Well…here we are. On the eve of the biggest game the Vancouver Canucks have played in seventeen years we wait in nervous anticipation. What will the next two weeks (or less) bring? Will it be the joy and elation that accompanies a Stanley Cup. Or will Canucks Nation once again head home empty handed, like [...]Continue Reading —›
With all the furor around town as the seemingly well washed masses clamour for every bit of Canuck property they can get their wealthy hands on, here’s a little ticket cost history lesson for you. In 1982, the Canucks’ first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the cost of our (yes, we were there) seats [...]Continue Reading —›
One might think that, after three NHL playoff rounds, we as Canuck fans would be pretty adept at summoning, from thin air, a bubbling hatred for Vancouver’s next postseason opponent. Unfortunately, as a Stanley Cup Final with the Boston Bruins draws near, one may find this difficult. The Bruins are tough to truly hate. The Canucks don’t see them much, so there’s little history of antagonism. All our associations go to the roots of the NHL itself, where the Bruins are seminal. They’re an original six franchise that once iced greats like Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and Ray Bourque. Even now, Bruins like Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and Vancouver-born Milan Lucic are tough for BC hockey fans to truly despise.
Left unchecked, one’s Boston-based thoughts could be downright pleasant, but one must check oneself before one wrecks oneself: the Boston Bruins are bad. They are the only team standing between the Canucks and their first Stanley Cup and there is, therefore, no room for any redeeming thoughts regarding them. If you think the Bruins are good, you had better be thinking of some other bruin — some other bear — because the Boston Bruins are bad.Continue Reading —›
As anticipated, True North Sports & Entertainment announced today in a press conference that they have purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and are moving them north of the border to Winnipeg, Manitoba. This was easily the most anti-climactic announcement of the year, as the media have been reporting this as a done deal for weeks. However, there were a number of other, more interesting announcements that have gone severely under-reported. I am shocked at how little attention these announcements are receiving. In my mind, these are the real stories from the press conference:Continue Reading —›
The dismissal of Teitur Thordarson has done more than throw a spotlight on the new manager and the players at Empire Field; it has also brought into focus the performance of the management team itself. In many ways the decision to fire Thordarson was a brave one. There was little genuine unrest amongst the fans despite a series of poor [...]Continue Reading —›
Tomas Kaberle and Keith Ballard have a lot in common. Both players spent the post-lockout years playing for non-playoff teams. Both have represented their countries in International play. Both were traded to their current teams for a package including a top prospect and a first round pick. Both have failed to meet expectations with their new teams. And both are in the Stanley Cup Final.
Of course, one of the main differences between the two is that Kaberle will definitely play at least one game against the Canucks, while Ballard might watch all of the games from the press box with the Black Aces. Since no one has come out on record saying he hasn’t wagered away his spot on the Stanley Cup in a rigged game of poker with Eddie Lack, we’re forced to assume he has.
So which of the two has been more disappointing? Who has come shortest of meeting expectations?Continue Reading —›
The moment the Boston Bruins punched their ticket for the Stanley Cup Final, many Vancouver fans pointed out that PITB’s exclusive, very real photos of Tanner Glass fighting bears — released sporadically throughout the season — suddenly seemed downright prescient. As previously reported, Glass has been sneaking into the forest on weekends since January, picking fights with up to eight bears a day, no doubt in preparation for the series that begins Wednesday. The logical assumption, at this point, is that Tanner Glass is some sort of prophet of pugilism, and has known all along that a skilled bearfighter could tip the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver’s favour. With this in mind, PITB has gently improved a couple Boston Bruins print ads to reflect the impact a bearproof Glass may have on this series.Continue Reading —›
When the Vancouver Whitecaps announced that coach Teitur Thordason would be leaving his role with immediate effect on Monday morning there was more than an element of surprise from the fans of the team. True the club hadn’t won in MLS since opening day, but there was never the sense of impending panic, or even discontent, [...]Continue Reading —›
You may remember Vienna-based artist and Canuck fan Peter Diamond from The Twins, his wonderfully dark, original image that portrayed Daniel and Henrik Sedin as damnable warlocks that mount their victims’ heads on bare trees in a heinous forest. Diamond created the work as a good-luck charm for the Sedin twins’ scoring production way back in Round 2, and it appears to have worked, especially on Henrik Sedin: the Canucks’ captain went off in Round 3, collecting 12 points in 5 games. Recognizing the power he wields, Diamond has created another image as a similar kind of talisman for Roberto Luongo. Check out “The Playoff Beard.”Continue Reading —›
Nestled between Games 5 and 6 of the Cup finals, the Belmont Stakes will be running for the 143rd time on June 11. Nicknamed “The Test of a Champion”, it’s one of the few dirt races still contested at 1.5 miles (2.4 KM). Despite the decline in thoroughbred stamina over the years, it’s not likely to [...]Continue Reading —›
When Mike Gillis was hired as the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, he immediately expressed an agenda to build a organization with integrity and character throughout. He worked to change the culture inside the dressing room, seeking players with positive reputations and a commitment to community-building. Outside the dressing room, he did the same, stressing an organization that valued its players, and recognized and honoured the division between hockey and personal life. There is no greater example of this than the case of Manny Malhotra, whose devastating eye injury and subsequent recovery has been perfectly handled by the Canucks organization.Continue Reading —›
In the preview to the Champions League Final I said that greatness beckoned for either Barcelona as a team or Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager. In the end it was the former who siezed their place in history thanks to a game that, as is so rarely the case, lived up to the hype. When [...]Continue Reading —›
The Canucks have seemed stacked on paper since July 1st, but the playoffs have really shown how amazing the team really is. The team hasn’t gone through much in the way of playoff adversity, when you really think about it. They’ve never trailed in a series, have faced elimination only once, and have racked up enough wins in each series that they’d have at least three chances to eliminate their opponents.
Of course, it’s easy to expect that with the way the Canucks dominated the league in every statistical category this season. Best offense, best defense, best special teams, best faceoff team, best record. For me, it’s almost like the Canucks were expected to wind up here. Who really expected the Predators to stop the Canucks in the second round?
Really, though, the Canucks’ making it to the Cup Finals for the first time in 17 years is special not only because it was a long time coming, but because it was truly on the backs of the whole team. Like The Avengers, the Canucks’ playoff roster is stacked when it comes to heroes.Continue Reading —›
What you’re looking at is a pristine, one-of-a-kind piece of alternative Canucks history: a 1994 Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box that “Salutes the Stanley Cup Champion Vancouver Canucks.” You’re probably well aware that it doesn’t have all of its facts straight. What’s the story here?Continue Reading —›
Seriously. After Malhotra initially injured his eye, concerns were raised that his career might be over and that he might never regain vision in his left eye. When he skated in practices, hopes were raised but tempered by the fact that he wasn’t participating in any contact or taking regular line rushes. Coaches, players, and management constantly clarified that his presence was simply indicative of how close the team is and how important Manny is to the team, and not an indication that he would be able to return to game action at any point in the playoffs.
This news changes everything. Where before he seemed to be taking the role of an inspirational mentor, almost a go-between for the players and coaches, his return to full practice indicates that he could play as early as Wednesday, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. If he does indeed return, it would be one of the most incredible stories of the Canucks season, even if he only played minimal minutes in a fourth-line role. To return from that kind of horrific injury should pluck every heartstring and bring a tear to the eye of every hockey fan. This is what Disney sports movies are made from.
It’s no longer just “Win it for Manny.” It’s “Win it With Manny.”Continue Reading —›
In a series that was initially billed to be a goaltender’s duel, there sure have been a lot of goals scored in the Eastern Conference Final. With Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas showcasing styles about as far removed from your standard butterfly goaltender as you can get, the Bruins and Bolts have seemingly taken this as a cue to play 80′s-style hockey. 41 goals have been scored in their 6-game series. 41!
Wednesday’s spirited affair saw the Bruins fall just short of a stunning comeback, as the Tampa Bay Lightning forced a Game 7 back in Boston. This means the Canucks will need to wait for the results of tonight’s match-up to see who their Stanley Cup Final opponent will be.
But which team would be a better opponent for the Canucks to face? PITB investigates, in another segment of This Guy or This Guy.Continue Reading —›
The clash between Barcelona and Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday is about so much more than adding another trophy to two already full cabinets. It is about laying claim to being amongst the games greats; for Barcelona as a team and for Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager. The Catalans are universally recognised as the [...]Continue Reading —›
With the Canucks now just four wins away from Canada’s first Stanley Cup in 18 years, you’d think that the head talking head at the CBC might be just a little more complimentary of Canada’s team. Despite predicting the Canucks’ game 5 victory against San Jose (dandy Don even got the score right), it’s hardly like [...]Continue Reading —›
Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.Continue Reading —›
With all that has happened in the last month and a half, it can be a little difficult to take it all in. Yes, the Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Final, but what brought us to this point? How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house. This kind of moment comes once in a lifetime, but in the moment it’s hard to come to grips with what is happening. What story are the Canucks telling in these playoffs? What will we remember? What history is being made?
The NHL’s History Will Be Made commercials are a brilliant bit of marketing. Not only do they paint the key moments of the playoffs as larger-than-life and history-defining, they are incredibly easy to make. This has allowed the NHL to create dozens of these brief clips that aim to encapsulate an entire game into one pithy phrase. They have made one of these commercials for almost every single Canucks victory. Taken together, they tell the story of the Canucks’ playoffs in the most positive light possible.
So let us review this brief historical record of recent history in the form of the NHL’s History Will Be Made commercials.Continue Reading —›
Kevin Bieksa’s double overtime winner put the Vancouver Canucks into Stanley Cup Finals for the only the third time in their history. It was a momentous occasion, and there was little for Vancouverites to complain about. the That said, there was one minor issue: the confetti.
As soon as the Canucks scored the winner, flakes of coloured paper began raining down from the ceiling. It looked really nice until it landed on the ice, creating a mess that jammed up the players’ skates, looked horrible to clean up, and would have made it impossible to continue the game had the goal been waved off, like some initially suspected it might.
That said, it could have been much worse. Through much investigative journalism, hacking, and espionage, PITB has acquired a list of 50 items suggested and eventually rejected by Rogers Arena event staff before they settled on confetti. One perusal of this list tells you things could have been much, much worse.Continue Reading —›
Though the rest of Canada has been slow to get behind the Canucks during their current playoff run, it’s hardly mattered, as their march towards the Stanley Cup has shone a light on how global Canuck nation has actually become. First, there was a Canuck flag waving proudly at the Royal Wedding. Then there was the surprise that the Canucks have pockets of fans in West Africa, most notably Ghana and Nigeria. Now comes the news that there’s even Canuck support in Austria, as Vienna-based freelance artist Peter Diamond presents The Twins. If you’ve ever thought of the Sedins as damnable warlocks that don’t bleed, but merely leak ichor, and mount the skulls of their victims on bare trees in a heinous forest, Diamond’s got you covered.Continue Reading —›
You’d be hard-pressed to find a hockey fan that would claim last night’s bizarre series-clinching goal was not the strangest OT-winner they’d ever seen. The goal, scored by Kevin Bieksa when the puck hit a stanchion and squirted out to him at the point, fooled almost everyone, including every play-by-play guy calling the game (except for John Shorthouse). Chief amongst the players fooled was Antti Niemi, who lost sight of the puck, and didn’t find it again until it was bouncing out of his net and Kevin Bieksa was streaking down the ice a hero.
But Game 5 also saw another hero emerge, and his story is only beginning to be told. Here I refer not to Ryan Kesler, who fought through a leg injury of some sort to tie the game up with thirteen seconds to go, but to the Rogers Arena stanchion that orchestrated BOTH the game-tying and game-winning goals.Continue Reading —›
The lexicon of sport is riddled with mantras that are so oft repeated, they sometimes sound hollow. And as the battles intensify, the calls of our “best players need to be our best players”, “we’ve got to leave it all out there”, and “you gotta be good to be lucky” can be heard everywhere. And [...]Continue Reading —›
On May 24th, 1994, Greg Adams scored in double overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference Final to take the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. Tonight, exactly 17 years later, Kevin Bieksa did the same. For only the third time in their 40-year history, the Vancouver Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup Final. After winning Round One in 7 games, Round Two in 6, and Round Three in 5, are the Canucks destined to sweep the Eastern Conference Champions? Is this the (Stanley Cup) Final Countdown? 7-6-5-4. It has a nice ring to it. But before we look to the future, let’s reminisce about the past. The recent past. The Canucks just won a hockey game. I watched this game.Continue Reading —›