Kukla's Korner

Canucks and Beyond

Why Chicago is the Best Opponent

I’ll admit to being one of those misguided sad sacks who had dreams of reliving all the bright moments of 1994 in this 2009 playoffs. In my fantasies, the Vancouver Canucks would leave a trail of road kill in their wake, littered most brightly with Calgary Flames sweaters and tragically-suicidal oil country executives. But alas, Chicago has taken care of that fun stuff already, and with San Jose’s (fully expected, planned and scheduled) implosion, we now move on to bigger and better things: the ruination of the Chicago Blackhawks.

However, after pondering this state of affairs for a bit, I’ve decided I’m pleased with this new direction. For one thing, 1994 obviously lacked a fully happy ending, so perhaps it’s time to let that sleeping dog die.  And for another, there are many points of optimism in this new direction—in both the fallout of the first round and in the upcoming series against Chicago’s team of grade schoolers—which I’ve listed below. Trivial and petty things really, but this is playoff hockey… complex and rational commentary is overrated.

Here are some of the positive outcomes of round #1, and Vancouver’s future assault in round #2, that come to mind:

Mike Keenan Payback.

There’re so many reasons for a Canucks fan to despise Keenan, from the 1994 battle itself, to the years after where he joined the club and focused on destroying our dreams from within. But now that the 1st round has taken his team down, while pundits and fans call for his head, perhaps we can enjoy this as some kind of vindication, in a warm-fuzzies sort of way.

Now, if only the brickheads of the world would quit blaming Kiprusoff.  As I’ve said from the beginning of his Calgary induction, it was inevitable Keenan would eventually destroy Kipper’s will to live, much less his will to stop pucks. (People really need to pay more attention to my predictive superpowers…)

Hate is easy to come by. 

Playoff hockey without passion is like iced tea without ice. Or tea. Or lemon. It’s like a glass of water, really; boring!  But Chi v. Van will be murky, messy, acidic water indeed. 

The Canucks are so restless to play they’re even beating up each other in practice.  Imagine how much more fun it’ll be with Ben Eager.

Last Stand for Canada.

The Canucks are the final remaining Canadian team in this year’s playoffs.  While many dispossessed Canadian fans will be turning against the Canucks and praying for their destruction (and I can appreciate that; I think I’d be the same way if Calgary advanced to the 2nd round and Vancouver hadn’t), many others will be cheering for their one-time enemy. 

That’s great news for for Vancouver.  Without Calgary stealing those precious potential jersey sales, it’s more money for the Canucks Mothership.  (And thank god for that, because you know how much we hear of their financial struggles. I worry about them. I worry about how they’ll feed their kids if you don’t buy more Canucks merchandise.)

This series will invigorate the popularity of deep dish pizza on the West Coast. 

I’m told it’s very, very good—yummy to the max.  So just imagine how much better it’ll be when we add our special West Coast touches… like slices of avocado, crumbles of kelp, a touch of smoked salmon, and with some wheat germ sprinkled on top?

Get Patrick Kane to tell a reporter how great it tastes and the whole city of Chicago might implode in horror. Good times.

Don Taylor-isms. 

Sportsnet’s Don Taylor has a quip for all occasions, but he seems to gain particular merriment out of the bastardization of Nikolai Khabibulin’s name. A recent favorite of my husband’s, which he’s been quoting at me 5 times a day lately, is: “He caught it with his right habby… or was it his left bulin?” 

Seriously, Don’s got a million. I want to suffer ‘em all.

Stereotypes & Generalizations.

Chicago mafia, anyone?  Weirdly though, mafia references have to be pretty much limited to Vancouver—have you ever seen a shot of the Canucks bench during a game? Their lineup of coaches collectively look like they could be sending out screen tests for a Soprano’s remake.

Other generalizations about Chicago that come to mind are the music—specifically,  the blues.  So if CBC doesn’t find a way to tie hockey into the history of blues music in Chicago at least once during this series, I’ll be thoroughly pissed.

Oprah.

She’s there, she’s hip, she’s cool, and she’s worshipped by at least 10,000 Vicodin-inflated soccer moms per square mile throughout the state, if not the country. 

Just get Ms O. to make one smart quip about the fun of watching NHL playoff hockey and the networks will have to start weighing their profit revenues, not counting them.

Obama. 

I like Barack Obama, I do, but there’s one important fact about sitting presidents that works in Vancouver’s favor: their home states suck ass in championships while their presidents are in office.  Texas? Ask George how things have been working out for his baseball team.  And Billy’s Arkansas? No comment necessary.  (Besides, I don’t honestly know if there’s such a thing as pro-sports in Arkansas. Do you actually care?)

Checking back in with Chicago I see the Bulls are alive in first round of the NBA playoffs, but you know they’re going down sometime.  It’s a sad reality of being a U.S. president: you might be the leader of the free world for a couple years, but you can forget about celebrating sports in your favorite jerseys.

A television ratings lottery

Chicago is certainly a boon to the NHL’s networks, as the team’s skating tribe of healthy pre-pubescent boys will inevitably boost TV ratings within that most coveted demographic in pro sports: 8-12 year old girls.  (Patrick, you’re sooooo cute!!)

Close to home.

Last but not least, the best thing about playing the Chicago Blackhawks in round #2 is the sheer practicality of the set-up.  With Vancouver being the home team, and British Columbia and other western provinces being the actual home of half the Blackhawks, they’ll already be at mom and dad’s place once the series ends!

Finishing this in 5 games will work out perfectly. 7 games will work, too, but if that happens, I’ll guess I’ll have to dial down the cocky attitude a bit. smile

Go Canucks!

Filed in: obnoxious hockey blogging, vancouver canucks, | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink
  Tags: chicago+blackhawks, stanley+cup+playoffs, vancouver+canucks

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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? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]