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Yesterday, a hot and bothered Canuck General Manager Mike Gillis appeared before the media to make public his disgust for the officiating in this series.

In a move eerily reminiscent of a 2002 scripted Brian Burke performance, the usually cool and confident Gillis appeared anything but, attempting to draw attention to what some are calling an anti-Canuck conspiracy.

More than anything though, this move reaks of a now desperate general manager making one final gesture to improve his team’s chances in a deciding game.

Similar to 2002, when the Canucks had squandered a mid-game lead in game 3 after snatching an early 2-0 series lead on the first seeded and eventual Cup champion Red Wings, this version of the Canucks has now found themselves on the brink of the biggest choke job in league history.

And while we don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theory that many do, one would have to be incredibly naive to think that there is not, at the very least, an institutional bias against teams like Vancouver when up against teams like Chicago.

There are certainly no interoffice emails floating around that confirm that Vancouver is to be screwed whenever possible.  But let’s never forget that this is big business.  Business is rarely about equity and justice.  It’s about compliance with corporate goals (typically a maximization of profits).

So what do we mean by institutional bias?  We mean that the cogs in the wheel know where their bread is buttered.  Not overtly, but implicitly.  Anyone who has worked in a large corporate environment knows exactly what we’re talking about.

So in that sense, there is a barrier to entry for franchises like the Canucks when it comes to winning championships.  Can it be overcome?  Certainly.  Can it be eliminated?  Likely not.  Just like the Canucks will always be burdened by the most brutal travel schedule, they may not always get the calls they think they should.

And that is the risk of Gillis’ latest move.  It may actually influence the officiating in tonight’s deciding match-up to his favour, but it may also distract his team from focusing on what they can control.  In the end, we’re sure that the methodical Gillis weighed these options and took that risk, which might give you some insight to how he really feels about this team.

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