Like all members of Canuck Nation, we here at Critically Canuck have suffered a long time. We will not die happily unless the Stanley Cup makes its way to Stanley Park.
Here you'll get the straight goods on our heroes. With both feet on the bandwagon, we will, however, pull no punches. As long time season ticket holders, that's our prerogative.
Expect analytical insight with a strong sense of history. We'll ask the tough questions. And answer them. Enjoy.
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After another decisive road loss during a post season that has had its share of dizzying heights and now back-breaking lows (with all apologies to Mason Raymond), the members of good ship Canuck were all heard to declare they had once again turned the page and were only thinking about game 7. At this time of year, there are no lessons to learn, no fires to be lit, just keep marching on. Alfred E. Neuman never had it so good. “What, Me Worry?”, indeed.
Here at Critically Canuck, we have been on board with the glass is half full approach during this post season, but last night’s tilt has us instead wanting to finish off whatever might be left in that glass. Enough already.
As he is whenever the Canucks lose, Roberto Luongo was once again under the microscope last night. While we’ve had his back all post-season reasoning that most of his poor games were the result of defensive breakdowns in front off him, Roberto must take the fall for last night’s loss. And to his credit, he did. In a confessional like post-game scrum, Luongo owned up to his poor play.
But that was the only truth to be told from the Canucks’ side of things.
Despite another poor road outing, a debilitating injury to Mason Raymond and more after-the-whistle mistreatment from the Bruins’ sewer rats, you couldn’t find any fire and brimstone around these Canucks.
While the Bruins can point to their solid road play and rightly declare that they should have deserved at least one win in Vancouver by now, the Canucks haven’t come close to performing the same feat in Boston. But at least they don’t need to worry about that anymore.
And on a hit that was easily as “dirty” (if you don’t believe us, check out the NBC footage) as anything Aaron Rome could ever offer up, Mason Raymond is lost for up to six months. So in the new era of NHL justice which seemingly sees fits to offer up an “eye for eye”, we should all expect Johnny Boychuk to be similarly suspended. As if.
And while you might be able to forgive the Boston fans’ shameless taunting of the fallen Raymond in the heat of the momemt, why did he have to be helped off the ice by only his teammates? Where was the back-board and stretcher. Insult to injury, indeed.
The point is there is plenty to be fired up about. Where there should be passion and fury and promises of redemption, we get the same old mindless jibber jabber about preparation and process as if the next game isn’t the 7th game of the Stanley Cup Final, but an SAT exam.
There is a vast difference in the leadership styles of this team and the last Canuck version to get this close to the Stanley Cup. It is hard to imagine Pat Quinn, on the heels of another embarrassing road loss, to address the post game media scrum with a mantra of “it doesn’t matter”. And we know that liberties taken with star players would have been met with flying elbows from said star player (so says Pavel Bure’s elbow to Shane Churla’s head). Or instead, a beat down from Sergio Momesso or Tim Hunter.
And when their captain cheap shotted our captain in the waning moments of game 6, that only motivated our captain to produce a legendary game 7 performance that resulted in his number 16 hanging from the rafters. The more likely response this time around is our captain clutching his abdomen in agony attempting to draw one more penalty that we won’t score on.
So where does that leave the faithful? Well, there’s really only one option. The leadership mantra this time around isn’t about to change. And it’s got us this far, right? Think positive. Be prepared. Stick with the process. And for one more game, that’s just what we’ll do. Even if it sounds too much like we’re drinking the kool-aid…
Today’s competition features two legendary defensemen, both big fan favourites…
Harold Snepsts - Here at CC, we have a serious case of man crush love for “Harooooooold”. And not because of his dashing good looks. Snepsts was a war horse defensemen, punishing hitter and a feared fighter. Forget about the giveaway to Mike Bossy in OT of game 1 of the ‘82 final, we’re talking about physical toughness here and he was as tough as they came. There’s no shortage of vintage Snepsts clips, but we like this one, which is from late in his career (while playing for the Wings) taking on the supposed tough guy, Wendel Clark (in his presumed prime). Even an old Harold can open a can of whup ass on the hated Leaf. Harold, in the most lopsided round 1 match-up, made Tim Hunter, remarkably, just a little uglier.
Ed Jovanovski - “Special Ed” was almost the complete package with great speed, good puck skills, an often fiery disposition and quick heavy hands when it came to scrapping. “Jovo Cop” used his fleet feet to become a feared open ice hitter. Always a great teammate, he was eager to take one for the team. Here he is making quick work of Adam Deadmarsh, handing the poor guy the first of many concussions. Eddie proved his popularity around here defeating the legendarily dirty Dave “Tiger” Williams in the last round.
View and vote here:
Today’s Honourable Mention:
Barry Wilkins - Who the heck is this guy? Better known as the guy that scored the Canucks first NHL goal, Wilkins was a hard rock defenseman “back in the day”. This hard nosed defender was the Nucks’ most consistent d-man in their early years, providing crucial toughness to an expansion team that certainly needed it.
Tomorrow, we will bring you the final Round Two pairing.
Okay, we’ve milked this for long enough - we’re on to round two. Thanks for your participation. A quick recap of round one:
Trevor Linden defeated Rick Rypien in a mismatch. Clearly, the voters are putting more emphasis on a balanced definition of toughness as opposed to pure pugilism. We applaud your discriminating taste.
Stan Smyl took out the much larger Jack McIlhargey in a fairly lopsided pairing. After this battle, we envision Jack Mac wearing that neck brace he fashioned on one of the late 70’s hockey cards of our youth.
Harold Snepsts destroyed Tim Hunter in our most lopsided match. And no, we were not stuffing the ballot box in favour of our hero Harold. Really, an ex-Flame had no business being in this contest in the first place.
Mattias Ohlund narrowly edged out Cam Neely. This will have some eyes rolling but Mattias presumably gets credibility for his long career here. In fact, we will go as far to say that if Ohlund were not Swedish, he’d have been a bigger fan favourite here and just might have wound up with his number hanging from the rafters. Flame away.
Ron “Chief” Delorme took out “The Strangler”, Garth Butcher, in a close match (did we say how much we loved the old school nicknames?). We suspect ”Chief” (now the Canucks’ Chief Amateur Scout) won’t get much further. Especially, if we get too much further in our draft analysis before his next match.
Gino Odjick barely eclipsed the original “Captain Canuck”, Orland Kurtenbach, in another close one. We’re sure this will leave some of the 70’s natives (we mean you, kenikoop) more than a little restless. If anything, this proves that pure pugilism can win out, particularly against a faceless victim (sorry Kurt, but you’re too old for our sketchy memories).
Ed “Jovo Cop” Jovanovski dispensed with Dave “Tiger” Williams proving that you don’t need brain to overcome brawn. Perhaps just more brawn. Or less criminal convictions.
Curt Fraser in the tightest match-up brought down Donald Brashear. We’re surprised by this outcome, not because Fraser wasn’t fantastically tough, but because his prime was quite sometime ago and Brash was the heavyweight champ for so many years.
Harold Snepsts - Here at CC, we have a serious case of man crush love for “Harooooooold”. And not because of his dashing good looks. Snepsts was a war horse defensemen, punishing hitter and a feared fighter. Forget about the giveaway to Mike Bossy in OT of game 1 of the ‘82 final, we’re talking about physical toughness here and he was as tough as they came.
There’s no shortage of vintage Snepsts clips, but we like this one, which is from late in his career (while playing for the Wings) taking on the supposed tough guy, Wendel Clark (in his presumed prime). Even an old Harold can open a can of whup ass on the hated Leaf:
And if that wasn’t enough, you can find clips of him in his early days destroying Dave “The Hammer” Schultz, renowned by many as the toughest of the tough Broad Street Bullies (the quality is crap, but the beating is not):
Tim Hunter - So we have to ask the question, was he tough because of that face. Or did he have that face because he wasn’t so good at being tough? We say it was the former that left Hunter with little option but to be one of the most feared and respected heavyweights of his generation. By the time his career brought him to Vancouver, his “best” days were behind him, but his toughness seemed to rub off on the rest of his teammates. He was a key component of the famed ‘94 team. Here he is taking on most of the Winnipeg Jets (including bowling ball headed Tie Domi):
Sergio Momesso - This lead footed winger could never work his way off the top 3 lines no matter how indifferent his play nor how many boneheaded penalties he took. That said, the “Italian Stallion” was a big body with a nasty temperament. As Tom Larschied was apt to point out, “Sergio looks like a guy that just had his car stolen”.