And we’re back.
For three glorious weeks, the Vancouver Canucks effectively did not exist. Their scoring troubles, their inability to hold leads, their injury woes, their losing streak? During the Sochi Olympics, it was all quiet on the Western front, as Vancouver fans were gifted a much, much better team: a team with untold puck-movers, brilliant first-line centres, and, incredibly, two goalies of equal skill, one of which was Roberto Luongo, and yet no goalie controversy whatsoever. This is unheard of in Vancouver.
But now, as the players go back to their NHL teams, we have to do the same.
Don’t cry, Vancouver. If you’re down about this, you’re looking at things all wrong. Team Canada may have been near-flawless, but only near. There were some serious issues with that group — issues the Canucks simply don’t have. This may surprise you to hear, but it’s actually better to cheer for the Canucks right now, and I have reasons.
1. Our fourth line is bigger. Team Canada closed the tournament with a fourth line featuring Martin St. Louis. That’s simply embarrassing. Fourth lines are for big players, and Martin St. Louis is Stuart Little on skates. He can’t crash and bang in the corners, and he definitely can’t fight anyone, which is likely why Team Canada went fightless the whole tournament. Shameful. Who will make opponents answer for targeting their stars? I mean, sure, every player was a star, so it was tough to know who to target, but even still, St. Louis is ill-suited to fourth-line duty. Tom Sestito, on the other hand, is perfect for it, and the Canucks have him. Rejoice.
2. No more Sidney Crosby. And good riddance, I say. By the end of the tournament, the “why isn’t Crosby scoring?” storyline was played out. It was a dumb storyline from the outset, in my opinion, since Crosby was consistently the most terrifying player on the ice, and the chance totals suggested the goals were obviously coming. Sure enough, in the gold medal game, they did. But by then I was run down. I’ll tell you, it’s exhausting having the best player on the world in your team, because expectations are sky-high. Give me a player whose lack of production no longer surprises anybody, like David Booth, thank you very much.
3. We get an outdoor game. You know where Team Canada played all of its games? Indoors, like a bunch of chumps. But the Canucks are playing outside next weekend. Outside! What a rare and special treat! Sure, if it rains, BC Place’s roof will be closed, making it an indoor outdoor game, but that’s little more than double-talk. Just because our outside is inside doesn’t make it any less outside.
4. Both Sedins. Team Canada definitely didn’t have that. Not even Sweden had that. The Canucks? Oh, they have that.
5. We get Luongo. As good as Carey Price was, do you know who was better? Roberto Luongo. He allowed zero goals in the Olympics. Sure, he only played one game, and it was a 6-0 shellacking of Austria, but there’s no arguing that Luongo was anything short of unbeatable. Meanwhile, Price got scored on by Norway — their first Olympic goal against Canada in three decades — and again against Latvia. Best goaltender in the tournament? As if. Luongo’s clearly better, and unlike Team Canada, the Canucks will be using him.
6. Team Canada’s coach antagonizes the media. Mike Babcock did things his own way all tournament, shrugging off his firepower-laden lineup in favour of a defensive-minded game. Then, when Canada had won gold, he let the second-guessing media have it. ”Does anybody know who won the scoring race? Does anybody care?” he asked. “Does anyone know who won the gold medal? See you, guys.” You could argue that he earned the right to taunt. Or you could argue that it was classless. But you know who never gets into it with the media? Canucks coach John Tortorella. Other coaches? Yeah, he fights them. But never the media (so long as we’re only talking about this year). I’ll take the nice coach.
7. Regression. Team Canada won all six games they played in the Olympic tournament. The optimist says this is one of the greatest teams ever assembled. The pessimist says these dudes are due for a loss. Meanwhile, the Canucks went into the Olympic break having lost seven straight. You know what they’re due for? A win. I’d rather cheer for a winner, thank you very much.
This feature takes a moment to recognize the best tweets of the week, because we’re online-type writers and Twitter is an online-type thing. If you see a great Canucks-related tweet, send us a link. Or plagiarize it and bask in its glory.
Sweden vs Canada in the vicious battle of really nice people just trying their best
— Kate Leth (@kateleth) February 23, 2014
The most accurate possible description of the gold medal game.
Any truth to the rumour that when David Booth placed the ring on his fiancee’s finger he missed high and wide? #Canucks
— Adrian™ (@AY604) February 11, 2014
There is no truth to this malicious and hilarious rumour.
luongo gets a win for canada and cries. the team says “lu, it’s 1 game.. we haven’t even won anythi-” hamhuis, though tears, shushes them.
— Gráinne (@wholegrainne) February 9, 2014
I totally believe this actually happened.