A Canuck Nation Growing

As we draw near the end of the eastern road swing for the Vancouver Canucks, there is one constant occurance that has come to my attention. The fan support in the east has strengthened for our beloved team, and surprisingly really showing up strong in the arenas away from home. In fact, many comments throughout the league about the growing support for the Canucks in eastern cities. So what triggers the surge of support?

Montreal had to be the one town that wouldn’t sway their loyalties. The Bell Centre is a different beast from the other two arenas visited. Although I have noticed the pockets of Canucks fans seem bigger than those of previous visits. I have to say it is one arena where you know the undying love for the Habs will never be overshadowed of that of the visiting team. It was enough to propel les Canadiens to a shutout victory (2-0) over our Canucks.

In Ottawa, the pockets for Canucks supporters were evidently quite bigger than it has been in the past. I’d dare say the Canucks had about a third of the arena on their side. That’s a significant number of supporters in the nation’s capital. It was great to see a few westerners also make an eastern road swing trip to support the boys on Remembrance Day on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Senators. There was even a small bar meet-up (so I was told) after the game of Canucks fans. Unfortunately for me, being sick with the flu, I had to decline.



Toronto is Canuck Land? Photo taken by Justine Galo


Now the most surprising surge of support for the Canucks was in the “Centre of the Universe, also known as, Toronto. I used to live in Toronto, both downtown and on the east side, and I’ve run into very few ‘vocal’ Canucks fans in the 416 (or 905 for you suburban people). Usually, the only time I see those fans are when the Canucks visit the Air Canada Centre and even then, they are more reserved. This year, the support for the Canucks in Leaf territory, was, for me, surprisingly stronger than I could have imagined. The support for the Canucks was crazily visible in the stands. Not just pockets of supporters but rows of Canucks fans. More than it has been in the last four years since they started doing the home and home once a year again. Canucks fans were yelling, “Lu!!!!” at the ACC. It was so evident that it couldn’t even be masked on Hockey Night In Canada’s broadcast of the game. I remember just last January, when the Canucks visited the ACC, and the out-right support for the team wasn’t as vocal and in abundance. That was only 11 months ago! I’d dare say the Canucks had about 2000 fans on Saturday night, and that is a huge feat in Leaf Nation. I think only the Montreal Canadiens and the Canadian Sabres fans would be greater in numbers.

So the Canuck fan base is growing, but why? Could it be Luongo winning a gold medal for Canada at the Olympics, or the playmaking of the Sedins? Or could it be that they are a very good team, it makes the easterners realize they probably have the best chance of the Canadian teams to contend for the Stanley Cup. I’m not quite sure, and to be honest, I don’t really care, but it’s been nice to see Canuck Nation growing, especially in places it was once shunned.

On to Buffalo…


Justine Galo [tweetmeme]

It’s a beautiful Remembrance Day

Alex Burrows trades karma for first of the year.by Jason Kurylo

The Vancouver Canucks cancelled their morning skate this Remembrance Day, instead hitting the National War Memorial in Ottawa to honour war veterans. It was a classy move by the organization, one that generated positive press across Canada and positive karma inside Scotiabank Place. The Canucks bounced back from their lacklustre effort in Montreal with a convincing 6-2 win over the Senators. It was the Canucks’ seventh win in eight games, and coach Alain Vigneault’s 300th career W.

Alex Burrows scored his first of the year much as you would have expected – Henrik fires a no-look pass to Daniel behind the net, and Burrows spins off his check into the slot. Dank threads a perfect pass to number 14, who buries a one-timer from three feet out. It was an important goal, one that gave the Canucks a two-goal lead early in the third period, allowing Vancouver to win going away instead of letting the Sens creep their way back into the game. The Sedins each had two points, and factored in on goals that came 22 seconds into the first period and 33 seconds into the third.

Ryan Kesler took advantage of linemate Mikael Samuelsson’s return to form – the Swede looked dangerous for the first time in a few weeks. Kesler scored from the lip of the crease twice, once on a nice pass from Jannik Hansen, the other on a rebound of Samuelsson’s fifth shot.

The fourth line looked more effective than at any other time this season, most likely a result of having a natural centre skating up the middle. Vancouver Giants alumnus Mario Bliznak was called up from the Manitoba Moose to spark the checking line – Tanner Glass moved to the right side, bumping Peter Schaefer, and scored his first of the year. Bliznak then swatted a puck out of mid-air to net his first career goal late in the game. Rick Rypien spent more time in the penalty box than on the ice – he had just under seven minutes of playing time, but 12 minutes in the box.

In their own end, the Canucks were sloppy in the first but got bailed out more often than not by Roberto Luongo. He made several point blank stops, including a one-timer from Jason Spezza and the rebound from Alex Kovalev. The only goal to get by him in the first 56 minutes came when he was unable to smother a puck that dropped to the ice in front of him. Peter Regin drove the crease & poked the rebound home through Bobby Lou’s legs. This has to be on goaltending coach Rollie Melanson’s to-do list: Luongo has given up several goals of this nature in the past few games. The Sens scored a meaningless goal late in the game to make the score 6-2, again off a Canucks miscue. Dan Hamhuis bobbled the puck behind the net, and the opportunistic Regin flipped it out front to Sergei Gonchar. The veteran rearguard slammed it home easily; you can’t blame Luongo for that one.

With the win, the Canucks sit atop the Northwest Division, four points up on the Minnesota Wild. But wait, the Canucks are just one point up on… ANAHEIM??!!?!? The surprising Ducks have played two more games than Vancouver, but holy quack, there might be some mighty left in SoCal after all. Vancouver sits in third place in the Western Conference, and tied for sixth in league standings. Their next game comes on Saturday night, a spotlight game against the snakebitten Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.

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