It’s never been easy being a Canucks fan. It all started when Vancouver and Buffalo entered the National Hockey League at the same time (1970) and the Sabres won a coin toss (actually it might have been a circus wheel but it doesn’t really matter) and got to draft first and grab Gilbert Perrault and we got Dale Tallon.
Now Tallon turned out to be a fine defenceman and a pretty good leader but he didn’t have the flair and talent of a Perrault and the Sabres ended up getting Rene Robert and Rick Martin to make up the French Connection line that led the Sabres on to bigger and better things (although no Stanley Cup), and, well, we didn’t (no Stanley Cup for us either, of course).
Plus, the Sabres had pretty cool colours and a nifty logo and although I’ve learned to love the Canucks colours and logo (especially after they, after consulting with a marketing firm apparently, changed to Halloween colours and no logo for awhile), it’s taken awhile. I have to admit I didn’t know the original logo was actually a hockey stick inside a stylized ‘C’ but I get it now, for what it’s worth.
So all this navel gazing is for a reason, I promise.
You see my boss’s team (Calgary Flames) has clinched a playoff spot, and my brother’s team, the Edmonton Oilers after 10 long years, has clinched a playoff spot, and now one of my kid’s team, the Montreal Canadiens, has also secured a position on the road to the Stanley Cup. And the Ottawa Senators, our photographer’s team, is set to follow.
And, wonders of wonders, even the Toronto Maple Leafs, my other kid’s team, is on track to make the playoffs, barring some disaster, which of course with the Leafs is still possible.
And the fact that there may be as many as five of Canada’s teams in the NHL playoffs when there were none last year is certainly reason to celebrate as a nation.
Especially when you consider how far the Oilers and the Leafs have come in one year with a youth movement that bodes well for the future. And that’s an understatement.
Then there’s the Canucks. No playoffs this year and it’s even hard to get excited about next year at this point, although they are finally getting a youth movement led by Bo Horvat that at least shows some promise.
I know there’s the Jets in Winnipeg too by the way that are likely out of the playoffs this year as well, but their fans at least are still in the “just glad to have our team back mode.”
Certainly us Canucks fans can take solace in two Game 7’s in the Stanley Cup finals to look back on (both losses of course but, hey, the memories), and many other highlights too numerous to mention (at least in this limited space).
Still, it seems like another trip to the finals is as far away at this point as ever. Again, heavy sigh.
However, I’m choosing to be optimistic and if the Leafs and Oilers can turn things around with a youth movement (and of course a plethora of high draft picks), then so can we, and hopefully it doesn’t take nearly as long.
As far as this year, with no need to watch all those playoff games (although I likely will watch some anyway), I just may get some yardwork done before the Stanley Cup is awarded sometime in June.
Go Leafs go.