As mentioned, the popular conception is that the Canucks’ biggest weakness is playoff toughness, which got us to consider who is the Canucks’ “toughest player of all time”? Today we will start the playdown to determine exactly that. The field is sixteen strong and like the Stanley Cup marathon will wind up with 2 finalists, as determined by you, our reader. As we unroll the match-ups one by one, we’ll also offer up some that didn’t quite make our sweet sixteen, our honourable mentions (since we’ve already served up our dishonourable mentions).
In our first opening round match we feature Johnny Canuck himself, Trevor Linden, versus the pit bull on skates, Rick Rypien.
And you will say, what kind of match-up is this? Trevor’s a lover, not a fighter. True, but the measure of toughness is up to you. We’d like to think that fighting is only one component of that measure.
Trevor Linden- Like the only other retired sweater in Canucks history (#12 Stan Smyl), Trevor never met a check he wouldn’t finish. While not an agitator nor instigator, he would answer the bell when required. Check out this little tilt with public enemy number one, Sean Avery, proving above all else that Trevor was the ultimate good guy:
Further, he was incredibly durable and was never one to trot out the “playing injured’ excuse after a playoff exit like so many of the current edition. Of course, a Trevor Linden promotion would never miss this little clip:
Rick Rypien - Despite his small stature, Rypien has proven to be one of the top scrappers in the game, incorporating both hands in a fighting style that borrows from the new school of MMA. We like how he holds his aggressiveness in check, rarely taking a boneheaded penalty as 4th liners are apt to doing. We predict an elevated role for him next season. From youtube, introducing Rick Rypien…
Enough talking, try voting…
Darcy Hordichuk - While not one of the premier fighters in the game today, Hordichuk has a hard head and a heart of gold, embracing his role as the team’s policeman often taking on the league’s biggest and baddest. Despite being in and out of Coach Vigneault’s doghouse, he has had a remarkable impact on the team - we recently read some crazy stat that indicated with Hordy in the line-up, the Canucks were something like 20 games over .500 and without him, they were a few games under .500. Who knew? Certainly not us.