Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Scattered Thoughts

8

Its going to be nice to be able to watch the game tonight without feeling a sense of doom. Canuck fans can relax – a little bit – knowing that the roof can’t fall in on the dream tonight. A loss won’t mean much more than a poor start. The team doesn’t want to let down, but it seems unlikely they can find the same emotional intensity as they found for a game seven.

I’ve always liked the Nashville team, partly because I like country music. Mostly it is because I’ve always had a tremendous respect for David Poile. He did a great job in Washington and he’s done a great job in Tennessee. He’s managed to ice a competitive team year after year and actually make money in what is a marginal market.

Unfortunately, that forces his coach to play like the Jacques Lemaire Minnesota Wild. I’ve said it before, but I think the Preds play the fastest trap in the league. With excellent goaltending, that makes them difficult to beat. And also pretty boring to watch because unless the Canucks match the Predator defensive intensity, an upset looms.

Still, I’d rather draw Nashville than either Detroit or San Jose. Being the top seed didn’t help in the first round, but its a blessing in the second. A few other thoughts while we wait for the start of round two:

1) The elimination of the Habs (sorry Dad) has left the Canucks as the last Canadian fan standing. This of course prompts Elliott Pap to wonder whether Vancouver will become Canada’s team:

The Montreal Canadiens are gone — and the Leafs, Sens, Oilers and Flames never made it — so look who is Canada’s team by default. Will the rest of the country now embrace the Canucks? Who knows? I guess the TV ratings will tell all, and they were pretty good for Tuesday’s Game 7 showdown between the Nucks and Hawks. I plan to check with relatives in Montreal and Toronto to see where their hearts lie. My guess is we’ll be hearing a ‘Go, Canucks, Go!’ right across the land, except maybe from Calgary…

Well, yes and no. The CBC certainly hopes so and the Canucks will surely be the lead story on the sports shows across the country. Fairly casual fans of most Canadian teams will probably climb on the bandwagon. On the other hand, the hard core fans of the Oilers? The Flames? The Leafs? They may watch – pleasing the CBC – but they won’t be hoping for the good guys. That’s okay by me – do we want Oiler fans on our bandwagon? Maybe we can tie a rope around them and drag them through our dust.

2) Daniel Sedin, Corey Perry and Martin St. Louis are the Hart Finalists. My first thought? Would you trade the three Selke Finalists – Kesler, Datsyuk and Toews – for the three most valuable players in the league? I wouldn’t either. What does that say?

Anyway, the Canucks should – and will – win both awards.

3) Watching Carrie Underwood cheer on the Predators and Mike Fisher makes me wonder whether the Fisher trade has made the Predators more marketable in Nashville. It can’t hurt. Has the team exploited the relationship?

4) It was kind of sad watching Sidney Crosby watch his team exit from the playoffs. His injury has cast a large shadow over this season and will clearly have an impact on next year as the league tries to do something about head injuries. At least the “Will Sidney play?” stories die with the Penguin hopes.

5) The Flyers are the only team left that I really hate. I can’t decide whether to hope they win or lose. Win, I guess. At least as long as the Canucks keep winning. That’s the team I’d most like to beat in a Final.

6) My second favourite team left is the Red Wings, mostly out of pure admiration. Go Sharks, go.

7) Old friends know that I’ve been a big Ryan Kesler fan for several years. He’s my favourite hockey player, but my least favourite Canuck interview. We get cliche, cliche, cliche out of him. On the other hand, Kevin Bieksa – also a favourite on the ice – is great in front of a microphone. I don’t feel like I know Kesler as a person, but Bieksa? I’d love to sit down and have a beer with him.

Go Canucks.

Update: I know that Shane O’Brien has to be part of the pre-game hype, but this CP story is flat out wrong:

O’Brien was traded to Nashville at the start of the season after he ran afoul of Vancouver management in 2009-10, when he was effectively suspended for arriving late for a morning skate.

I like Shane too much to let this pass. O’Brien was traded to Nashville, and he did run afoul of management but the two facts were not related. O’Brien was traded because he made too much money – $1.6 MM – for a player who projected to be a number seven defenseman. (The wag in me wants to point out that he was replaced by Keith Ballard who is barely in the top six at $4.2 MM. True that, but that’s not the way Gillis planned it.)

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Comments

8 Responses to “Scattered Thoughts”
  1. Kel says:

    To be fair, giving cliche after cliche in interview is not going to get Kesler into trouble. He has changed from the guy who shouted “Tell Kelly I said Hi” from the bench. At least we still get to see him a lot bombing teammate interviews. Speaking of maturation, I wonder if Shane O’Brien has changed one bit, given his interviews.

    As for the Preds, it’s really hard to hate them, but things can change quickly.

  2. Magicpie says:

    Kelly’s a great gal.

    Re #1: My view of this is that the rest of Canada, if not hates us, is at least kind of annoyed by us, and we’re unlikely to be accepted as Canada’s team. We’re not Toronto-level hated by the rest of the country or anything, but all the crap about how we’re always whining about unfair treatment from the refs/league, how some of our players are soft/not cluth, etc., is probably going to prevent us from getting embraced by the rest of the country (the usual non-hockey related stuff people have against Vancouver, like its perceived yuppines/left-wingness probably doesn’t help either). Although I do feel like we picked up some goodwill getting past our near death experience in round 1.

    Re #2: Its kind of surprising to see St. Louis in there since he got almost no buzz as a possible winner. So I guess the guys who finished 1, 2 and 3 in scoring are also going to finish 1, 2, and 3, in some order, in the Hart race. Kind of shows a lack of imagination of by the voters.

    It does kind of fit with historical trends though. Of the 16 forwards who won the Hart in the past 20 years, 10 of them were also first in the league in scoring, and 5 were 2nd (The other one was Mark Messier who won it one year despite being 5th in scoring, I’m assuming because of his “leadership”).

    • beingbobbyorr says:

      My view of this is that the rest of Canada, if not hates us, is at least kind of annoyed by us, and we’re unlikely to be accepted as Canada’s team.

      Just out of curiosity, how were national attitudes to (a) Vancouver the city & (b) it’s NHL hockey team in ’82 and ’94?

  3. Cookie La Rue says:

    I like country music too but mostly good ol’ Johnny. ;) Strong article, i guess you’re emotionally totally in touch right now, like every Canucks fan should be.

  4. beingbobbyorr says:

    The Flyers are the only team left that I really hate.

    Is this residue from the Broad Street Bully days? And, if so, why? Hard to believe you’d still be shedding tears over the loss of Bob Daily … or couldn’t put the 1980 (45-minute?) brawl at the Pacific Coliseum behind you.

    I lived & died w/ those 70′s Flyers teams, and still carried a torch for the club into the 80′s ( Cup losses in ’80, ’85 & ’87 stung ), but they’ve been just another McHockey team to me for the last 20 years ( even in 1997 & 2010 I knew their opponents were better & deserved it more ).

    • Tom says:

      No good reason. I’ve never liked the face of their franchise. Bobby Clarke, Linesman, Hextall, Lindrios, Pronger. What’s to like?

      • beingbobbyorr says:

        What’s to like?

        Clarke’s 2 Cups, 3 Harts, HoF in spite of diabetes.
        Pioneers in adopting Soviet hockey training (thanks Freddy Shero).
        1st expansion Cup in 1/2 the time the original 6 claimed it would take.
        Ed Snider’s passion for his franchise to win (in a world of corporate owners buying teams for arena deals & tax shelters).
        Late TV broadcaster Gene Hart.
        Kate Smith (what else besides Detroit Octopi are as mythic?)
        Pat Quinn cut his coaching teeth in the Flyers org.

        What’s NOT to like?

        Ugly orange unis.
        70′s violence (in their defence, the Flyers were responding to the gauntlet thrown down by the Bruins & Blues).
        Philadelphia sports fans.

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