Canucks and Beyond
“It’s a couple weeks late, just like my game.”
—Roberto Luongo, on receiving his new mask (via Canucks.com which adds: “Criticizing Luongo has apparently become so popular that the man himself is taking shots at the man himself.”)
*photo is property of Ben Kuzma
From last night’s pre-game ceremonies—
On a related topic, ESPN’s Roy S. Johnson has a piece out today on the issue of depression among many throughout professional sports.
Last year’s Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins featured a very clever video by Canucks’ fan Adam MacKay-Smith—you can see it here. One of my favourite fan videos of all time.
While the focus of tonight’s match-up between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Rangers is primarily the game itself, there are other—and more important—matters at hand tonight in Vancouver. While the Canucks celebrate the return on Ryan Kesler and NYR hope to get their team on track, the game itself will be set against a more poignant backdrop.
Tonight, the Canucks will be ceremonially remembering Rick Rypien during pre-game events, starting at 7:04pm PT, delaying puck-drop to 7:15.
Among other things, Rick’s family will be on hand for an announcement on behalf of the Canucks For Kids Fund. In honour of Rick’s memory, the CFKF is contributing $50,000 to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to develop a website dedicated to helping youth and young adults with mental health issues.
— Last night’s Philly/Van game. Listening to “Jagr has the puck…” calls was surreal enough, but much of the rest of the game was outright painful. Hopefully the pre-season ends soon for these guys? (On the other side of the equation, hearing the words “goalie controversy” five minutes into the season sort of makes some of us want to smack around the entire Canucks fanbase.)
— Today’s Canucks/Wings game. It appears that some Canucks fans (i.e. me) aren’t able to watch the Vancouver/Detroit game tonight. Apparently MLB (and its spry little scurrying squirrel... wth?) is dominating our regular Sportsnet SD and HD channels.
This has forced tonight’s hockey matchup between the Red Wings and Canucks up onto some stratospheric backup channel on the TV dial (well, they used to be called dials… back when I had 80’s hair), and one that apparently I can’t get. This is despite the fact I pay more for my cable each month than I do for health insurance. For my entire family.
So, I’m distressed to say that I missed the Canucks second game of the season, against Columbus on Monday.
Not because I was busy with work (it was Canadian Thanksgiving); not because my kid was screaming for attention (she was buried in family affection all weekend and really didn’t want anything to do with any of us after a certain point); not because I was cooking some big feast (after three straight days of Thanksgiving dinners, I may never look at food again, much less turkey); and not because I was too drunk to program the PVR (like I said, Thanksgiving, family, screaming kids, etc).
None of these things.
No, the reason I missed Monday’s game against Columbus is because I downloaded the Canucks iPhone app.
Most of the stories about the Vancouver Canucks this past summer had one theme: they lost. Kaboom. The Stanley Cup Finals was a great ride… until it wasn’t.
But with a new season finally upon us, the page seems to be turning as the analysis switches towards the new topic of “so now what?” With the puck drop countdown now in its final hours, perhaps it’s finally safe to to start being optimistic about a new season.
—Is the latest version of the NHL—Brendan Shanahan’s NHL, that is— built for the Canucks? You could make the argument that it is. In today’s Province, Ed Willes argues his thesis about the Red Wings Way:
The Canucks superstar is among nine male sports stars posing au naturel, including basketball player Blake Griffin, footballer Steven Jackson and UFC fighter Jon Jones. Kesler is the only NHL player to appear this year.
—CTV British Columbia
The complete ESPN feature available here.
To some, it seems like Alain Vigneault’s Canucks are going through the pre-season for no purpose other than to put in time, rather than to actually identify the season’s best lineup. No doubt, there’s a method to the madness, but it’s sometimes easy to believe the final roster has been long-decided, and that tryouts and rookies are simply participating in a well-publicized NHL-Ice exercise program.
Tony Gallagher referenced this in terms related to Cody Hodgson last week, but this week expands his concerns, seemingly embracing the idea that the entire Vancouver preseason is more of a shell-game intended to get the team off to a faster start than in the past, without much hope for any newbies to the club.
“At the end of the day, it could have been worse. I’m lucky to be standing here today with arms and legs moving. I’m still having some discomfort with some soft tissue, but it’s coming along well and I’m happy with the process.
“Whenever you have something in that [spinal] area, you have a serous risk of having additional problems. So, yeah, I feel lucky.”
—Mason Raymond, Vancouver Sun, September 22
But Sun columnist Ian MacIntyre notes that there’s still no certainty Raymond will ever play again, having broken a vertebrae in his back after a check from Johnny Boychuk in Game 6 against Boston in the SCF.
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]