Kukla's Korner

Canucks and Beyond

Re-Learning Canucks Hockey

(Prologue: So, to explain my MIA, I had that baby last March and then I took my sweet time reading the “How To” manual for her… but I think maybe I’ve got that girl all figured out so now I’m back.  To all of you out there who used to visit my little column and exchanged notes with me,  I’ve missed you!  I hope all is well!)

To start, I have to admit that I don’t know much about these Vancouver Canucks nowadays, and might need a little re-education, ergo opinions are very welcome.  So here’s the first problem I’ve had in figuring out all the changes in the last year or so:  I keep hearing phrases like “class of the NHL” and “Alain Vigneault is the greatest” and so on.

Lordy, it’s ramblings like this that makes a long-time fan very nervous. I know that sounds pessimistic, but sweet geezus, I’m a Canucks fan… pessimism is my freakin’ JOB.

First off, “class of the NHL” seems like Murphy’s Law code-speak for “let’s get swept out in the first round of the playoffs”; and frankly, Vigneault being described as anything but the devil makes me wonder about the intellectual collapse of the Canucks fan base.

But.  I guess 85 points in February doesn’t lie.  How did that happen?

As a bystander who’s spent most of the last year proudly mothering a tiny little terrorist and reading books like “Parenting for Complete Idiots”, I’m admittedly out of the loop, but even I can see there’s been a few obvious factors at work.  Like Ryan Kesler and the Sedins play going to the next level the past year or so.  And then there’s those new guys, Torres, Malhotra, etc, etc.  But about those new guys… clearly there were a slew of pretty slick additions to this team.  So what I’m wondering is if Vigneault is really the Jack Adams everyone tells me his is, or would it be Mike Gillis (*ugh*) that deserves the credit? 

It’s like a chicken-and-egg argument, I think.  Whether Vigneault made them better, or the players made him look better.  I realize this is an oversimplification, but it’s an argument that was constant in Vancouver during the days of the West Coast Express, if, god forbid, anyone would dare praise Marc Crawford.  (And as I recall, I don’t remember many of y’all being too fond of Crawford!)

So that’s where I’m at, just trying to understand why this team has done so well during my absence, and who I ought to credit for it. 

If it’s Vigneault, then you have my word:  I’ll take all the pins out of that voodoo doll. 


Filed in: vancouver canucks, | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink
  Tags: alain+vigneault, mike+gillis


Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

To all of you out there who used to visit my little column and exchanged notes with me,  I’ve missed you!

Congratulations Alanah.

The timing is more than a little suspicious - perhaps, you (and most of the Canadian MSM) are just band-wagoning the ‘Nucks, with their obscene record.

Good to “type” you again.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 02/23/11 at 11:15 PM ET


Not sure coaches make a lot of difference at the top of the NHL these days - sure, a bad coach (hello, John McLean!) can turn good players into a bad team, but any decent coach will turn good players into a good team. What makes those good players into a great team is chemistry and attitude, which is where the Canucks have really turned the corner this season. But that’s down to (a) the team now has a lot more depth, meaning that there’s no more ‘weak’ line (e.g. any line with Steve Bernier on it) that deflates the whole team, and (b) the team have worked to remove/minimise any problems (lack of depth, lack of scoring, travel issues) which the team could use as an excuse for losing. Except for the traditional voodoo curse on Canucks defencemen, and even that hasn’t crippled the team as it would have in years past.

Gotta say, I’m loving this team right now, up until the playoffs at least, at which point The Fear will return and consume my sanity in the usual manner…

Posted by fcjbencard on 02/23/11 at 11:18 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Gotta say, I’m loving this team right now, up until the playoffs at least, at which point The Fear will return and consume my sanity in the usual manner…

That usually means your team is close. Us Wings fans get this every spring. At first I thought I was in love…then maybe pregnant…but come to find out it’s just another April in the D.  oh oh

Posted by mrfluffy from the phone, calling Detroit, telling them it's on 02/23/11 at 11:23 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Welcome Back !

Posted by Evilpens on 02/23/11 at 11:27 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Jeff OKWingnut —Bandwagon??  I know you’re trying to get a rise out of me, but it won’t work! I think you visited my blog for enough years to know I’m perfectly content with my place in the world, the long-suffering canucks fan.  That’s the point… I’m not sure how to deal with having a winning team!  My depressing philosophy is that what goes up must come down. I’m such a killjoy. smile

fcjbencard— So I can’t decide… are you saying Gillis is the king for selecting these players, or Vigneault for helping shape that chemistry and attitude?  But I know all about The Fear.  God, the playoffs are horrible for our hypertension.

mrfluffy— The difference between your pain and ours is that you’ve got all those damn Cups!  But we appreciate the commisseration. grin

Evilpens—  Thanks, Evilpens!

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/23/11 at 11:38 PM ET

Yankee Canuck's avatar

Ah, the internet makes sense. Welcome back Alanah!

...and hell no does AV deserve an award smile

Posted by Yankee Canuck on 02/23/11 at 11:54 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Yankee Canuck— Yay! So good to see you.  And it’s good to hear a contrary opinion on AV.  Getting myself back up to speed on the internet hockey opinion world, I was getting mildly traumatized by all the adoration he’s getting. (I like my voodoo doll!)

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/24/11 at 12:05 AM ET

Tony's avatar

Welcome back Alanah….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 02/24/11 at 02:10 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Welcome back, grrrl.  I hope the family is doing great.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 02/24/11 at 03:38 AM ET

Luongo-is-my-hero's avatar

Welcome back, good to see another voice for the canucks again.  I’m still waiting to see if our dman play back up to their standards after they come back from injury.  If they do, we have a decent chance to win.  Only team in west that is a real threat is the wings this year, but Boston and Phili look pretty damn scary.  The flyers are stacked.

Posted by Luongo-is-my-hero on 02/24/11 at 04:47 AM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Welcome back Alanah!  So great to read you again.  Congrats on your baby girl, I hope it is all going well.

I’ve created a monster in my house, the BF after rooting for the Wings then the Avs (don’t ask, I didn’t do that part) is a huge Canuck fan.  I secretly think he wants a “Sedin” sweater (he’s not picky, he’d take either one).

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 02/24/11 at 01:30 PM ET


Great to have you back, Alanah!

Posted by Patrick Hoffman from Fairfield, CT on 02/24/11 at 01:56 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Tony, Voox, Luongo, Patrick… Thanks everyone for the nice welcomes.  And thank you, Puckhound61, for that comprehensive season assessment. That was awesome!

Hockeychic… Just get him one that simply has “Sedin” on it and the number 23. Then he can just go with the popular choice at any given time, and blame the printer for the number error. smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/24/11 at 03:05 PM ET

GZ Expat's avatar

Welcome back…I’ve been a bit MIA myself these days since moving back from China and…well…they expect me to WORK everyday here in the USA.  Yeesh!

Posted by GZ Expat on 02/24/11 at 03:17 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Expat— Wow! Back in the U.S.  Glad to hear from you.  Don’t let them work you TOO hard! smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/24/11 at 05:06 PM ET

SYF's avatar


Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 02/24/11 at 05:33 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Hi SYF!  Awww.  That’s not unlike a recent photo I took of Lucy and chocolate ice cream.  smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/24/11 at 05:41 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

Welcome back, you were greatly missed.

Glad the little terror is doing well. Anyone who talks about boys being harder than girls to deal with hasn’t seen my nephew or niece - regardless of gender, children are EXHAUSTING. smile

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 02/26/11 at 10:44 AM ET


I know I’m kind of late to the party, and I’m not that frequent of a commenter, but still, a big “Welcome Back!” is due.  My first kid was born during the Winter Olympics last year and so I think I can understand.  You’re actually back earlier than I thought you would.

As for the Canucks (and you made me feel bad that I’ve watched many games this season), it’s hard to say whether it’s the coach.  I think he is doing a fine job but I think coaching is overrated by some.  AV is good but even the best coach can’t turn a bad team into Cup contender.  He was probably a bigger factor when the team was not as strong in 2006-07 than now, when the players are good enough that they probably don’t require a lot of coaching.

Two games ago, He actually called a timeout!  Don’t think I saw him he did that before,  other than letting the guys rest when one of the nets was empty.  I remember people complained about him the most about two points: line juggling and refusing to call timeouts.  He listened to us!  (Granted, he only juggles his lines when the team is trailing and the team hasn’t done much of that these days)

Posted by Kel on 02/26/11 at 11:27 AM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Hi Kel! Congratulations on the baby… I guess ours both came around the same time. That’s awesome.

AV called a timeout? Wow. Maybe a leopard can change its spots!  I’m going to have to try and see the guy with fresh eyes the rest of this season. “Try” being the operative word… my biases are hard to change. smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/26/11 at 03:46 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Baroque! I almost missed your comment. Thank you so much.  How are you doing? Yes, girls have serious energy but I guess it’s a baby thing in general.  I guess that energy will serve her well if she ends up wanting to play hockey, anyway… wink

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/26/11 at 03:54 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

I am doing pretty well, thanks. My niece turns two in March, and she definitely has more of a temper than her big brother - a lot like her mom, actually. My brother in law thinks she might make a good lacrosse player when she gets older (like you can tell anything about the future of a two year old, HA!).

I just can’t understand how neither of them is willing to take a nap. I would LOVE to be able to take a couple hour nap every single afternoon, but NO - something about “sleeping on the job” or some such thing. Stupid work.  LOL

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 02/27/11 at 02:10 PM ET

GZ Expat's avatar

Welcome back to Baroque too!!

Ahh…all the old names coming back to me now.

Posted by GZ Expat on 02/27/11 at 09:56 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Baroque - Maybe the niece and nephew think the action of taking a nap would be their version of “sleeping on the job.”  (Their job being to drive their parents crazy.)  smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 02/28/11 at 05:37 AM ET

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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]

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