In a sense, it’s been a long season. But in another sense (the literal sense), it’s been a short season, a whirlwind. It’s possible that you missed it all. But now the playoffs are here and we’d hate for you to be so far behind you can’t enjoy them. Here’s a quick review of the 2013 season.
- Jan. 6 - The day the NHL lockout ended, as the NHL made like a lazy college student, skipping the fall semester entirely and starting up in January. Everyone rejoices, except for Dale Weise, who spent the lockout establishing himself as the Wayne Gretzky of the Dutch League.
- Jan. 13 - With the rosters unfrozen after four long months, the NHL’s General Managers are finally free to make player acquisitions again, leading many to believe Roberto Luongo is finally about to be freed from purgatory and traded. Instead, the first weekend yields the signings of Cam Barker and Jim Vandermeer, who earned contracts by standing outside Mike Gillis’s office all autumn making pouty faces.
- Jan. 14 – Canucks training camp opens. David Booth, who spent the lockout hunting in the wilderness, fails to switch from hunter to hockey player fast enough. On the first day, he mistakes his groin for a trigger and pulls it.
- Jan. 18 – The Canucks announces a 6-year, $30 million extension for Alex Edler. The deal is broken on Twitter by NHL insider Mike Gillis.
- Jan. 19 – An injured Ryan Kesler is tasked with calling a season ticketholder and inviting him to drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff on opening night. He calls a doctor during the day, interrupting a pelvic exam.
- Jan. 19 – The Canucks play their home opener versus the Anaheim Ducks. They’re terrible, losing 7-3. Fans leave the building saying, “We waited four months for this?”
- Jan. 22 – Four days after being the final cut of the Canucks’ abbreviated training camp, Jordan Schroeder is recalled from Chicago to make his NHL debut. He starts with Dale Weise on his wing, much to the envy of the Dutch League.
- Jan. 24 – Jannik Hansen gets away with crosschecking a ref at the opening faceoff in San Jose. He immediately comes to believe himself above the law and starts an illicit gambling ring in the bowels of Rogers Arena.
- Feb. 1 – Roberto Luongo, still not traded, gets his third straight start, leading many to believe that he has re-won the job as the Canucks’ number one. In actuality, Alain Vigneault is just riding the hot hand like a puppet.
- Feb. 4 – Chris Tanev scores his first NHL goal after 62 games, proving that even a broken clock can score a goal with the Sedins.
- Feb. 9 – Roberto Luongo, still not traded, is the guest on Hockey Night in Canada After Hours. He all but admits that he’s the man behind @strombone1, hockey’s best Twitter account. Asked why he’s suddenly so beloved, Luongo cracks, “They love their backups in Vancouver, so that’s why I’m a fan favourite right now.”
- Feb. 14 – The Canucks announce that Manny Malhotra has been shut down for the season, citing concerns over his peripheral vision stemming from the puck he took to the eye in 2011. Malhotra vows to make them pay, then watches the Canucks’ faceoff percentage plummet in his absence and decides his work is already done.
- Feb. 19 – Jannik Hansen, still believing himself to be above the law, reaches for a mid-air puck and inadvertently clips Marian Hossa in the back of the head at the same time. The next day, the Department of Player Safety suspends him one game because he’s out of control.
- Feb. 27 - With Steven Pinizzotto coming off the injured reserve, the Canucks waive Aaron Volpatti to make space for him. Unfortunately, about two seconds after they do that, they discover that Ryan Kesler has broken his foot blocking a shot and they didn’t need to waive anybody. To make matters worse, Volpatti is claimed, ruining the entire season.
- Mar. 10 – A 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild drops the Canucks to second place in the Northwest Division. Fans begin to panic. After all, there are only 24 games remaining for the Canucks to make up the ground. Is that enough time?
- Mar. 12 – The Canucks are back in first place in the Northwest Division.
- Mar. 14 – The Canucks beat the Predators in the most eventful game of the season. Steve Pinizzotto finally makes his NHL debut. Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider star in a hilarious intermission segment. The Canucks score seven goals, one of which comes on a Henrik Sedin penalty shot.
- Mar. 19 – David Booth is sidelined indefinitely by a high ankle sprain. His 2013 contributions to the Canucks: one goal, scored into an empty net after a generous pass from Maxim Lapierre.
- Mar. 21 – Alex Edler collides with goalie Mike Smith in a game versus the Phoenix Coyotes. Sensing a violent streak in Edler that would make Quentin Tarantino blush, the Department of Player Safety fearfully suspends him for two games.
- Apr. 2 – The day before the trade deadline, the Cancks acquire centre Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars, a move that will finally allow them to play their wingers on the wing and give them three top-three centres once Ryan Kesler comes back. That is, provided Alain Vigneault doesn’t decide to play one of them as a winger down the stretch for some reason. But how silly would that be?
- Apr. 3 – They say, sometimes, the best move is the one you don’t make, but when the trade deadline comes and Roberto Luongo remains a Canuck, he disagrees. In a press conference after being told he’s staying put, an emotional Luongo explains why: “My contract sucks.”
- Apr. 4 – Zack Kassian returns from a one-game demotion to Chicago, admitting that the club told him he has to stress “being a professional away from the rink.” He spends the next week in his full gear before someone re-explains what they meant.
- Apr. 23 – The Canucks play their best game of the season, beating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 and clinching their fifth straight Northwest Division title. Daniel Sedin passes Markus Naslund on the Canucks all-time scoring chart in his 905th NHL game, just as Henrik did two months ago, but Henrik points out that he got his milestone point two minutes faster.
- Apr. 26 – For fear that the Blackhawks game has given fans unrealistic expectations, the Canucks ensure their final home game of the season is a lot like their first. Versus the Anaheim Ducks, they play terribly, losing 3-1.
- Apr. 28 – The Canucks play their final game of the regular-season.
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