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Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks and the Curse of Mediocrity

I’ve spent all of my life as a fan of the Detroit Tigers, so I’ve supported mediocre teams for more years than I like to remember. Sure the Tigers went to the World Series in 2006, but before that you have to go back to the 1980’s to find Tiger teams that performed at championship levels. In fact since 1945 there have not been more than five years in which the Tigers were a contender (1950, 1967, 1972, 1987, 2006), and two years when they won the World Series (1968 and 1984).

So what does that have to do with hockey, you ask? Well, I live in Vancouver and I like the Canucks, but I’m not what you would call a “hard core” fan. For those who are, mediocrity has been the name of the game for their team since the first season in 1970-71, except for the two seasons that the Canucks made it to the Stanly Cup finals. In 1982, the young Edmonton Oilers got upset in the first round which gave Vancouver an opening to get to the finals but they were beaten handily by the great Islander team of that era. In 1994, a very excellent Vancouver team took the Rangers to game seven before bowing out in the game that Mark Messier guaranteed for Ranger fans..

Mediocre teams keep teasing their fans with a good season every now and then. Then when the owners sense the fans are getting restless, they may bring in a new Coach or a new General Manager, or a new superstar player or, more often than not, an old superstar player. When the Canucks face the San Jose Sharks later tonight, fans in attendance will be participating in the team’s 236th consecutive sell-out and they’ll get to judge whether or not the team has a new or old superstar on their hands. In the early 1990’s Pavel Bure came along and helped the team to the success they experienced in 1994. He was a young superstar. In the late 1990’s the Canucks signed Mark Messier and the team went nowhere. He was an old superstar.

Mats Sundin has had an outstanding career, but he has never been in quite the environment that he’s entered here in Vancouver. The fans are going to give him a few games to get up-to-speed, but look for the boo-birds to come out quickly if the results are not forthcoming. Fans who have supported teams like the Tigers or the Canucks know how it feels to be constantly looking to next year. Unfortunately, my view is that this is going to be one of those years for fans in Vancouver.

The Old Timer
January 10, 2009

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One comment for “The Canucks and the Curse of Mediocrity”

  1. I was one of the local fans rooting for the Canucks when they faced the mighty Islanders in the 1982 Stanley Cup final. It was like David vs. Goliath, with the Canucks putting up a good fight, and we loved it. That series also saw the early use of Towel Power, originated in Vancouver by Coach Roger Neilson, when he waved a white towel from the end of a stick after a bad referee call during an earlier playoff series. As for tonight’s game and Mr. Sundin, the Shark’s broadcasters thought the standing ovation was a little over-the-top when he scored a goal that even I could have made. It was also noted that Sundin sat in the penalty box two nights in a row while the winning goal was scored by the other team. But I’m sure the fans will give him more time to get into the swing of things. Someone once said “you gotta have hope!” because it makes life worth living and sports teams worth following. Go Sharks and Tigers!

    Posted by Son of OTNo Gravatar | January 11, 2009, 12:41 am

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