There have been some big changes for the Canucks this offseason, but the one that could have the most impact is realignment, which brought an unfortunate end to the crack den that was the Northwest Division and threw the Canucks into the far more functional and together Pacific Division. Bummer.
But let’s not dwell on what’s lost. Let’s look to the future and meet some of our new divisional buddies! We’ve invited a stable of Pacific Division bloggers to preview the Canucks season, the new division, or their own teams for us here at Pass it to Bulis, and over the next week, we’ll be sharing the results with you. (Warning: most of them chose to roast us, which is probably what we would have done.) Next up: San Jose Sharks blog Fear the Fin.
I tried. I tried to break the mean-spirited mould of this series and offer the Vancouver Canucks a compassionate, kindhearted welcome to the Pacific Division. After all, our teams are slated to be neighbours
until the Coyotes move to Quebec City in five years and another realignment takes place for the foreseeable future so patching up and making peace after last spring’s contentious playoff series seemed to be the sensible thing to do. But the more I tried to think of nice things to say about the Canucks, the clearer it dawned on me that I just couldn’t do it.
The Vancouver Canucks are an embarrassment to hockey.
Sure, the simultaneous arrival of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames to the Pacific Division should technically focus my mockery elsewhere. After all, both teams look to be worse than the Canucks heading into the 2013-14 season with new Edmonton GM Craig MacTavish astutely replacing injured centers Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with notable skilled pivot Steve MacIntyre while the Flames seek to answer the age-old question “can a team featuring Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak as prominent scorers make the playoffs?” If the post-lockout Maple Leafs are any indication, the answer is a pretty definite no.
But the Oilers and Flames boast storied histories that include inspiring tales of blissful championship victory. Edmonton has won it all five times with future Canucks star/lawsuit plaintiff Mark Messier at the helm on each occasion. What the Flames lack in quantity they more than made up for by winning their Cup while having a dude with a really awesome moustache on their team. Meanwhile, the pitiful Canucks have never drank from Lord Stanley’s Cup. I can’t even imagine the indignity of remaining Cup-less while your two closest geographic rivals taste championship glory. It must be infuriating. No, wait, that’s not the right word. The right word is hilarious.
Of course it’s not like the Canucks have never won an NHL award. Far from it. Who can forget their last President’s Trophy, followed by a speedy first-round exit at the hands of a Southern California team? Again, the embarrassment associated with that sequence of events is completely unfathomable to me as a Sharks fan. But it was perfectly emblematic of the sorry state of a Canucks franchise which has continually teased fans and media members with promising regular season success only to fall flat on their collective face in worse fashion than a Ryan Kesler dive in the playoffs. I can assure you that none of your new Pacific Division rivals share that shameful profile.
Another thing no other Pacific Division team can be accused of is relying on an aging, past-their-prime, over-the-hill core of proven playoff underachievers. Canucks GM Mike Gillis is once again foolishly putting his faith in a trio of veterans all on the wrong side of thirty whose best days are far behind them and who never have and never will win anything of consequence. Sure, one of them has claimed a Hart Trophy as league MVP and all three have won Olympic Gold Medals. But none of that matters in the face of their continued failure to etch their names on Lord Stanley with their current club. Seriously, what kind of incompetent GM and backwards-thinking franchise builds their team around losers like these three for years and years on end? It just reeks of desperation and an inability to let go of the past.
So welcome to the Pacific, Vancouver, but remain forever aware of your uniquely pathetic status and realize that you won’t find a team, not one, in your new division capable of empathizing with your woeful history.Tags: Fear the Fin, Guest Post, Rivalry Preview, San Jose Sharks