A Canucks Fan Stranded in a Hockey-Godless City

While you’re all in Vancouver enjoying the excitement, I am in Toronto getting ready to watch a Raptors/Celtics game.  After that, at 10 PM EST, I will be grabbing some coffee to stay up for our beloved Canucks. So as Brian has shared his random thoughts, so shall I, from Hogtown.

Weber and Bitz and Bitz and Hits

Shea Weber must have a meeting with Vince McMahon in the next few weeks. He is putting together an audition reel, starting with Zetteberg’s head. How does the pro-wrestling move of  “The Bulldog” have any part in the NHL? What’s disturbing about the whole thing is, why wasn’t there more disciplinary action from the NHL on this incident? Instead Weber pays $2500, a fee he probably pays to get custom suits made, and is still playing in this series. On the other hand, I have no problem with Bitz’s suspension. In fact, after seeing the hit again, a few times, I’m cool with it. However, if Bitz garnered two games, Weber should be suspended for at least that. Someone was even inspired enough to make a Youtube video with legendary wrestling announcer, Jim Ross, giving the audio to that Weber hit.

Kings Gate, and I don’t mean mall

I was pretty upset by this coming from a corporate organization’s account. You would think an NHL franchise would have some guidelines of what to tweet, as the face of the organization on twitter. I mean, twitter! Really? That person that is running that account considers his or herself a ‘social media specialist’? But it may have sparked some interest in the Kings down in LA, since you know, there will probably be more Canucks fans down that way for Games 3 and 4.

Blame Luongo!

Yes, yes even though the Canucks crapped the bed in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are those still out there blaming Luongo. Why? Because it’s no longer even a surprise, in fact, I think for many of the ‘fans’ out there, it’s just fashionable to blame him. Someone was calling for his head on goal #2. Really? The Canucks were parading back to the penalty box, I thought there were some good treats on the bench for the boys to munch on.

Fact or fiction? Does everyone in Canada want the Canucks to lose?

Oddly enough, I have yet to hear too many bad things about the Canucks here in Toronto. In fact, about 3/4 of the people I have ran into and chatted hockey were hoping they were going to be the ones to bring the cup back to Canada. The other 1/4 that I asked didn’t really care, it’s baseball season now...*wink* Perhaps I should publicize an apology in the paper to Toronto fans for having such a good team on the west coast, but someone has already beat me to that.

Boston teams
Random tidbit here, but as some know, I am a big ‘hater’ of Boston based teams. As a Yankees fan, I despise the Red Sox. As a Denver Broncos fan, I hate Tom Brady and his bunch known as the New England Patriots, and the Bruins? Yeah, no need for commentary on that one. Although, tonight, I will be cheering on the Celtics. I have adopted them as my NBA team until the Sonics are back into Seattle. So I will be cheering on the boys in green and wearing my Canucks jersey.

Game Two

I’m hoping for a kick ass effort from the Canucks tonight. I’m hoping they realize they can’t coast in the first round or any round for that matter in the Stanley Cup playoffs. LA has been playing playoff hockey all March vying for the last few available playoff spots. They are already warmed up and seasoned. I don’t want the Canucks hoping they run out of gas. So the Canucks need to turn off cruise control and compete like they are President’s Trophy winners.

From the Centre of the Universe,

Justine Galo

Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

Through the Plexi-Glass: Shoot the Puck, Hank

Shoot the puck, Hank!

Dear Henrik:

It’s Art, remember me? You and I first hooked up a couple of years ago. I just wanted to write and tell you I’ve missed you. I miss your 29 goal season and your 112 point year.  I missed your tenacity to shoot the puck.  You shot the puck a lot when your brother, Daniel, went out with an injury. You shouldered the burden of the lack of scoring goals and took it upon yourself to get some of those for your team. You were on a tear!

Last season, you scored 10 less goals and didn’t shoot as much as you had to when Daniel was injured. I understand you’re the set-up man and he’s the finisher. At least, that’s what you guys were billed when you were drafted back in 1999. Thing is, I’ve seen, and the rest of the NHL has seen differently. You can score when you want but instead you choose to pass it to Daniel. Don’t get me wrong, I love the way you and Daniel work on the ice. You two have that twin thing and that in itself is something special and great to watch. However,  at times, there were open nets that you could have potted the goal, Henrik.  They were pretty much guaranteed goals, but you decided to pass the puck to Danny. Some of them could have made the difference in the game, Hank.

You’re the Captain, you’re an amazing team player and on top of that, you’re one of the classiest people in the NHL. It’s true. I don’t see too many others giving up three quarters of a million dollars of their salary to the BC Children’s Hospital Fund. That amplifies how much of a class act you really are. You’re also a fierce competitor on the ice, but sometimes I think you’re not selfish enough. I know you like to spread the points to your teammates but Hank, I gotta tell ya, you must shoot the puck more.  I think if you just potted those gimme’s that were presented to you, the team would probably have a better record and you’d being in the running to get your name on that trophy with my name on it again.

I hooked up with your brother last season, and I am hoping to have the name Sedin etched on my body yet again, but that will only happen if you start being a little more selfish, take it upon yourself to score more instead of always passing the puck. It’s okay to shoot, Hank, no one will think that you’re  selfish. In fact, I think it will just show that the captain is doing his part to help his team win.  Most of all, I miss you Hank. I missed our time together. We can have that again. Shoot the puck, see what happens.
Your pal,

Art Ross.
PS, There’s never been a Toronto Maple Leaf to win me and take me home for the year. Let’s not start this year, so please, and for the love of the Hockey Gods, shoot the puck, Hank.

 

(written by Justine Galo ) twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

 

(Aaron) Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Robo-Rome on a scoring tear.

At the end of last season, everyone remembered Rome for being that guy that hit Nathan Horton and got the longest suspension during the playoffs ever. At the beginning of this season, no one cared if Rome came back to the Canucks with the improved play of Ballard and a healthy (*crosses fingers*) Sami Salo.

In the last few games, Aaron Rome has become a twitter favourite with the hash-tags #Vote4Rome or #Rome4Norris by scoring three goals as well as helping out on a few for others along the way. Not bad for a guy that was Public Enemy #1 for the anti-Canucks fans during the Stanley Cup Finals. Is it just pure luck or is Aaron Rome a newly founded secret scoring weapon the Canucks finally unleashed?

A poster on here on CanucksCorner.com suggested Rome was ‘Frankensteined’ with some of Kesler’s DNA when he broke his finger and the new Bionic-Rome was the result. It could very well be what has transpired. After all, Rome had 1 goal during his tenure with the Canucks prior to what has happened this season. It’s a perfectly logical explanation.

Frankly, I don’t care what happened to get Rome going on the score-sheet, what matters is he’s getting on the score-sheet. Theories and all the half-joking aside, Aaron Rome has become the Canucks trending topic when they play and in my opinion it’s not all luck but seizing opportunities that were presented to him.

I’m not Alain Vigneault so I don’t see what these guys contribute to the team on a daily basis. However, he saw something in Aaron Rome to have some sense to put him as a point man on the power-play. Whatever it was Vigneault saw, it’s working. With each  passing game, Rome has no reservations shooting the puck, when in the past, he hasn’t always done so. Call it favouritism, call it a hunch, call it what you will, but Rome scoring is a good thing not only for the Canucks and also for the man himself. Oh yeah, Christian who? Rome has more goals than the Sabres German blueliner so far this season.

Whatever has Aaron Rome scoring and racking up the points on the backend, let’s hope he keeps it up. In doing so, this blogger is going to donate $10 per goal that Aaron Rome scores this season to the Canucks for Kids Fund. And for the fans out there supporting our new scoring sensation, keep doing so. I’m hoping to donate more than the $30 that’s already allocated for Rome’s goals.

So no pressure, Aaron, but I’m sure you can at least have me donating triple figures.

Justine Galo
Twitter: @Aviewfromabroad

Through the Plexi-Glass: Can You Pump Tires in a Goalie Graveyard?

As I was coming home from the game and gazed at my twitter feed, I saw of a lot of “Trade Luongo!” and a lot of panicking over a just under .500 record for the first few games of the regular season. Mostly, it was all about how Luongo lost the game for the Canucks and it was entirely his fault. So I’ve taken it upon myself to do some proverbial ‘pumping of tires’. Why you all ask? Simple, I have a good memory of how dreadful goaltending was in this city before the likes of Roberto Luongo.

As I stated in my tweet: @Aviewfromabroad “Problem isn’t #Luongo . Problem is the wanna-be fans that bought into the “2nd coming” hype that was built about him. #Takeaccountability” I never bought into the whole “LuonGod” hype.

He is a good goalie, but at the same time, he was still just a human who will have his bad days like you or I. Unfortunately for Luongo, he is now in a market that actually gives a hoot of how he performs on the ice instead of about 4500 fans in Miami. I also understand the whole “with the position comes the scrutiny” baggage but when the baggage is more like the cargo space of a 747, how is one supposed to ‘carry’ all that without some self-doubt? It’s close to impossible, regardless of talent level. I’m not trying to psycho-babble you all the death, I’m just saying that perhaps instead of jumping on Lu’s case constantly, take a step back and let him breathe.

Luongo Waving to the Vancouver crowd. Will it be goodbye soon?

For me, I want to give Luongo some time to prove himself. It is a new season after all. Although for some, this just a continuation of all the bad games Luongo has played as a Canuck.  I want him to build up some confidence that has seemingly been lost and play like a machine more often than not. So far in this very young season, he’s not been great. To help him out as a fan, I thought it would be a good idea for me to “pump his tires” because despite all the hype and the bashing, I would rather have Roberto Luongo (as is) than Dan Cloutier, Corey Hirsch, Alfie Michaud, Troy Gamble, Petr Skudra, Bob Essensa, Kevin Weekes, Felix Potvin etc. etc. etc. Why, do some of you ask? I’ve seen awful, and it has been far worse than Roberto Luongo.

For those of you that don’t recognize some of those names, it’s because they didn’t last very long in this market. Let’s take Petr Skudra for example. He was one of Dan Cloutier’s backups. Did you know an angry fan actually used his name as an auction item on eBay? The description was to the effect of a Canucks’ back up goaltender, with a big five hole and no glove.  The starting bid was $1 CAD. I’m not sure if anyone ever even made a bid, but it was at the time, quite amusing. Oddly enough, I am waiting for some know-it-all ‘fan’ to put Luongo up for auction on eBay with the description of “Vezina nominated, gold medal winning goalie that can’t please a fan base no matter what he does”. I’d at least start the bidding at $5…out of ‘respect’ of course.

It’s good to know that I am not the only one out there that feels  Luongo is getting too much heat. However, I believe he can and should be better, but I’m not going to go off demanding Mike Gillis and his management and coaching staff try to trade him immediately. The thing is, I have this belief (and statistical history to back it up) that Luongo will pull it together sooner than later. Here are some from the twitterverse that feel the same way after the 4-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Tuesday Night:

  • @lyteforce: If Luongo were to reverse global warming, people would blame him for it being too cold. #Canucks #lousfault
  • @patersonjeff: Can dump on #Canucks goaltending, but how about forwards who have 1 even strength goal in last 10 periods. That don’t cut it
  • @j_carpenter_What difference does it make? if Luongo lets in 1 goal or 4..If the #Canucks dont score any they’re not gonna win..They will pull it together
  • @bobcam27-Luongo sure was terrible on the power play tonight. I don’t remember him getting a single shot on goal. #Canucks

We’re all good at playing ‘arm-chair’ GM from time to time, and I certainly will be the first to admit I do it as well, but how many times do so many of us have to put out virtual trades with the involvement of Roberto Luongo in them? How about we trade those guys that aren’t scoring? How about we trade the whole blue line? I guess because it’s easier to blame the goaltender, and particularly, Roberto Luongo. I’m asking you for a 20 game grace period to stop. Please.  For the next few games that Luongo plays, instead of going “Trade Luongo!”, perhaps a little encouragement might help.  The power of positivity is a pretty cool thing, even though I’m not a big time New Age follower, there is truth in it.

I don’t mind ‘pumping Roberto’s tires’ more often than not, a pumped tire usually gets you further ahead.  Not to mention,  it sucks to run on a flat. Besides, if you leave it deflated too long, it might just damage the rim and you’ll have to replace the whole wheel.

That’s how I see things…through the plexi-glass.

Through the Plexi-Glass: Remembering a Heart Of a Canuck

It’s the new mantra for the Vancouver Canucks, “The Heart of a Canuck”. It’s in the arena, it’s all over the city, and more importantly, it’s in us fans.  After a difficult loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, I felt my heart almost break. The toll of the whole playoffs resonated with me the minute the horn sounded and the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup.  I felt deflated, spent, and dejected. However, I remember being at the bar in the Best Buy Club section of the arena and I thought of a friend of mine who would have loved to have been there. His name? Curtis Giesbrecht.

When I went to high school, I found myself in a high school that was heavily into football, both CFL and the NFL. So I was one of the few kids that actually loved hockey and talked hockey as much as I could. Finding someone to talk to me about the Canucks, hockey in general was more or less ‘difficult’. You see, the Canucks weren’t that good of a hockey team back then. In the late 80’s early 90’s, they were, for a lack of a better word, mediocre. Despite all that, I still loved them. The cool thing was, I finally met someone else in my high school who loved them as much, if not more, than I. That guy was Curtis.

We drove our teachers crazy because instead of just focusing on class, we’d ask each other about the game we heard on the radio the other night or got to watch on TV. While everyone else in school was wondering how if the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to have a banner year, he and I would be discussing if Pat Quinn should be both GM and coach, Pavel Bure’s goal, or how much we both admired and loved Trevor Linden.  I had found my  hockey soul-mate!

We also used to bug a friend of ours about being a Flames fan, but he took it with stride and we had a great hockey banter in the hallways. However, the memory I cherish the most was the last year of high school. Curtis and I finally attended a Canucks game together. Lots of weekends working retail had to be done in order to pay for our 9th row seats at the old Pacific Coliseum but we made it there. Curtis wore his Canucks jersey (like he often did to school) and I believe at the time I had a #8 Greg Adams jersey.  It was the Canucks versus the Winnipeg Jets. We had seen Teemu Selanne graced us with his talent and intuition to score, while we had the always dynamic Bure. We were in hockey fan heaven.  I don’t believe we won that night, and I felt dejected, but I remember Curtis saying to me, “G, never give up being a Canucks fan, they are our team and I’ll love them forever, even when I die!” He was 17 at the time, and so was I.  We thought we’d be heading to Canucks games the rest of our adult lives together. We were even talking about going into season tickets one day.  He was the biggest fan to date.

Taken at the old Pacific Coliseum, Pavel Bure

We didn’t have the internet, so we didn’t have things like twitter, Facebook, or even a regular TV broadcaster of the Canucks to keep us up to date. We relied heavily on Sports Page, the radio and whatever news we could get into our proverbial hands.  Most of all, Curtis and I had each other.  Unfortunately, our dreams of being season ticket holders together never happened. Curtis was killed in an unfortunate car accident just a few short years after we graduated high school.

It’s been almost 20 years, but I still remember seeing his smile every morning and first thing he used to say to me wasn’t “Hello”, but it was “Hey G, how about those Canucks this year?” I miss that to this very day. So in my memory beats the heart of a Canuck. Today, when I step into Rogers Arena,  as the Vancouver Canucks take on the Pittsburgh Penguins, I will think of Curtis and all the great times we had together, as Canucks fans.
Dedicated to the memory of Curtis Geisbrecht, forever a Canuck.

Justine Galo