone with the name Sedin on the back of their jersey has the puck, start yelling shoot. Believe it or not they can hear you. The desired effect may not happen right away, but when it does, it is because they heard you… So be sure to take credit for it.

If you find yourself in the situation that the Canucks have a lead in the series always remember, that while it’s nice to win the series, winning it at home is always better.

A good example of expressing your knowledge of this fact would be to say something like “You know, I wouldn’t even mind if they lost game 6, winning at home would be awesome” Or if you really want to stand out, you have tickets to game 7.

If for any reason someone becomes suspicious of you and questions your commitment to the team and your fandom, there is one thing you must always remember.

Your father has been taking you to games since you were 5 years old.

While there are many more intricacies of being a die-hard Canucks fan, consider this your tutorial for getting in the door and being able to hold your own with the best.

And Remember, Go Canucks Go… as long as they are winning, you don’t want to seem like you are trying too hard.

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blog-0019346001332810479.jpegWelcome to another edition of Monday Meltdown.

This week we take a look back at Duncan Keith's cheap shot on Daniel Sedin that outraged all of Vancouver and wonder, was it preventable?

Before you start yelling at your computer, of course we know it was preventable from the stand point of if Duncan Keith was not a dirty player and a complete idiot who cannot control his elbows the play would never have taken place. But what if there was a deterrent playing along side the Sedin twins, someone like Zack Kassian?

When trade deadline day came a huge shockwave was sent through Canuck Nation when fan favourite Cody Hodgson was shipped to Buffalo for Zack Kassian the majority of the fan base flipped out. After looking a little deeper into Kassian's skill set though it became quite apparent that this guy was brought in not only for his speed, talent and first round potential, but also his size and toughness. It was well documented that the Canucks were pushed around in the cup finals last year against Boston and they had nobody to do anything about it. I think for the most part fans were ok with losing a little offense for some much needed grit.

With the Canucks having had a playoff spot virtually locked up around the time of Kassian's arrival, one must ask the question, why was Kassian not given a look along side the twins? Especially when you take into account the slump that both of them were going through for about three weeks that subsequently saw Alex Burrows moved off of their line. This was a perfect opportunity to see if they had any chemistry together should the offense dry up at a later point and Vigneault needed to shake things up.

During this time to it had also been made quite apparent that the NHL was starting to veer back to the old pre-lockout, clutch and grab style hockey, which was leading to an increasing amount of players taking runs at the Sedins, and getting away with it.

With wins and losses not really being of the outmost importance during this stretch and really for the reminder of the season, due to the Canucks basically being locked in to 2nd place in the Western Conference, it would have been nice to have someone along side the Sedins to deter people from taking runs at them. While Kassian is not the biggest guy and we have a very small sample size of his fights, he will step up and go if he needs to and he definitely would have made Duncan Keith think twice before delivering his gutless cheap shot.

We've seen numerous times already in Alain Vigneault's tenure with the Vancouver Canucks that his is not the most fond of young players.

Grabner never got a fair shake here, was traded and flourished.

Cody Hodgson was finally developing into a star, with limited ice time but clearly didn't see eye to eye with Vigneault. Traded.

I certainly hope we're not seeing a repeat performance here with Kassian.

When there is no risk of dropping in the standings, you would think that this would be the perfect time to increase his minutes and see what he's got, while also being able to protect your stars.

If one of the specific reason's this kid was brought to Vancouver was to increase the toughness of this team, why not put him in a position where it matters?

Furthermore, why not give him some increased minutes, instead of stapling him on the fourth line, as Vengeful so often does.

The Canucks may have missed a huge opportunity here and now Daniel Sedan is on the sidelines for an indefinite period of time.

Whether Kassian could have prevented this injury from happening is definitely not guaranteed, but it could not have hurt.

Now he is up on the first line playing with Henrico, as what seems to be a late reaction by Vigneault to ensure that Henrik at least makes it to the playoffs healthy.

Lets just hope Daniel can get back in time for the playoffs, or this team has no chance of getting back to the cup.

It's going to look real bad on the coaching staff and management if their quest for the Cup was greatly diminished by an injury that they themselves could have prevented.

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blog-0394575001332554448.jpegFool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. What happens when we continuously get duped? I guess we’re all just a bunch of idiots with egg on our face, right Shanny?

Yesterday the majority of Vancouver fans were bracing themselves for Duncan Keith’s hearing Friday afternoon with league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan and the inevitability of nothing more than 5 games, as is the rule for hearings which take place via phone call.

Late last night there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon though as news broke that the NHL had asked Keith for a face to face meeting which he subsequently waived. Allowing him to be suspended for any amount of games the league saw fit.

What had happened for the league to want to request an in person meeting with Keith?

Was there evidence of the accusation made by Henrik Sedin that Duncan Keith had threatened to “get” his brother Daniel after the hit he threw on Keith earlier in the game?

Or was the league going to nail Keith for the clear video evidence of the intent to injure he so ruthlessly displayed as he lodged his elbow into Daniel’s face, in an attempt to injure the Canucks star?

Grab yourself some water folks because your going to need something to wash down the vomit as you throw up in your mouth watching and listening to the crap coming out of Shanahan’s mouth as he completely tip toes around both of these very important facts.

Shanahan's explanation:

http://video.nhl.com...nsole?id=167025

Why is there no mention of it being the clear retaliatory hit that it was? Which in everyone’s opinion made the hit that much worse.

Remember rule 48?

What the hell happened to that, and why is there no mention of it?

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted. However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit or the head contact on an otherwise legal body check was avoidable, can be considered.

Let’s not forget that this hit was only given a 2 minute minor as well, also a complete crock.

48.5 Match Penalty - The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent with an illegal check to the head.

If deemed appropriate, supplementary discipline can be applied by the Commissioner at his discretion.

Are you following the string of contradictions yet? Good.

In last season’s Stanley Cup Finals Aaron Rome was suspended 4 games for his hit on Nathan Horton of the Boston Bruins. While this was a late hit and contact to the head was made, Horton did at one point have the puck and it could easily be construed as a reckless hockey play. When looked at in comparison to what Keith did Wednesday night, there is no argument. Keith’s was far worse.

Following the suspension the NHL explained to the fans that playoff games were looked at as being worth double that of a regular season game, so Rome’s 4 games suspension was basically an 8 game suspension.

I’m no mathematician, but unless Gary Bettman and his band of idiots somehow managed to rewrite generations of the worlds mathematical equations, as they have done with the NHL rulebook countless times, 8 is still greater than 4.

Making matters worse, Brendan Shanahan met with the GM’s of all 30 teams last summer and stated that in his opinion “Every playoff series should be looked at as a 7 game season and being suspended for 1 playoff game is worth considerably more.” And "1 playoff game is the equivalent of 12 regular season games."

So if we go by the precedent that Shanahan seemed to be setting,

Aaron Rome’s 4 game suspension was the equivalent to 48 regular season games?

Meaning Duncan Keith’s 5 game suspension is worth… 5 games.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Duncan Keith deserved 28 games for his blatant cheap shot. He does however deserve to be given some sort of punishment for his actions though and met at the very least, the same criteria that Aaron Rome and the Canucks had to deal with last year. As it sits right now the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup hopes are hanging in the balance as their star player is sidelined with a concussion. Daniel may be able to return in a few weeks time, or he may be out for the duration of the playoffs, that is yet to be determined. But one things rings disgustingly true, Duncan Keith gets off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and I’d argue is actually being rewarded with a nice little rest leading up to the Blackhawks playoff run.

Way to go NHL,

You have missed yet another opportunity to make a statement that you care about the safety and well being of your players and that your game is one that needs to be taken seriously. This was your chance to set a precedent, everything was set up on a tee for you and you blew it.

Shame on us for expecting anything else.

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blog-0213593001332468495.jpegLast night in the game between the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks, Hawks defensemen Duncan Keith delivered a vicious elbow to the face of Daniel Sedin, resulting in a concussion.

This is nothing new for the Chicago Blackhawks or Keith for that matter, who has a history of retaliating with cheap shots. Warranted, Daniels earlier hit on Keith was a little late and his shoulder did ride up after initial contact with the chest of Keith that does not excuse the blatant head shot delivered by Keith.

Last year in the Cup finals Aaron Rome was suspended 4 games for a hit on Nathan Horton, while it was a bit late and shoulder did contact Horton's head, it was still a hockey play. The hit last night resembled nothing of that sort. Last year the league explained that playoff games are worth double, so 4 games was really looked at as 8. If you take the same criteria into consideration and the fact that Keith's hit was far more reckless and intentional, there is no doubt whatsoever that this should be a minimum of 8 games.

Unfortunately we all know how the NHL operates, and earlier today it was announced that Keith would be having his hearing with Brendan Shanahan via phone, meaning that the suspension will in all likelihood be no more than 5 games. Ridiculous.

What really gets me with this whole situation is not the disgusting hit itself, but rather the way it was dealt with in an extremely unprofessional manner from the media in Chicago.

If you'd like to subject yourself to repetitive, vicious face palms, here are some of my favourite gems offered up from the collection of jackasses who call themselves writers.

Barry Rozner, Daily Herald:

"Alain Vigneault is fortunate Roger Goodell is not the boss. If he were, the Canucks head coach might have himself a bounty of trouble after Vancouver brought its cheap-shot theater company to the United Centre Wednesday night."

What?

Steve Rosenbloom, Chicago Tribune:

"And then Keith turned stupid. Then he became a Canuck. Then he sunk to Vancouver's gutless, cheap shot levels. He should know better. All the Hawks should. Friends don't let friends act like Canucks"

Steve Konroyd, CSNChicago.com:

"I'm not going to speculate as to whether Duncan Keith gets suspended or not. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. What I do know is Daniel Sedin will think twice about hitting a guy in the head expecting nothing in return. That's hockey"

It simply astonishes me that these clowns not only have jobs writing, but they actually get paid for it as well. It's also great to throw out a comment like Steve Konroyd did as to say the eye-for-an-eye mentality is ok, thus justifying what Duncan Keith did. As previously stated, there is a huge difference in the severity of the two hits and for him to say this is completely asinine.

There were also many claims out of Chicago that the reason Daniel Sedin was being sent back to Vancouver to see a specialist was to increase the pending suspension the NHL is expected to hand to Keith.

Or, maybe it's just a league wide protocol to ensure the utmost safety and well being of your players, unlike the Blackhawks, the Canucks don't rush their players back into games when they are clearly concussed a-la Brent Seabrook.

This was the same accusation thrown out in Boston when Brad Marchand low-bridged Sami Salo earlier this year on an equally gutless play.

I Myself cannot wait until the playoffs and I pray the Canucks journey takes them through Chicago and Boston again as I cannot wait to read the hypocritical spin these buffoons will come up with next. These two markets contain the most biased, ridiculous viewpoints I have ever seen in the mainstream sports media. If you keep on saying it eventually you may convince everyone it's true right?

If the dream falls short again for the Canucks this year though, as much as it would make me vomit, I'd love to see a Bruins/Hawks final. These two cities deserve each other, they are like the deadbeat losers who hang out by the dumpster during class in high school, while all the other kids are busy learning. I for one know the truth, as do the majority of hockey fans.

While we're on the topic of facts, the Vancouver Canucks.... those gutless, cheap shot artists. Are the only team in the NHL that has yet to have a player suspended this year.

The truth is out there,

As long as you don't go looking for it in Boston and Chicago.

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As Lower Mainland residents woke up this morning morning to a raging wind storm that has knocked out power in a few areas, you have to wonder if this is the same storm that has recently put the Vancouver Canucks in the dark. Vancouver, who is on a lengthy 7 game homestand, are now 2-3 on that homestand, after dropping back to back Saturday night decisions to lowly Buffalo and Montreal, with a win against Winnipeg sandwiched in between.

Before this 7 game stand at Rogers Arena, the Canucks schedule was very road heavy, and I was thinking if Vancouver managed to have a decent road record up til then, that they would have a very good shot at repeating as President Trophy champions with most of March and April on home ice. They did better. The Canucks managed 22 road wins, the most in the NHL, and you had to think that with the Blues playing a lot of road games, and the Red Wings being plagued by alot of injuries, that the sea had parted for the Canucks and all they had to do was do what they have been doing for a better part of 8 seasons, being a tough team to play against on home ice.

In the 5 games so far in March, the Canucks two wins were a 2-0 blanking of the St.Louis Blues, and a come from behind 3-2 win against the Jets. Both games, even though ending in victories, showed signs of a Canucks team that was either tired of even bored. The losses were more alarming though, and to teams the Canucks should feast on. Buffalo opened up a 3-0 lead just 6 minutes in with very sloppy play by the Canucks defence. In true Canuck fashion, they mounted a comeback but fell 5-3. The Dallas game was almost as painful as the game this past Saturday, with Vancouver opening the scoring in the 2nd period, only to show no signs of life afterwards and lose 5-2. The loss to Montreal, the last place team in the East, was probably the most humiliating loss of the season, a 4-1 setback. Ryan Kesler opened the scoring in this one, but after that, you didn't see many scoring opportunities from Vancouver. They played like they were protecting a lead even when they were tied 1-1. The Canadiens scored a weak one on Roberto Luongo early in the 3rd to take a 2-1 lead, and then after running into penalty trouble, Montreal capitalized on the two man advantage and it was pretty much lights out after that.

The biggest concern in all this, the play of the Canucks go to guys, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who have now gone pointless in 8 straight contests. You can say the chances were there and the effort as well, but these guys are based on the scoresheet, and they haven't been on it since a thrilling 4-3 win in Detroit on February 23rd. Some will say they rather have these guys slump now before the playoffs, others will tell you its alarming and concerning to see these guys go this long without any push back. We won't know how long this will last until we see them dig themselves out of this on their own. Ryan Kesler is looking like he's getting back on track, and it would be a great thing to see both Henrik and Daniel Sedin go into the postseason with some razzle dazzle, otherwise, this town known for its tough love on its athletes, will have some choice words for the two.

These guys are very good at what they do, and even though their point totals will most likely drop after the last two magical seasons, I think we know deep down that they'll be fine. I'm sure most people will take this slump happening now than in the playoffs cause these two will be magnified from April on, like they've never been looked at before.

Tonight the Phoenix Coyotes are in town, a team that is in the crazy playoff race in the West with 4 other teams for the final two playoff spots. They havent won a game yet in March, but have compiled enough OT/SO points to stay in the race and sit in 7th for the moment. This game has all the ingredients to send fans into a trap coma, with most meetings between these two going past 60 minutes. This is not the game you expect Daniel and Henrik to end their slumps, but who knows. We've seen alot of magic from these guys when you dont expect it, and it still catches some of us off guard even though we've been watching them for over 10 years.

A Stanley Cup on their resume would definately clear the skies and push the raging winds away that have been howling around this team and city for a better part of 40 years.

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blog-0507709001331600935.jpegIt's Monday and you know what that means. BrowntoBure are back with another edition of Monday Meltdown.

As you well know, this past weekend was Daylight Savings, where we all set our clocks forward an hour. Unfortunately it seems the NHL lost this message somewhere in translation as they've set the clock back, all the way to the year 2003, the height up the "Dead Puck Era". As of last week the NHL and its' astute officiating crews had called approximately 350 less obstruction related penalties than the previous season. Is this just a coincidence, or a league mandate?

One could make that the argument that after years of an average of 3 to 5 power plays a night, that in the middle of the season, the players have finally figured it out. That person would be an idiot. If you were to watch any game around the league right now you would see that not only is this not the case, but there are arguably more infractions being committed on a game to game basis that just simple are not being called.

Coming out of the 04-05 lockout that was supposed to be the end of the "Dead Puck Era” the game started to shift, back to that of fast paced, offensive hockey. Subsequently, teams like the Vancouver Canucks and the Buffalo Sabres, to name a few began building their teams accordingly.

Henrik Sedin, captain and number one centre of the Vancouver Canucks and man of few words generally, appears to have finally had enough.

"This might be the only sport where the rules change throughout the season, depending who you are and who you are playing"

I think we can all agree with that statement there, and even accept it. As it's been widely known since the beginning of the NHL, that there is a completely different set of rules come playoff time. Just ask the Boston Bruins, they not only took advantage of that knowledge, they rode it all the way to a Stanley Cup. Apparently some teams missed the memo. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that their owner, Jeremy Jacobs just so happens to be the head of the Board of Governors for the NHL. Just like I'm sure it's just a coincidence that teams such as the St.Louis Blues, who are almost completely defunct of offense began their miraculous climb up the standings all the way to first place overall, about the same time power play’s began to drop league wide. Let us not forget about the small market teams such as Nashville and Dallas who also play a very defensive style, they are also currently sitting in playoff positions, as are the New York Rangers, where's head office again? And the Phoenix Coyotes, who owns them again?

At the same time as all these teams are climbing the standings the Vancouver Canucks, highest scoring team in the NHL and for over a span of a year and a half, the number one power play in the NHL seem to be in free fall mode. The main cause of which is the constant abuse of the back-to-back Art Ross trophy winners, Daniel and Henrik Sedin are currently in a scoring drought of one point between the two of them in the last 8 games.

Sorry Canucks, you did a great job building your team to succeed in the "new NHL” but it's time to throw that blueprint right out the window, Gary and the boys have another agenda.

Now is this just all one big remarkably large string of coincidences, or is the league going out of it's way to decrease the amount of penalties being called to boost the chances of some of these teams previously mentioned? Or could it be as simple as the "anything goes" way of calling the NHL playoffs has just started far earlier this year?

Another thing that crossed my mind the other day is that this being the final year of the NHL and NHLPA's collective bargaining agreement, could the NHL already be starting to posture with something that they know the players are going to want to have dealt with when the meetings begin in the summer? I for one would not put it passed them.

Whatever the case, as fans we were told coming out of the last lockout, the days of "clutch and grab" hockey were over. I cannot count the number of times over the past few months where I have been watching a game and thought to myself "How the hell is that not a penalty"

Now I'm all for tough hockey, but when a certain league wide standard has been repeatedly driven down your throat for years, shouldn't you expect it to stay constant... Or at the very least improve? All I see is digression, very rapidly at that. As this season comes to a close we're headed right back to that much-maligned "Dead Puck Era" that we thought we were done with. The Players, coaches, owners, etcetera will all still get their money, but once again, it's us the fans who are suffering. I don't like it, not one bit.

See you next Monday.

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Monday Meltdown

blog-0035553001331003569.jpegWelcome to Monday Meltdown. Starting today, every Monday BrowntoBure will take a look back at the week that was in Canuck land and release a little of that Monday stress by ranting on something that really had us shaking our heads.

Allow us to ease into this by going to the well for something we could just as easily title "Vancouver's response to every single goal in the last 3 years"

How many of you wake up Monday morning excited for the week?

Well if you're anything like me you loathe the moment the alarm sounds and you realize you've got to head back to work. This generally puts me in a foul mood all day where it's generally quite easy to agitate me. One of the most surefire ways to get under my skin at such a time is to make ignorant remarks in regards to the play of Roberto Luongo.

My alarm clock is set to sports radio where I usually lay in bed for a bout 15 minutes before I get up where I get my recap of the weekends events.

Today I was granted the pleasure of waking up to a very deep and insightful reminder as to what drives me up the wall every time the Canucks lose a game. "This guy just cannot win us big games"

Right... So not only am I tired, it's Monday and I now have a massive headache and probably an even bigger damage bill as I instinctively drove my head through the bedroom wall.

Looking back on it, maybe just turning the radio off was a much better solution. But you have to understand that living in Vancouver and listening to the morons who call in on a daily basis is like that huge 10-car pile up on the highway. You know you shouldn’t but you just cannot help from slowing down to have a look.

Saturday night the Buffalo Sabres led by Mr. Nobody appreciates me, Cody Hodgson came to town.

The fans were fired up, and undoubtedly the 5 players who were going against their former teams for the first time surely must have been as well.

Wow, we really misjudged that one.

Something that has been an all too common experience this season reared it's ugly head yet again, the Canucks came out completely flat and were run right out of the building with the Sabres scoring 3 goals in the first 5 minutes of the game. Roberto faced 7 shots for a save percentage of .571 and was pulled after the 3rd goal. What many people in Vancouver fail to realize was that although he definitely did not look to be on his game at all (Mason Raymond blasting a puck off his collar bone in warm up may have had something to do with that) this was not the reason why he was pulled. This was the classic case of a "mercy pull” where rather than letting the goalie sit in net and get peppered all night behind a team that clearly isn't ready to play, the coach elects to switch his goalie in an attempt to get the attention of his players. While Roberto definitely is not free of any criticism here, he's not the one to blame. For the better part of 3 months the Canucks have been coming out like this in the first period of many games, and Roberto has had to seemingly stand on his head every night, until the team finds their legs. This is something that goes right over the heads of the vast majority of clueless knobs who like to call themselves Vancouver Canuck fans. I took in this game at a local pub and was amazed, but not surprised at the remarks coming from the people sitting in my vicinity. "Trade him" "Way to choke again" "Should have started Schneider” and a perennial favourite of mine, the stand up and applaud when the camera show's Luongo skating to the bench.

Since November 1st Luongo has played 33 games where he has allowed only 67 goals on 971 shots for a Goals Against Average of 2.03 and a Save percentage of .931 which culminated in a dazzling shutout performance of the St.Louis Blues on March the 1st. Which just so happened to be a battle for first place in the NHL.

It blows my mind how ignorant the fans in this city can be while they completely ignore the MVP like numbers Luongo has been putting up this season. It just goes to show that no matter what someone has done in the past, there's a real what have you done for me lately mentality going on here and there are people just sitting, waiting and dare I say hoping for Luongo to falter ever so slightly so they can rip the guy to shreds.

So I'm going to give you a piece of advice here Canucks fans. Instead of waiting to tear this guy down at every single opportunity, how about you stop and think about how well he has played this year and where this team might be without him putting up these types of numbers and consistently bailing out your team when they haven't been ready to perform. Not only will it make your hockey watching experience much more enjoyable, it will greatly improve my Mondays!

Who am I kidding?

See you next week.

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BrowntoBure

blog-0328146001330668411.jpegOn yet another night where the Vancouver Canucks failed to show up for a first period against the St. Louis Blues there was one guy who was ready to play right off the hop. Zack Kassian single handedly accounted for half of the Canucks shots through one period of play and looked quite dangerous in doing so. He was setting up teammates and driving hard to the net, something this team has been looking for since the departure of Todd Bertuzzi. Mason Raymond, take notes!

If there's one way to find your way into the heart of a Vancouver hockey fan, it's by bringing energy, passion and physicality to the game, and that Kassian did. It seemed as though every singled shift he was covering the full area of the offensive zone delivering blistering hits and as the game progressed it began rubbing off on his teammates. Kassian and Lapierre were credited with 10 hits tonight, all of which being ones that you know the opposing player felt.

After what I saw tonight I contemplated what the possible lines would be for the playoffs:

Daniel-Henrik-Burrows

Higgins- Kesler- Booth

Malhotra- Pahlsson-Hansen

Bitz- Lapierre-Kassian

Bottom 6 is obviously very interchangeable as all of these guys can play.

Over Alain Vigneault's tenure the 4th line of this team has been a revolving door. Be it guys that could fight but not play, or guys that weren't tough enough to strike fear into any opponent. It's only been 2 games but the Canucks appear to have signs of what they have been looking for in Kassian, not only can he play the physical game, but he's displayed flashed of offensive prowess that will give Vigneault the ability to put him on any line and expect success.

With the NHL quite clearly beginning to revert back to the old style of clutch and grab hockey that bored fans to death over the last 2 decades, with less talented teams being able to trap their way through games in the hopes of stealing points, having a guy that can bring this to the team will definitely be a huge asset over what is expected to be another long playoff run.

While many of us are still unsure about what the loss of Cody Hodgson will bring, but you can be sure of one thing. If this is what we can expect from Kassian on a night-to-night basis, the city will fall in love with this kid and he may return the favour in the summer, as the missing piece to what this team needs to reach their ultimate goal.

BrowntoBure

A deal for the ages

blog-0309022001330400368.jpgWhen you love something let it go, if it succeeds in Buffalo... You're screwed... Or something like that.

Today Mike Gillis made a decision that could change the course of history for Vancouver hockey fans and their beloved team, with the decision to deal fan favourite Cody Hodgson to the Buffalo Sabres for Zack Kassian. Fans were outraged when the news broke of the trade just after the 12pm trade deadline on Monday. No police cars were torched, no windows were smashed and not one building was looted. Although, Authentix did drop the price of Cody Hodgson jersey down to $100, which... if you ask me is a total rip off for the jersey of someone who no longer plays for the team.

All kidding aside there was an instant uproar from Canuck nation, as fans seemed to ask in unison "What the hell is he thinking?" You can definitely add me to the list of those who were not impressed with this deal, to say the least. After some reflecting though I think I've come around on this one though. It's well known around these parts and throughout the NHL what took place in last years Stanley Cup finals and that the Canucks were on a mission this year to find someone, anyone who would be able to deter such things from taking place, and interfering with their ultimate goal of winning the cup.

Is Zack Kassian that guy?

Kassian is 6'4, 228 lbs. Can skate, can hit, can score and most importantly will drop the gloves.

He has all the qualities that the Canucks have been looking for in a player, there's one draw back though. At the ripe age of 21 years old Kassian has very little NHL experience and hasn't quite been able to put all of these skills together to be the complete player that everyone thinks he can be. Cody Hodgson went through the same sort of growing pains, and was just coming into his own this year, but as a number 3 centre behind the likes of 2 bona fide NHL superstars in Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler, it had become apparent that Hodgson would never get a chance at top 6 minutes with the Canucks.

Gillis has really taken a leap of faith with this deal in my opinion; it's basically unheard of for a leading Calder trophy candidate to be dealt at any time. This is the kind of deal that can bring you a Stanley Cup, or could get you fired.

The Canucks are asking a lot of young Kassian to come in and fill the void that has been so greatly debated all season by the media and fans of this city, if he can handle the pressure he just may have his name on Lord Stanley's Cup.

But if not, there could be some major moves taking place in Vancouver next summer and Mike Gillis will not be the one making that decision.

It's been great to follow Cody as a fan ever since the day he was drafted by the Canucks, and heralded as the next great captain of this team. Unfortunately we will not see this come to fruition, but I have no doubt in my mind that he will go on to great things with the Buffalo Sabres and captain them for years to come. Lets just hope he waits until after the Saturday night showdown versus his former mates to start that new chapter of his career, in the right direction.

BrowntoBure

Back in the 2005-2006 season, the Vancouver Canucks were lead by a watered down version of the West Coast Express, and had dug themselves quite the hole trying to get into the postseason. They never did, and missed the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, but they looked to have found something quite unique in the process. We all know how important games in March are, especially when trying to solidify a playoff spot, and with some injury problems, the Canucks called up 24 year old Alexandre Burrows, who had been playing in the AHL for the Canucks affiliate, Manitoba Moose. Before playing in Manitoba, Alex was winning ball hockey tournaments in Quebec, and playing in the ECHL for the likes of the Greenville Grrrowl, Columbia Inferno and the Baton Rouge Kingfish.

Dave Nonis, the GM at the time, had liked what he saw from Burrows over in Manitoba. He had piled up 30 points in 33 games in 2005-2006, so Nonis gave the kid a shot with the big club. He played his first NHL game January 2nd, 2006 at home against the St.Louis Blues in a 4-1 loss. On Jan 10th, just a week later, at home against the hated Toronto Maple Leafs, Alex scored his first NHL goal on Leafs goaltender Ed Belfour. You could see glimpses of a star in the making. His play on the ice was aggressive, and you could see the determination, this guy did not want to go back to the minors. In a pivotal game late that season against Los Angeles, Alex Burrows made a believer out of hockey fans on the West Coast, after notching his 1st career NHL hat trick in a huge 7-4 win. As stated earlier, Vancouver went on to miss the playoffs, but did they find a piece that would help them in years to come?

In 2006-2007, Burrows was a mainstay on the Vancouver roster, but with limited ice time. New head coach Alain Vigneault also used Alex on the penalty kill, and he saw a player willing to block shots and put it all out there to get the job done. He, Ryan Kesler, and goaltender Roberto Luongo had propelled the teams penalty kill to number one in the NHL. The offensive production however, wasnt quite there as Burrows struggled, scoring 3 goals and 9 assists in 81 games. That season he played in his first career NHL playoff games and gained some very valuable playoff experience playing into round 2.

In the years that followed, Alex Burrows became a household name amongst Vancouver hockey fans. He began playing in a much bigger role for the team, and became a top line player for the Canucks in the 2008-2009 season. The chemistry he had found with Daniel and Henrik Sedin was instant magic. The amount of highlite reel goals between the three was just fantastic to see as a Canucks fan. Alex had become one of the Canucks more important players, and quite the agitator. Teams across the league began to notice, and so did fans. That season, while on a 9 game funk, Alex Burrows scored one of the more dramatic goals in Canucks history, in a 4-3 home ice win against the Carolina Hurricanes. With the game tied at 3-3 late and with Carolina on the powerplay, Ryan Kesler chipped the puck ahead to an open Alex Burrows who scored on the breakaway shorthanded with under a minute left to end the doom and gloom that had hung around the team for two weeks. That goal turned the tide, and the Vancouver Canucks made a charge up the standings and won the Northwest division crown on the last day of the season. He followed that up by scoring the double overtime winner in St.Louis in round 1 of the playoffs that season as the Canucks completed the 4 game sweep of the Blues.

Alex Burrows became "that" player. A player that opposing teams hated, but someone the home fans admired greatly for his contributions. He also became a team player, and clearly wanted to do anything he could to make the team successful. He went as far as taking a pay-cut when he signed a 4 year extension worth 8 million dollars on February 4th, 2009. We all know he would have received more on the open market, but he saw something special in Vancouver, and that's a situation that's few and far between. The following two seasons in Vancouver saw his line mates Henrik and Daniel Sedin win a few huge awards at the annual NHL Awards. Henrik with the Art Ross in 2010, and Daniel with the Art Ross and Ted Lindsay in 2011. The twins had mentioned a big part of their success had to do with playing alongside Alex. He has now scored over 20 goals in 4 straight seasons, including 2011-2012.

Through his career so far, Burrows has been the part of many controversies. From referees out to get him, to Ron McLean ( a former official) verbally assaulting Alex on Hockey Night in Canada, even to this day. Many fans of other teams started to hate on him cause through their eyes he was the subject of diving and embellishing to get powerplays. Through all this hatred from every corner of the hockey world, Burrows just continued to play hockey.

This past Spring though, at the start of the run to the Stanley Cup finals, he may have just cemented his name in Canucks lore. The Vancouver Canucks, heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup, faced off against the hated and despised Chicago Blackhawks in round 1. The Canucks had built up a 3-0 series lead and looked home and cooled off, only to see the officiating turn towards them, and the Hawks reeling off 3 straight wins to force a deciding Game 7. The city was devastated, and the fans demoralized, at the thought of one of the biggest collapses in pro sports happening to their team, right in their backyard, against a team so hated. This game was literally the biggest game in Canucks history, and it was only round 1. Burrows scored early in the game on a feed from Ryan Kesler to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead. Who else?? Burrows somehow, some way always managed to come through in monster games. That lead stood almost the entire game. Alex was also awarded a penalty shot at the beginning of the 3rd to ice the game, but he was robbed by Crawford. With just under 2 minutes remaining, the Blackhawks were penalized, and Canuck Nation was ready to celebrate, but Jonathon Toews gave Canucks fans a scare they'll never forget, by scoring shorthanded, to tie the game and send it to overtime.

This game already felt like a loss, atleast to me, but alot of Canucks fans. The amount of disbelief and nervousness across the entire province was at an extreme. Overtime had begun, and just a few minutes in, Burrows was called for a penalty, and Canuck Nation was standing on very thin ice. You could just imagine how Alex had felt. He had a chance on a penalty shot to put the game away but couldn't, and here he was, sitting in the penalty box, putting his team shorthanded, with a chance to forever scar Canucks fans. His good friend Roberto Luongo bailed him out by making a massive stop on Patrick Sharp point blank. The penalty was killed, and Alex saw this as an opportunity to finish what he should have earlier. After a dump in by Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis, Hawks defenceman Chris Campoli didn't like what he saw on the boards and decided to lob the puck into centre ice out of his own zone. At this point, everything happened so fast. It was a blur, and you just couldn't believe what you had witnessed. Alex grabbed the lob pass by Campoli out of the air, threw it down on the ice, skated in about a couple strides, and unleashed a slapshot top corner over Crawford to win Game 7, send the defending cup champs home, and send the city into a frenzy. He did it again. Alex Burrows, two goals in Game 7 ,when we needed him the most, delivered. The Canucks moved on all the way to the cup finals, to see Alex score another big overtime goal in Game 2 against the Boston Bruins, and 3 points on the night, he clearly was Mr. Clutch.

Its astounding really, that this kid was so close to quitting hockey, after trying over and over again, to get teams to give him a chance.Today, people proudly wear his jersey and t-shirts all over town. His involvement in charities and community work only solidifies himself as one of the more popular Canucks in history. Tonight, in Nasvhille, Alex will play his 500th NHL game, a truly amazing accomplishment for a guy that wasn't supposed to make it big. You have to hope as a fan, that Alex Burrows never wakes up from this dream.

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BrowntoBure

Vancouver Valentines

blog-0256450001329186204.jpgWell it's that time of year again, Valentines Day. Being that most guys pretty much hate this day, it's time to have a little fun.

Ever wonder what the players on your favourite team would write in their valentines to a loved one? Me neither, but i did come up with a few ideas of what some of the Vancouver Canucks might write in theirs.

Cody Hodgson:

Dear overtime,

these past few weeks I've been watching you a lot from a far, I know that might sound kind of creepy to you, but you fascinate me. Although I only get to see you for 5 minutes every couple of days, and you seemingly have no idea I'm there, my need for you grows with each passing game. Maybe it's my age? Trust me O.T I'm very wise beyond my years, and if you would just give me the chance to get to know you a little better, I'm sure we could create something special.

Roberto Luongo :

Given the love/hate relationship the fans of Vancouver has with their goalie this could definitely be something I see taking place tomorrow. Will he get what he wants? Or is he looking for love in all the wrong places?

Alain Vigneault:

Roses are red, your jersey is blue.

I could not skate and neither can you.

Your hands of stone,

and beard so soft.

When I gaze upon your eyes,

I always get lost.

You remind me of myself,

when I was a Sabre.

That's why I keep Keith in the press box,

and forever he'll stay there.

Pucks over the glass and 4 game suspensions,

you are a liability, but I pay no attention.

What you lack talent,

you make up for in try.

This is why Aaron,

you will forever be my guy.

Love,

Coach V.

Mike Gillis:

Dear any top 4 Dman,

I need you and cannot stop thinking about you, with you in my life nothing would stand between my goal of a stanley cup.

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BrowntoBure

After going one by one through each NHL team message board the past couple of days and asking the question, why do they hate us? Some things have been made very clear.

  • In almost every market in the Eastern USA the common response as to why they hate the Canucks seems to be quite simple, they don't. Most of them could actually care less about the Canucks as not only do they rarely meet with the current structure of the NHL schedule, but they have bigger fish to fry in terms of their divisional rivals. There was one New York Rangers fan who ever so eloquently put it "F the Canucks, they are overrated and they suck" Interesting, even though almost nobody was willing to bite, a New Yorker swoops in to save the day. One common topic found out east was definately a hatred for the Boston Bruins, something we can all share. Surprisingly to me anyways, this was pretty much the same opinion of Eastern based Canadian teams. Montreal and Toronto are to busy hating each other to care, and Ottawa is just looking for someone to have an opinion on them one way or another.

  • You then have teams like Columbus, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis who really for the most part also are pretty indifferent to the Canucks and cited losing to us year after year as their mean reason for the dislike.

  • As I ventured south to see what the fans of these teams thought about the Canucks, I discovered something not all too surprising to me. Most of the teams don't even have message boards on their website, so it made it very difficult for me to even find someone. As with the majority of the NHL I decided that their opinion didn't matter because they barely have any fans and the majority of them won't even have teams in the near future.

  • Finally I got around to our biggest rivals, western Canadian divisional foes, previous playoff opponents and fan bases that caught me off guard. The going consensus with fans from Chicago, Boston, Edmonton, Detroit, Colorado was that the Canucks are a bunch of whiners, divers, and hypocrites with bigheaded fans who have absolutely no reason to puff out their chests, as they have never won a thing. Led by of course their "alien twins who can't even shave their faces differently” Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault were also pointed out time after time as a gm and coach who are constantly complaining to the league. Really? Not the way I see it, seems to me they go out of their way to keep their mouth shut most of the time.

The fan bases that caught me rather off guard were San Jose, LA, Dallas and Anaheim. The amount of feedback and previously posted material on the message boards on each one of these teams’ websites was an absolute gold mine. They echoed the same sentiment as our other rivals and went even further, which I was somewhat taken back by as none of these teams are in our division or are really historical rivals of ours, outside of maybe LA. It's my belief that the fact Canucks fans now travel so well, and these are 4 of the easiest accessible markets for them to go see a game, where they generally vastly outnumber the home crowd, and win has something to do with this.

San Jose fans were by far the most aggressive bunch I spoke with. A lot of the fans on that website remarked over and over again that while they had previously hated the Canucks prior to last years western conference final showdown, it reached an all new high as they believe we got every single bounce and lucked our way through the whole series. The main piece of evidence of course being Kevin Bieksa's series winning goal that bounced off the stanchion and landed right on his stick.

When I decided to do this little piece I already knew exactly what most of the response would be, but it's a topic that won't go away in Vancouver and I wanted to see how much validity there was to it. One thing I heard over and over again was that if I didn't know why, then I was clueless. Way to miss the point boys. Another one was the Canucks fans are far to concerned with other peoples views of them and their team. After all of the people I talked to a came to the conclusion that the Vancouver Canucks are not the most hated team in the NHL, far from it actually. It seems to me nothing more than a complete over reaction by the sports media in this city to get people talking. From what I can see hatred is something that is strictly location based in the NHL for the most part, teams in the east hate the east, and teams in the west hate the west. The Vancouver Canucks definitely were the most hated team from the fans of the other 14 teams in the western conference though, as were the Boston Bruins the most hated of the 15 teams out east. This bodes very well should the 2 teams meet in the finals again this year as I suspect we'd have the east cheering for the west and the west cheering for the east, who are you going to cheer for?

The way I've felt for quite a while now is it's good to be hated, which means you're doing what you're supposed to do in a professional sports league, winning games. How many people do you think absolutely despise the Columbus Blue Jackets? Well, besides their own fans, but that's beside the point here.

The Vancouver Canucks have spent nearly 3/4 of their first 41 years as a mediocre team, down right horrible for a lot of it, and nobody cared. We were welcomed into every arena because it was easy win night and we were the loveable losers. Now we are becoming a dominant team in hockey, and people don't like it. I think Canucks fans need to enjoy this while they can, because there's going to come a time again when they aren't a top tier team, and we'll be back to people not caring about us, in either conference.

BrowntoBure

The fire still burns

blog-0587781001328946983.jpgOver the course of the next few months BrowntoBure will be scouring North America, speaking to a fan from each NHL city to find out the answer to the question that just won't seem to go away.

Why do they hate us?

First up, one of Vancouver's oldest foes, The Calgary Flames.

Today we caught up with Trevor Martins, producer of the Sekeres and Price show. Which airs 10am-2pm, Monday to Friday on the Team1040 in Vancouver.

Here's what he had to say:

So living in Vancouver, how exactly did you become a Calgary Flames fan?

Born and raised in North Vancouver, lived in best city on Earth my whole life. The reason I’m a Flames fan is pretty simple really. I started getting into hockey when I was a young kid, maybe 6-7 years old and at the time, the Flames were a powerhouse and won the cup. My earliest hockey memory was the Flames and Habs in the final. I was 6 years old. I jumped on their bandwagon, not knowing what a bandwagon was and haven’t jumped off since. Been through some tough times being a fan, the 7 years in the late 90’s/early 00’s and quite frankly, it’s a tough time right now. But the peaks and valleys of being a fan are worth it.

Who is your all time favourite Calgary Flame?

All time favourite would have to be Al Macinnis. I loved his big shot. Jarome Iginla is definitely up there as well. Love everything about him, everything he represents, on and off the ice.

What's your first memory of a Flames/Canucks game?

As much as I want to say the 89 epic series, I can’t really remember it. I do have that game 7 of that series on DVD though. Mike Vernon shutting down Smyl and Tanti in OT was unreal.

But my earliest memory has to be a bad one for me. I was at the game at the Coliseum, wearing my Fleury jersey, when the Canucks beat the Flames 11-0. I was 9 or 10 years old. I remember my father giving me a hard time the whole drive home as he was a Canucks fan.

A lot has been made in the last couple of years about the Canucks being the most hated team across the NHL, would you agree that they are?

I don’t think there’s any doubt the Canucks are the most hated team in the league. Whether or not I agree with that sentiment is a different story. The media outside of Vancouver has done a lot to further that angle. I frequent message boards of the Flames and there is no doubt the Canucks are the most hated team with everyone else a distant second.

I think people hate the Canucks because of their antics and because they win doing so. They have agitators and they have unlikeable personalities. That’s not to say they’re the only team that dives or complains, but rightly or wrongly, the damage has been done and it will be a long time for the Canucks to shake the reputation of being a team that uses certain antics to win games. I don’t think this current era of the Canucks with the Twins/Kesler/Luongo etc will ever rid themselves of this rep. And like I said, the fact that the Canucks are really good and can't be stopped, a sense of jealousy sets in amongst the Canuck detractors.

I will say however, those antics have been way less this season. But some of the stuff in last year’s playoffs was a bit much. It was hard to respect some of those antics.

Do you share the same opinion of the Canucks, Or is there another reason you don't like them?

If this interview was done a few years ago and the Canucks were in the way of the Flames winning a division, you might get a better answer from me. I used to despise the Canucks, almost at an unhealthy level. But I guess I’ve grown up a little. I’ve come to accept the Canucks are far and away a better team and that the Flames just can’t compete against right now. I just worry about what the Flames are doing on and off the ice.

I can’t really pin point one reason as to why I don’t like the Canucks. I’ve just never liked them. But it reached new levels after the 2004 series and into the season following the lockout when the Flames and Canucks had a good competitive rivalry going. Now, the Canucks just dominate and it’s more frustrating than I can tell you.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy watching the Canucks lose. I cheered on the Hawks, Preds, Sharks and Bruins last year. Vancouver is the team I dislike the most. They’re a team that I love to hate. It’s the Canucks, then everyone else in terms of team I enjoy watching lose.

What are your favourite and worst memories from this rivalry?

Favourite memory- Pretty easy. Game 7 in 2004. Iginla’s best game as a Flame. The missed empty net by Iginla, leading to Cooke’s late tying goal. I literally had my head in my hands for the entire intermission, only to see Gelinas score the OT winner. I went insane, jumped up and down. Not only was it the first Flames series win in 15 years, but it was against the Canucks. The following day, I went into the big communal area at BCIT with my jersey on and got booed by about 100 people. I loved every second of it.

Worst memory? Bure in 94. I cried. End of story.

What are you going to do if the Canucks win the cup?

Go into hiding, take a few days off of work. Last year, before Game 6 in Boston, I posted on my Facebook and asked all my friends to give me 24 hours to grieve before giving me a hard time. I was fully prepared for the Canucks to win in Game 6 or 7. But when they lost, I gave my friends who support the Canucks the same 24 hour rule and didn’t give them a hard time.

If you'd like to participate in this and give us some insight from your teams perspective, shoot us a message or get to us on twitter @BrowntoBure

BrowntoBure

Calling all NHL fans

Over the last couple years there's been much made over the Canucks being "the most hated team in hockey"

so we have taken it upon ourselves to do a little digging and find out why.

We will doing a series of 30 blog posts on why and what exactly it is fans hate about the Canucks or their fans.

We are looking for a fan of each team, preferably based in that city... But not essential, to do a short interview with us via email or IM.

Anyone who is interested in this please send us a message and we will let you know if we'd like to use you and we'll set something up.

If you're a Flames fan you are out of luck, not only is your team horrible... but we have already found someone and that post will appear some time tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks

BrowntoBure

BrowntoBure

Oh how Swede it is!

Ever since the Canucks drafted Henrik and Daniel Sedin in the 1999 entry draft, people knew that then GM Brian Burke had drafted two kids who were one day gonna be special players in this league offensively, and that they were. In the first few years of their NHL careers, fans, media and NHL analysts across North America weren't seeing what was previously advertised. In the years that followed, while both Daniel and Henrik showed signs of being the players that they were hyped up to be, people didn't see a lot of that grit,toughness and sandpaper type play you see from Canadians. What they saw were two players being pushed around, and not living up to first line potential. There were many who thought that they would be career 3rd liners, no matter how talented they were, and some would go as far as saying they were busts.

In the summer of 2006, after missing the playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks started changing the identity of this team. Todd Bertuzzi had been shipped off to Florida in a package deal that brought in star goaltender Roberto Luongo. Markus Naslund and Brenden Morrison remained, but weren't the players they were in previous years. This was when the spotlight shined brightly on the Sedin twins. They were looked upon to play a bigger role, and accept being extra go to guys for offence.

In that season of 2006-2007, they took their first big step forward, as Daniel lead the team with 36 goals and 84 points, while Henrik finished with 71 assists and 81 points. Clearly, they had for the first time, proven all the critics (and there were lots) wrong. They were officially the top line for the Canucks, as the West Coast express was an after thought. The Canucks finished as division leaders, and beat the Dallas Stars in a 7 game series, before being dismantled by the Stanley Cup favorite Anaheim Mighty Ducks in round 2.

In the years that followed, both Henrik and Daniel saw their fair share of linemates from Taylor Pyatt, Markus Naslund, Ryan Shannon, to Pavol Demitra. By 2009, Alex Burrows was a mainstay on the top line, as they had lots of success. The Sedins continued to improve and make the highlight reels across the world with their fancy passing ,crazy stick handling and huge goals.While they did this, they were also doing something else, staying injury free and not missing games. From 2005 to 2009, Henrik and Daniel played every single regular season and playoff game. In the 2009-2010 season Daniel Sedin missed 19 games with a broken foot.His brother Henrik didn't miss a beat, and eventually won the scoring race and the Art Ross Trophy. Henrik proved he didn't need to play alongside his brother to score points and help the team.

In 2010-2011, the Canucks had their best season in franchise history, setting a franchise wins record, winning the division, winning the conference, and the Presidents Trophy. Henrik and Daniel yet again, played every single regular season game. Daniel Sedin won the scoring race with 104 points, capturing the Art Ross trophy as well as the Ted Lindsay. He had one upped his brother from the previous year. The Canucks this year were the favorite to win the Stanley Cup and bring it back to Canada. The beef on the Sedin twins from previous playoff years were they were criticized for being too soft, and they took a big amount of the blame from fans and media after two straight 2nd round exits at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. This year however, they took it to another level and lead the team to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 17 years. After all was said and done though, they were 1 win shy of brining home the Stanley Cup. They combined for just 2 goals in the 7 game series against the rough hard nosed Boston Bruins. They were mugged, punched, shoved around like they were being assaulted by a playground bully. Local sports talks shows took calls all summer of how soft the Sedins were, and how the Canucks were never going to win a Stanley Cup with them leading the team. The image of Brad Marchand repeatedly punching a Sedin who had no push back, went viral. That was the perception of both Henrik and Daniel all of a sudden, and it wasn't right.

I however, have a different opinion. How can people call these guys soft? As of right now, Henrik Sedin has played 553 straight games, 2nd on the current ironman list. If you add the 66 playoff games he's played in, he's played in 619 consecutive games, which would easily surpass Jay Bouwmeester (1st on ironman list) since he's never played in a playoff game in his career. These guys get the most minutes out of any forwards on the team, and face every other teams top defence pairings each night, and a lot of time make those defence pairings look mediocre. Is that not tough? Henrik last missed a game in 2004. Besides Daniels 19 missed games 2 years ago, he too has rarely missed game action. The Canucks powerplay which is currently ranked #1 in the NHL, and has been in the top 5 for the last handful of years, has mostly to do with these two guys. They are respected all throughout the league, minus one David Bolland and a few Bruins, but thats another blog for another time.

The fact of the matter is, these are special players, players that the NHL hasn't ever seen before, and I doubt this league ever will again after their retirement. Stanley Cup, or no cup, they will long be remembered for quietly going about their business, donating to local charities, playing their game, staying away from badmouthing opponents, and bringing hockey fans to their feet with their dazzling mind boggling abilities on the ice. Enjoy them hockey fans, they wont be here forever.

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BrowntoBure

We're just now entering what are known as 'the dog days' of the NHL season, but for the Vancouver Canucks it seems to have started much earlier this year.

At first glance at the standings you may think that is just a typical Vancouverite looking for something to complain about, but when you dwell a little deeper there are some glaring things that stick out like a sore thumb, knee, groin or whatever other injury Sami Salo has been able to rack up over the years.

Undoubtedly the game of the year in the NHL to this point was the Stanley Cup rematch between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks, the Canucks were pushed around all series last year vs. the Bruins which ultimately let to their breakdown and defeat in the cup finals.

They can say all they want about it being just another game on the schedule, but it was fairly evident to anyone who tuned into this game that the Canucks came to play, and made it a point to show that they weren't going to be pushed around by the Bruins this time.

The Canucks went on to win that game 4-3, and showed a heck of a lot to their fans in the way they went about it, but there were two guys who were completely absent for the most part so we'll start there.

In the 10 games following that victory over the Bruins back on January 7th the Canucks have gone 6-2-2, racking up 14 points.

Outside of their one dominating win over the San Jose Sharks on January 21st they have looked mediocre at best, and down right awful in a lot of the games.

If not for the outstanding play of both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider who have had to stand on their head seemingly every single night during this stretch, racking up 35 plus save performances, there's no doubt that the Canucks deserve to be 1-9 over this stretch, and sliding down the Western Conference standings.

There are two ways of looking at this last month's performance from the Canucks

Either they are a great team doing what great teams tend to do, which is finding ways to win on any given night even when they aren't at their best, or this team is missing something that they better find in a hurry or the luck is going to run out and they will start falling in the western conference, where home ice for the duration of the playoffs seems to be the only way to get through.

Tomorrow night is the perfect opportunity for the Canucks to get back on track as they take on their second round foes from last year, the Nashville Predators. Over the same 10 game stretch the Preds have gone 8-2, they aren't doing it with smoke and mirrors like the Canucks either, these guys are on a roll and are playing like a team itching to get back into the playoffs and take another step forward as a franchise.

The Preds have been known since their inception under head coach Barry Trotz to be a team that brings it every single night and if you think you are just going to show up and skate your way to an easy win, you will get blown out.

The Canucks must take this mindset into tomorrow night’s game and start playing like they are capable of or they will not be leaving Nashville with any points, but rather a massive reality check.

Which, at this point may not be the worst thing.

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Also, this being our first blog post on this site, we'd like to thank all the members who helped us get set up and for making us feel very welcome, it's not too often Canucks and their fans are greeted with much hospitality these days... as you can imagine.

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BrowntoBure

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