NHL Playoffs 2012: 5 Reasons Why We Love to Hate the Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks seem to be the NHL’s most hated team, but the reasoning behind it is up for debate.
Some argue that hockey fans hate the Canucks because they’re the best team, which simply isn’t true. While regular season success is fine, fans don’t take to hating the President’s Trophy winners, they hate champions.
The New England Patriots, New York Yankees and L.A. Lakers are all examples of this. Those teams have won strings of championships, forming dynasties in their respective leagues. In turn it has lead to a strong sense of hatred from fans of other teams.
The Vancouver Canucks have yet to win a single Stanley Cup.
Instead, I would suggest that the reason why the Canucks are hated is because of the players they have on their roster. Players who have come to represent a brand of hockey most fans detest. It’s a style of play highlighted by diving, cheap shots and dirty hits.
Kesler can, when he wants to, be one of the most impactful two-way players in hockey. He should be mentioned in the same breath as other physical, skilled forwards such as the Kings' Mike Richards. Unfortunately, he seems more focused on drawing penalties than playing hockey.
Kesler has been criticized as a player who consistently dives in an attempt to draw penalties. This series has been a prime example.
In Game 1 the Canucks scored a goal when Kesler seemed to interfere with Kings Goalie Jonathan Quick, before suddenly lifting his head back as though he’d been high-sticked. Later in the game he took a tumble and somersaulted after being touched by Richards.
Finally, Kesler’s dive in Game 3 is possibly his best yet. It was over embellishment at its best, yet Kesler managed to draw the penalty. With that in mind, fans likely hate Kesler not only for diving, but for getting away with it as well.
Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider have the talent to be two of the leagues better starting goaltenders. However, inconsistent play by Luongo and the media circus that’s followed has left fans mocking the Canucks' goaltending situation.
Luongo has a cap hit of $5,333,333 a year, compared to Schneider’s $900,000. It’s those numbers which make fans laugh at the fact that the Canucks will ride Schneider the rest of the series versus L.A., while Luongo rides the pine.
This following a season where Luongo lead the Canucks to the Stanley Cup final, but turned in some awful performances in his three starts in Boston. Luongo posted a GAA over eight and a save percentage of .773, all in under 120 minutes of ice time.
It leaves Canucks fans to wonder, if Schneider had started a game in Boston maybe the Canucks could have won the cup.
Luongo isn’t viewed as an arrogant or dirty player. He’s on the list because he’s overrated and overpaid, which leaves fans mocking him and the Canucks goaltending situation.
Chicago Blackhawks fans have their own reason to hate Burrows, as he ended Chicago’s Cup run last season with a Game 7 overtime winner. For the rest of the NHL’s fans, Burrows' name stands out for other reasons.
Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final, Alex Burrows bit Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron's finger during a scrum. To add insult to injury, Burrows wasn’t suspended for his actions.
Burrows has delivered a number of other cheap shots as well. In a game against the New York Rangers Burrows delivered a blow to Marc Staals groin with his stick. In a similar incident, Burrows laid a knee to the groin of Chicago’s Duncan Keith.
Although often an effective player, Burrows needs to cut the cheap shots out of his game if he wants to earn the respect of players and fans.
Lapierre is well known for his diving, dirty hits, big mouth and lack of respect for other players. Although many of his infractions occurred prior to joining the Canucks, Lapierre is a Canuck now, and his style of play hasn’t changed.
This video shows a dangerous and gutless hit from behind on Scott Nichol, which landed Lapierre a four game suspension. As the commentators point out, Lapierre seems to shy away from taking responsibility for the hit, emerging to confront the Sharks players only when a linesmen is present.
Lapierre’s history of embellishment includes this play from last year’s Stanley cup final, where a tap from Chara caused him to crouch and wince in 'pain.'
Lapierre should consider taking diving lessons from Ryan Kesler or he’ll continue to end up in the penalty box for embellishing.
The Sedin Twins
In what may be his best move to date, then Canucks G.M. Brian Burke selected the Sedins second and third overall in the 1999 NHL entry draft.
There is no denying the Sedins talents; they are two of the best players in the game. Henrik has won the Art Ross and Hart trophies, while Daniel picked up the Art Ross last season.
Some criticize the Sedins for not being the most well-rounded players. Henrik in one of the best play-makers in the NHL, tallying over 60 assists in each of the last six seasons, however his goal totals have been average at best.
Daniel has been consistent having reached the 25 goal and 40 assist marks in six seasons, but many continue to question whether he can be productive without his brother.
The Sedins may not be the fastest, toughest or best two way players in the game, but they are extremely talented, unselfish players. Maybe the only justified criticism of the Sedins is their performance in the playoffs, where they have been good but not great.
Although they turned it up a notch at times in the playoffs last year, finishing with a combined 12 goals and 42 points, they were also a combined minus 20.
The Sedins will likely continue to be criticized and disliked by the majority of fans outside of B.C. We’ll chalk that up to envy as surely hockey fans across North America would love to see the Sedins suit up for their team.