#TICH: May 1, 1982 – Canucks Fans Wave White Towels as Rally Cry

Roger Neilson gave birth to “Towel Power”. But it was the fans at the Pacific Coliseum that made it a Canucks tradition and his legacy.

It started in Game 2 vs the Chicago Blackhawks in late April, 1982.  The officiating was horrible and seemingly one-sided that night,  it enraged the Canucks bench.  It angered them so much assistant coach, Ron Smith, yelled out “We give up, we surrender, we give up!”  “Tiger” Williams suggested to throw sticks on the ice as a form of protest,  but Roger Neilson thought this would be more effective.

Roger Neilson and members of the Vancouver Canucks hung white towels on their sticks to protest the horrible officiating in Chicago.

Roger Neilson and members of the Vancouver Canucks hung white towels on their sticks to protest the horrible officiating in Chicago.

Putting a white towel atop the end of a hockey stick, Neilson raised the “white flag” as a form of mock surrender. That action had Neilson ejected from the game and the Canucks lost 4-1 but came home from Chicago with a split.  Neilson was then fined $1000 and the Canucks were fined $10,000. Neilson was criticized by referee Myers about his actions and was described as “bush league”. The NHL commented on how this was a disgrace to the playoffs. However the officials, other fans and the league reacted, it sparked a battle cry that no one expected from the Canucks’ fan base.

 

Some of the Canucks fans greeted the team at the airport waving white towels when they returned back to Vancouver. When Neilson and the team came home to the Pacific Coliseum on May 1, 1982, they were greeted with thousands of fans in the stands waving white towels.

What happened at the old Rink of Renfrew today back in 1982 started what we today call “Towel Power”.  Thousands of fans in the stands brought white towels as a rally cry for the Canucks to win the series and move on in the playoffs. The 1982 Canucks made it to the Stanley Cup final, but falling in only four games to the powerhouse, New York Islanders. It didn’t matter. A Vancouver Canucks tradition was born and it has been embraced for the last 33 years. Every playoff season, the Vancouver Canucks lay out “playoff towels” for fans to wave before each game. It’s a tradition we love and made our own and what a back-story it was to give it life.

Thanks Roger, you are forever remembered. Keep waving that towel!

Roger Neilsen statue outside of Rogers Arena on the plaza. Towel Power forever!

Roger Neilsen statue outside of Rogers Arena on the plaza. Towel Power forever

 This happened Today in Canucks’ History, May 1st, 1982.

@Aviewfromabroad

See You In September

horvat

Much has been said about the Canucks bandwagon, and the legions of fans that have broken ankles jumping off and on. Let’s not forget the debacle that was last season. Remember that prior to this season, the Canucks main objective was to make it back to the playoffs. Many Canucks fans jumped off the bandwagon throughout last year. Many of us that stayed on the wagon felt that the playoffs were unlikely.

In that regard, the Canucks season was a success. They put up 101 points this season finishing 2nd in the Pacific Division, and while expectations were raised, they were not realistic.

I’ll leave the heavy duty analysis to the hockey experts that have played the game and analyzed the game at a high level. The analysis changes from game to game, and shift to shift. It’s variable.

I am merely a fan, and my love affair with this team goes back for decades.

What I’ve always loved about this team through the 80s and 90s was that they always worked hard. Trevor Linden set the standard for hard work with one shift, and I think of that shift as a mission statement for this club:

Within that shift, you can see the heart of this team even today. You see it in the cycle of the Sedins, and the work of Bo Horvat and many others on this team.

With respect to the love affair, the Canucks are like that grade school crush. That girl (or boy) that was so cute in September when you first laid eyes on her. Every day you saw her in class, and your feelings grew. You sat next to her, talked to her, and as the school year went on, your feelings grew stronger.

All of a sudden late in the spring, class was dismissed, and your heart was broken. It was too soon – you just wanted one more day. As summer came and went, you went about to other things – summer camps, baseball, and days at the beach.

Then, there she was next September, and the love affair begins again.

Down 3-1, It’s Time to Cheer Them, Win or Lose

It was hard watching the Canucks falter last night. It was even harder seeing so many fans lambast them to Timbuktu. For me, I have invested so much of my passion with this team, as many of you out there have. Although the level hasn’t always stayed steady at all times, I’ve had down turns as well, I have always loved this team.  And in their toughest hour in the 2015 playoffs, I’m still here. Although it just got tougher with two regulars out of the line-up, and an uphill battle of being down 3-1 in the series, I will be waving the towel and cheering the boys on.

If the hockey team is reflective of the support at Rogers Arena, the team is then, at the equal level. Yes, Friday was a great display of support, but the Wednesday before that, was very sub-par. I know it’s hard Vancouver, to have to cheer for something before it even gets started, but it seems we have lost our enthusiasm of our self-professed love for our hockey team. At times, I have felt, many in this fan-base seem entitled when it comes to the success of the Canucks. Success and respect is earned, and as a fan base, we still have a lot of earning to do.

  • The level of anger that goes on when the Canucks lose, even a regular season game, have half the fans wanting to blow up the team. It could have been a solution, had Mike Gillis not given so many players NTCs in their current contracts, but it’s not the reality. Not everyone is a Jason Garrison and would wave to be moved to anywhere to help out the team. It’s difficult to expect a full rebuild when you have to keep members of the old core around and have to transition around that. It’s possible to have small steps to success as we have seen here this season, but you can’t expect a full blown rebuild. Besides, who wants to be Edmonton and be rebuilding for a decade? *wink*
  • Hindsight is 20/20. Everyone is an expert when things go wrong or if things go right. I do it too. This season, I bitched for so long about Weber to be put on the PP. It didn’t matter which unit, but when the Canucks had him on the 1st unit and their scoring became viable again, I was doing the biggest “I told you so!” peacock boast. It’s happening now with the playoffs, but that’s the thing. We really don’t know. We really don’t know what is happening and why they are playing the way they are. It’s just one of those things.
  • Going after your own fan-base on a personal level because you disagree on something  . One thing to disagree and discuss, it’s another to down-right degrade. I’ve been part of a Canucks discussion board for years, and I see ‘men’ in their middle age act like juvenile delinquents if someone doesn’t see things their way. There is something about hockey that brings out the best and the worst out of people.
  • #TeamLack #TeamMiller- perhaps if Canucks fans stood more in unity with each other, especially with the tough losses, instead of dividing the camps like this season did with “Goalie Teams”. I haven’t been a big fan of Kevin Bieksa in years. He hasn’t been that guy we had in 2011, since, well, 2011. None of the guys are, but he’s definitely dropped off the most since the Cup run of the remaining players. But I know he is going to be a part of this team, unless he says otherwise. So I’ll just complain about the plays he misses or makes instead of how I am #TeamTanev. Don’t you remember? We are all Canucks.
  • Higher expectations since the Canucks did finish 2nd in the Pacific and both LA and San Jose did not make playoffs. The Canucks have brought their game more often than not when the big teams are across the ice and perhaps the Canucks and this fan base still see Calgary as a more inferior team. The thing is, Calgary knows what the Canucks can do and they came to play. I think the Canucks still haven’t gotten that Calgary is actually for real. – That’s ok. It happens. Cinderella does make the ball too.

This season, the Canucks have exceeded my expectations. I was thinking they were sneaking into the playoffs. I didn’t expect them to be as good as they have been. A lot of that has to do with making steps towards the right direction and that’s the goal, moving forward. It’s ok to stumble. In fact, I’d rather they do, so they can fix the stumble and not do it again. So in year 1 of new management and coaching staff, let them stumble. Just don’t be that asshole parent that chastises them for it but not offer any real support for them not to do it next time.

They are down 3-1. They have been kicked down enough. Lift them up and cheer them on. Who knows, it might fuel them to another game, or maybe two. But I do know one thing, it will make it easier for them to try. A little support goes a long way, even for millionaire hockey players. Pump some tires, pat some backs and wave those towels. GO CANUCKS GO!

Wave them until you can't wave them anymore!

Wave them until you can’t wave them anymore!

@Aviewfromabroad

“Line Dancing”at The Rog? Rd 1 Gm 2

 

Canucks played a pretty good Game 1 and lost it in the last minute due to very good screens by Bieksa and Sbisa, now known as SBieksa. Unfortunately for them, the screen was on Eddie Lack. Fast forward to Game 2 vs the Calgary Flames and the atmosphere at Rogers Arena was electric! It doesn’t hurt you have this guy leading #TowelPower

Kirk McLean, remembered for "The Save" in 1994 vs the Calgary Flames.

Kirk McLean, remembered for “The Save” in 1994 vs the Calgary Flames.

 

Just like the previous game, the Canucks had jump, this time, they added their execution. They win 4-1 with Daniel scoring first; Higgins breaks the net cam with his PPG and the Latvian Locomotive Ronnie Kenins scores his first ever NHL Playoff goal. Vrbata seals the deal with an empty netter late in the third.

Eddie Lack is probably the most social media interactive player in the NHL, but definitely on the Canucks. We’ve gotten to know his mom, Mia Lack and his dad, Willie. Either through the tweets of Mia Lack (@mammamialack) or Hockey Night in Canada panning over to Eddie’s dad, Will as often as they panned over to Ryan Miller’s mom earlier in the season. I guess the Canucks goalies have very likable parents. I’m starting to think the Lacks are the Swedish hockey celebrity family the NHL has been waiting for.

So there were a lot of things that happened in last night’s game. But the biggest thing everyone is talking about this morning is…

  • Matt Stajan throws down the gloves with Richardson and then all of sudden an MMA fighter was born. If B-Rad ever wanted to get a new career going, I’m sure Dana White is looking for a novelty fight on his card.
  • Best twitter reaction to the melee: IMG_0002
  • Best Teammate: Ryan Miller for chirping back at Michael Ferland as he is escorted to the Flames bench. Miller the often quiet guy wins points with the Canucks fan base with this: 
    Ryan Miller may have been sitting on the bench but he was into it.

    Ryan Miller may have been sitting on the bench but he was into it.

  • Best Contradition: Dan Hamhuis has now become Public Enemy #1 for the Calgary Flames and their fans. Yes, you read right, Dan Hamhuis. He’s probably even more mild-mannered than the Sedins, combined! But I guess owning Johnny Hockey all night long does that for you. Not to mention, manhandling both Gaudreau and Monahan simultaneously with one arm each.

Numbers Game

  • 7 home game losses streak in the playoffs since 2011 has been broken with this win. The Canucks could have set the new record with 8 in a row had they given up this one to the Flames.
  • 42 minutes is what was charged to Derek Engelland of the Flames in penalty minutes.
  • 9 hits from Edler (4) and Dorsett (5) combined. The Flames were out-muscled all over the ice tonight, mostly from these two. 
  • .957 Eddie Lack’s save percentage for this game. More often than not, that’s going to be a notch in the win column.
  • 24 goals has Daniel Sedin tying Cliff Ronning as third on the all-time club list for playoff goals.
  • 15, the number of wins left to get to Lord Stanley. The first one means everything.

The Aftermath

  • Kevin Bieksa was being interviewed about the happenings in the third and his best response to it all…“…I’m not sure what happened with the penalties but hopefully we’ll see Mason Raymond next game.”  Bieksa is one of those players I love and hate all at once and I am not the only one:

    Ms. Bayne, you hit the nail right on the head!

    Ms. Lindsay, you hit the nail right on the head!

  • The Canucks didn’t back down from the Flames when challenged. It was not always so. The push-back has been shown a few times this year, and that’s one character asset this team has over past teams. Everyone truly seems to want to play and stand-up for one another, and what a perfect time for it.
  • If there are suspensions given out, I see Engelland and Hamhuis being the guys gone for a game, but that’s up the NHL and no word yet.
  • @TheStanchion‘s tweet might push to get Russell in the suspension mix too. Side by side views of the Byfuglien cross-check with Russell’s from last night:

What a game! I was having such an intense and not so good day at work and we didn’t buy playoff tickets this year (yeah, I know, I know) but did this game ever make me forget. Off to Calgary now in what I know will be a very boisterous Saddledome. The Flames fans haven’t seen playoff hockey in 5 seasons. It should make for a great atmosphere! Glad to know there will be a good number of Canucks fan transplants in Calgary so wave those towels proud and Go Canucks go!

@Aviewfromabroad

Funny Post-script: A guy name Ronalds Kenins scored an NHL playoff goal before guys named Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Couldn’t resist, Oilers miss their 9th straight post-season and some 24 year old rookie from Latvia sniped a beautiful pass from another rookie, Bo Horvat.

PPS: Luca Sbisa, for as much as the Canucks fans and media alike get on him, makes a great heads-up play to keep the puck in the attacking zone and passes it deep to Horvat.

 

Core Of the Matter: Now or Never?

It’s true, the Canucks version of the “Core Four” is aging. The Sedins, Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows are the elder statesman on the team. They aren’t those upstart young guys from Alain Vigneault’s Manitoba Moose or a couple of 1999 first round ‘wonder twin’ draft picks. They are the leaders on this team and this playoff berth shouldn’t be one they take for granted. For all they know, it could be their best and last chance at a Stanley Cup.

This could be their last real chance for a Cup. Is it time to play like playoff beasts?

This could be their last real chance for a Cup. Is it time to play like playoff beasts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 This was the question on TSN 1040 Radio’s Midday show. Sekeres and Price thought it would be something to chime into, and as I was thinking about it driving, it could very well be it for Bieksa, Burrows and the Sedins.

Three are 34 and Bieksa is 33. 2011 was four years ago and all were in the prime of their careers. This time around, they are battling Father Time along with the critics and their opponents. So how could this actually be good for these four and guys like Vrbata, Higgins and Hamhuis, who aren’t spring chickens either.

Knowing they are all nearing the twilight of their careers, I could see these guys giving it their all, especially Henrik and Daniel. They are going to have to play their asses off and as a former teammate once told the press, “Compete like bastards!” and reach the one award that has eluded them.

Their first round opponents have a young upstart line in Monahan and Gaudreau, steadied by veteran, Jiri Hudler. Their ability to score is strong and they are fast. Their defence is mobile and are offensively minded. The Flames will give it all they have against the Canucks. Although Willie Desjardins will be rolling four lines, and the younger members of this team will have the opportunity to contribute, the Canucks “Core Four” are going to have to do this…

And this…

And definitely some of this…

It will harder this time around, but if they succeed, it will be so much more rewarding.

@Aviewfromabroad