What's Up In Van City - By Ajay Baines

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What's up in Van city? By Ajay Baines

Prior to the start of this NHL season, a lot of so-called media experts and fans were picking the Vancouver Canucks to win the 2011 Stanley Cup.  In fact, 7 of the 8 writers in the Hockey News picked the 'Nucks to win it all.  I thought this was unfair pressure to put on a Canadian team, that I felt had no real edge over any of the other top teams in the league.  Even I got a soft spot the the Canucks, and said they would lose to Pittsburgh in the finals.  I'm not saying they don't have a chance to get there, cause they have a very good team, but anyone who watched saturday night's game against their arch-rival Chicago Blackhawks, should be disgusted.

Here is a team that has knocked out the Canucks in each of the past two playoffs, in the second round, and they were making their first visit to GM place this season.  Sure the Canucks were returning home from a five-game road trip, and that first game back is always tough.  But this was the Hawks they were playing.  No extra motivation should be needed to play these guys.  The Hawks lost 10 players from last years Cup team, and the Canucks added four pieces to their team this year.  Breaking the team's down, I still said at the start of the year, Chicago's top two lines were still better than the Canucks'.  The third and fourth lines should've fallen in the Canucks favour.  Chi-town d-men are some of the best in the league, but the Canucks supposedly upgraded to make their core solid as well.  And in goal, Loungo should get the edge over Turco and Schnieder over Crawford....on paper.

However, the game is played on the ice.  It's one thing to lose at home to your biggest rival, hey, it happens.  But to be embarrassed in front of you fans, and on national television 7-1, and not show any emotion?  Cmon man, this is unacceptable.  Daniel Sedin got taken down by Dave Bolland later in the game, and not one Canuck even put a glove in Pat Kane's face, nor did anyone confront Bolland.  That shows me that the Canucks are not a very tight team.  Excuse them though, Rick Rypien was a healthy scratch.  He's 5'10, 175 pounds, and is their warrior, so I guess no one else could stand up to the Hawks.

But the same old story, all the fingers were pointing at Luongo for getting pulled and losing the game.  Lou is an easy target, and is going to face the music with the money he is pulling in, but what about the team.  Emotion is supposed to be shown from the guys playing in front of him.  People may laugh, but why couldn't Henrik drop the gloves the next night vs Phoenix, just to let the team know that we won't accept this.  Or Raymond, or Malhotra.  Guys that usually don't do stuff like that.  Sometimes you have to do something different, cause whatever they are doing versus the Hawks, just ain't working.  Kesler, the guy who is known for playing with passion, didn't confront anyone, and Andrew Ladd isn't even on the team anymore.  You think the Flyers or the Bruins (two cup contenders) would have let that happen in their building without getting pissed off?  Nope.  Mike Green for the Caps has two fights this year, I think he's tied with the whole Canucks D-core.

I'm not saying it's all about fighting, but show some emotion, show you care, and have some pride.  There is still time to figure this out for the Orca Bay boys.....but they better do it soon.



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