Dylan Markley

Dylan is a cultural studies major from UBCO and an avid writer. He's played hockey his whole life and follows the Canucks mercilessly. In fact, although he was only 5 years old during the Canucks 94' playoff run, he acts like he remembers it perfectly.

Jan 082014
 
scrum

There’s just something about the Vancouver Canucks. Everyone seems to want a piece of them. Sure they are a consistently solid team with (somewhat) mouthy players like Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows, but does that merit, what seems to be, a league-wide hatred? If you ask the players they’d tell you they like being hated – it means they are doing their job. But there are certain players which go above beyond the casual disdain. Players that seem to thrive on making the Canucks miserable whenever they get a chance.

These players are sprinkled throughout the league and may only visit Rogers Arena once or twice a year but Canucks Nation does not forget. We proudly and stubbornly maintain our air of loathing for years if we have to. For these are the players Facebook groups are made of. Players that cause Canucks fans everywhere to put down their beers and join in a very heated and very unanimous bashing.

This list could probably become a graduate thesis, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to the five most disliked players by Canucks fans in the league today. Hate away:

5) Dave Bolland- This one dates back a few years to Bolland’s antagonizing of the Sedin twins. A central part of the on ice rivalry, Bolland took it too far when he publicly insulted the veteran brothers  on Chicago radio.

4) Dustin Brown- A player who doesn’t seem to respect the “code” involving star players, Brown always seems to gravitate towards the Sedins often plastering them with high hits and vicious checks.

3) Tim Thomas- Just uttering the alliteration of this goalie’s name can get you glares among Canuck fans. Stemming back to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, there is no love lost for the Bruins’ former goaltender. Here he forgets about the puck and absolutely nails Henrik Sedin (no call of course).

2) Joe Thornton- A thorn in the Canucks side, Joe has had some legendary battles with our boys. With the San Jose sharks being somewhat of a foil to the Vancouver Canucks, there’s no wonder Jumbo Joe is a big part of this rivalry. Whether it’s scoring a big goal, or putting his hand in Henrik Sedin’s face during a meeting with the ref, Joey knows how to get under the Canucks skin.

1) Brad Marchand- Was there ever any doubt? Public enemy number one has to go to Brad Marchand. Cheap hits, sarcastic gestures and an overall rat-likeness has garnered Marchand the position of most-loathed in the city of Vancouver. Here he cleanly hits tough-guy Sami Salo. Notice my use of italics….

Jan 012014
 

Kevin Bieksa scores in OT to beat the San Jose Sharks and propel the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Typically, 5th round picks become forgotten players who either provide depth for the minor league club or fizzle out and turn to other professions. Kevin Bieksa refused this notion fighting his way onto the Canucks via a mix of hard work, toughness and skill.

Since his inaugural season with the Canucks in 2005, Bieksa has been a mainstay. But while his role on the team has changed over the years, his value has remained static. Bieksa is a leader both on and off the ice serving as one of the assistant captains and as one of the more colorful personalities in the dressing room. You’ll often find him with a smile on his face in interviews, but when the puck drops he’s all grimace. That’s why us Canuck fans know when he goes down it can’t be good. This guy is tough. Luckily, the puck that hit Bieksa in the face on Monday just gave him a black eye and no real injuries because let’s be honest: Who wants a world without Kevin?

Here are a few Kevin Bieksa moments that illustrate why this dude is such a fan-favorite:

5) In an interview after a playoff game against Los Angeles, Bieksa is mistaken for teammate Ryan Kesler and rolls with it. Hilarious patriotism.

4) Bieksa borrows a move from the UFC and surprises Mike Richards with a flying superman punch.

3) Never one to back down from a fight, number 3 takes on tough guy Ben Eager in a brawl that sparked this modern-day rivalry.

2) In game 2 of the 2011 Western Conference Finals, Bieksa takes a breakaway pass from Chris Higgins to give the Canucks the lead at a crucial moment.

1) Capping off a great series, Bieksa nets the series-winning goal in double overtime with a fluky knuckle-puck from the blue line, and propels the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.

Dec 182013
 
lou bad goal

You love when the Canucks score them but hate when they give them up. Those fluky goals that can pop up out of nowhere and change the momentum of the game at the drop of a helmet.  These goals are bizarre but admittedly entertaining.  Canucks fans have been “entertained” by them early and often so far this season with a number of bizarre goals going in already before the Olympic break. Coach John Tortorella has remained adamant that these moments even out over the course of an 82-game season but if that’s the case I think the Canucks may have already used all theirs up. It’s only December and we can already compile a list of wacky Canucks-related goals from this season!

Here are the top 5 bizarre Canucks-related goals from the 2013-2014 season thus far:

5) Alexander Edler – In an afternoon game Edler uses his booming slapshot to snipe a beauty from center ice….just kidding! Fleury bobbles it BIG TIME. We’re used to seeing Fleury lose the puck though (World Juniors anyone?).

 

4) Ryan Kesler-  A goalie’s nightmare, but a player’s fantasy. In a game against Philly, Ryan Kesler gobbles up a lucky bounce and distributes it into the yawning cage with ease.

 

3) Joe Thornton on Roberto Luongo – “Once it got on top of the net I was like: Oh S***! What’s going on here?”- Roberto Luongo on this insane bounce from a Jumbo Joe dump in.

 

2) Jannik Hansen – A recent goal from a memorable game this Jannik Hansen snipe looks more like an R.A. Dickey knuckleball then a slapshot. It helped shake up the confidence of Bruins goalie Tukka Rask and got the Canucks off to a good start against their Arch-rivals.

 

1) Lars Eller on Roberto Luongo via Dan Hamhuis – This was one fans hated. Not only was it completely avoidable but it led to a weak third period and an eventual loss. Still, it’s hard not to smirk at Lou’s stance as he carefully looks for the puck between his own legs.

 

Dec 112013
 

With the recent emergence of Mike Santorelli as a legitimate piece of the Canuck Puzzle, it’s clear Mike Gillis is the guy you want next to you on “Black Friday”. This guy can find a bargain. And while he’s had the disapointments that every GM has during their tenure, he’s also had an abundance of pleasant surprises. Sure, the “fairweather fan” is quick to point out the Keith Ballard debacle or the Luongo/Schneider escapades but the true fan can see that, despite those controversies, Gillis has put together a pretty successful squad. He has brought in players to complement the core and has developed a cache of depth to account for injuries and ailments.  Not only that but we’ve seen the most successful Canuck team in the history of the franchise and numerous records broken in his era. This list compiles the mark Gillis has made on the Franchise since his induction as president and general manager.

Here are the top 5 Mike Gillis Acquisitions:

5) Manny Malhotra: A faceoff percentage among the league’s top 5 and 30 points. What every coach wants their third line center to do and what Manny Malhotra did. Unfortunately, a freak injury disrupted what could have been a symbiotic relationship between player and team. But for the few years Manny was here he was effective both on the ice as a player and in the dressing room as a leader.

4) Mikael Samuelsson: This trigger happy swede put up 106 points in 155 games for the Canucks before being traded to the Florida Panthers. His game fit in nicely with the Canucks both on second line duties and with his fellow compatriots the Sedins. The Canucks miss his 30 goals to this day.

3) Christian Erhoff: Acquired in a deal with the San Jose Sharks, Erhoff proved to be an offensive force on the blueline. The german had a seeing-eye shot and tremendous puck-moving skills helping the Canucks to a league-best powerplay. Unfortunately his stay was shortlived as his elevated play allowed him to sign for a bigger contract with the Sabres.

2) Chris Higgins: The ultimate utility player, Chris does it all. He plays a hardnosed game with a bit of touch and is the type of player teams covet in the spring. It’s no surprise Mike Gillis resigned him after initially trading for Higgins at the deadline as a rental.

1) Dan Hamhuis: Hamhuis is the type of player who makes those around him better. His arrival instantly brought out the best in Kevin Bieksa’s game and together the two became one of the more dominant shut-down pairs in the league. Hamhuis is a mainstay on the backend for the Canucks and is the only player besides Luongo to get shortlisted for Team Canada at the upcoming Olympic Games.

Honorable mention: Pavol Demitra, Maxim Lapierre, Mats Sundin, Cody Hodgson.

Dec 042013
 

Kevin Bieksa fights Brian Boyle at the end of the Canucks/Rangers game.

Photo credit: Yahoo

It’s been an angry month for the boys in blue.

The struggling Canucks have tried to keep it together, but every once in a while the anger bubbles through and we see their frustrations manifested through some sort of outburst.  It can be a John Tortorella “pecking” Jannik Hansen with his finger or a Kevin Bieksa challenging  the ogre, Brian Boyle, to a meaningless post-game fight. These guys maintain a calm front and an air of professionalism, but it’s hard to believe they don’t want to break their 300$ sticks over the cross-bar from time to time. The Canucks are no stranger to emotion, with coaches and players alike joining in on the fun throughout the years. And while in the game of hockey angry moments are a dime a dozen (i.e. every Brian Burke press conference), here are a few that stand out.

The top 5 angry outbursts from Canucks are as follows:

5) Ryan Kesler: Hobbies- taking wrist shots, killing penalties and being angry. Kesler was known more for his temper and trash-talking before he won the Selke trophy in 2011. Here we see vintage Kes’ testing the durability of his stick after a missed call.

4) Rick Rypien: Despite his small stature, Rypien was known as one of the most ferocious fighters in the league in his prime. Willing to take on any combatant, Rick even ventured into the crowd to dole out some punishment during a blowout loss to Minnesota.

3) Alex Burrows: Anyone can feel the wrath of Alex Burrows, even the refs. Here, Burr rants about some unfair officiating and an alleged vendetta against him by referee Stephane Auger. Warning: angry Frenchmen often warrant a translator.

2) Entire Canuck Squad: Yellow and black to a Canuck is like red to a bull. The Canucks hate the Boston Bruins and their passion came out with a vengeance in this Stanley Cup final rematch. A line brawl erupts as resentments of season’s past boil over.

1) Gino Odjick: I’m guessing someone peed in Gino’s cornflakes the morning of this game. The big man goes commando style taking down anyone and everyone who comes across his path in a bout against the Blues. Holy cow that guy scares me.

Nov 272013
 

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: National Post

With only a few months before NHL hockey stops and Olympic hockey begins, predictions are a plenty on which players will be playing in Sochi on their respective national teams and who will be left behind to cheer. The Crosbys and Ovechkins are locked into place but others like Matt Duchene and Jamie Benn are making a push for a roster spot. The Vancouver Canucks are, traditionally, a big part of Olympic hockey with many European (cough!-Swedish) players participating. This year should be no different with a handful of Canuck players from around the world making a case for themselves with solid play.

As so discreetly mentioned above, Swedes are often the main ingredient for a successful Canuck recipe. Here we take a look back at some of the all-time great meatball-loving, IKEA- shopping Canucks.

Here are the top 5 Swedish Canucks of all time:

5) Mattias Ohlund - Picked by the Canucks in the first round of the 1994 draft , Mattias Ohlund was with the Canucks organization until the 2008-2009 NHL season. A quiet man who played a solid two-way game, Ohlund was reliable and pitched in with offense when needed, like this PP marker  in a game against Toronto.

4) Thomas Gradin - The player whose name all Canuck fans know, but who’s face most couldn’t pick out of a crowd, Gradin is one of the more offensively skilled players in Nuck history. He played 613 games and put up a respectable 550 points for a point-per-game average that is second only to Pavel Bure in terms of Canuck statistics.  He was also a crucial cog in the cup run of 82′amassing 19 points in 17 games.

3) Markus Naslund - In his prime one of the most dominant players in the league, Naslund was the prototype sniper in the early part of the 2000′s. If not for his arch-rival and compatriot Peter Forsberg, Naslund would have surely garnered a Hart Trophy. The third leading scorer in Canuck history and long-time captain, Naslund put up an impressive 346 goals for the Canucks-still a franchise record.

2) Daniel Sedin - One of the most consistent goal-scorers in Canuck history, Daniel is one of two Canuck players ( the other being his twin brother) to win the Art Ross Trophy. Daniel is the second highest scorer in Canuck franchise history and has an endless supply of highlight reel plays including this one against Calgary which should be considered one of the greatest goals of the past decade.

1) Henrik Sedin - The only Canuck in history to win the Hart Trophy, Henrik has numerous Canuck records including the highest single season point total with 112. Henrik has led the NHL in assists numerous times and is well-known as one of the most gifted passers in the league today. Both Henrik and Daniel are likely to get Hall of Fame recognition by the time their career is over and will certainly see their jerseys rise to the rafters.

Nov 202013
 

The Sedins and Alex Burrows celebrate a goal against the Anaheim Ducks.

Photo credit: canucks.com

Glen Sather once proclaimed that a “fire hydrant could score 50 goals playing with Wayne Gretzky”, alluding to how The Great One made everyone around him better. Many would say the same about the Sedin Twins who seem to boost the stats of any player lucky enough to find themself flanked by the ginger duo. Simply put, these guys are just easy to play with.

That being said, the Canucks recent slump has forced John Tortorella to try different line combinations to spark the dried up offense. In the past week we’ve seen Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen join the top line to no avail. This isn’t the first time different players have been assigned to the top line, with some combinations lasting years while others dwindle after a few games. Everyone seems to have an idea of what kind of player would complement the Sedins best, but history has shown us it is not always the obvious choice.

Here are the top 5 greatest Sedin line combinations:

5) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Taylor Pyatt: This line, featured prominently in the 2006-2007 season, showcased Taylor Pyatt’s size and strength. Pyatt scored 23 goals and 37 points (both career highs) and helped the Canucks cruise to 48 wins and a division title. Here he provides a strong net presence while the Sedins do their thing.

4) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Ryan Kesler: The most recently formed line on this list, the “Beastmodo” line is the sexiest on paper but simply has not been together long enough to be placed any higher. Dominant at times, with two accomplished trigger men in Daniel and Kes’, teams have struggled to match the firepower of this first line. Surely, we will see this line together again under the Torts’ regime.

3) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Trent Klatt: Not the most offensive linemate the Sedins have ever had, Klatt provided a veteran presence for the twins in the first few years of their professional career. The dominance of the “west coast express” line during this period allowed the Sedins to develop at their own pace and Klatt kept them at an even keel, while providing offence at a steady rate.

2) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Anson Carter: This combination only lasted a year but was wildly successful with Anson Carter leading the team with 33 goals. This year marked the coming out of the Sedins as the core offensive players and leaders on the team.  Carter’s ability to crash the net aided the Sedins’ cycling ability well.

1) Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin-Alex Burrows: The longest tenured player on the Sedin line and with good reason, Alex Burrows has spent the majority of the last 5 years playing with the twins. A tremendous reader of the game, Alex has gained the instinctual movement and know-how that the Sedins seemed to be born with. Burrows has become one of the more reliable goal-scorers on the Canuck squad and his presence on the top line has elevated the Twins stats as well with the two of them winning back to back Art-Ross trophies with Burrows at their side.

Nov 132013
 

Chris Higgins of the Vancouver Canucks scores against the San Jose Sharks.

Photo credit: CBC.ca

The game of hockey is all about streaking. No, I’m not talking about Will Ferrell running down the street in his birthday suit a la “Old School”; I’m talking players and teams doing good or bad things for a consecutive period of time. Whenever we analyze or preview a game we talk about who’s on scoring streaks which teams are winning and which teams are losing. These streaks dominate our fantasy pools, for better or worse, and allow the casual fan to determine who is playing well and who isn’t.

Last Thursday, the Canucks snapped a 9-game losing streak (excluding pre-season) to the San Jose Sharks. They played a confident and complete game, getting contributions from players not named Sedin or Kesler – secondary scoring – and handed the Sharks a rare loss in the mighty “Shark Tank”. They’ve had their hand in other streaks, some great, others downright depressing.

Here are the top 5 streak-related moments in Canucks history:

5) Alex Burrows (2012) – During the 2011/2012 NHL season, the Detroit Red Wings had put together a miraculous streak of 23 wins in a row at home. The Canucks were itching to end the streak even stating to the media that they hoped the Red Wings kept winning so they could take a crack at them. The game ended up going to a shootout where Alex Burrows pulled off his signature backhand deke to complete the epic barn-burner.

4) Harold Druken (2001) – The Canucks had not made the playoffs in 4 years and were desperate to get back to the big dance. With a young core and some promising leadership, they managed to put themselves in a position to clinch the 8th and final playoff spot. Unsung hero Harold Druken provided the dramatics in overtime against the Los Angeles Kings.

3) Roberto Luongo (2008) – Lu showed us why he made the big bucks with this franchise record shutout streak in November of 2008. He strung together nearly 243 minutes of shutout hockey, and if not for injuries, would have surely been in contention for the Vezina.

2) Alex Burrows (2009) – This shorthanded goal from Alex Burrows ushered in the new era of Canuck dominance and effectively snapped an 8-game losing streak. Never has a team been more relieved to beat the Carolina Hurricanes in regular season play.

1) Alex Burrows (2011) – Yes, another Alex Burrows goal. Apparently this guy is clutch. This goal ended an era of Chicago Blackhawks playoff dominance over the Canucks and set the stage for a long playoff run that brought us within one game of the Stanley Cup. Burrows picks off a pass in overtime of game 7 and blasts one home to avoid 3 straight years of playoff defeat to the Blackhawks.

Nov 052013
 

Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks stops Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals on a penalty shot.

After a long, grueling road-trip the Canucks were looking to ease their way back into the game with a nice home-start against the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately for them, the “Hockey Gods” had other plans and granted the Caps a penalty shot less than two minutes into the game. But hey, at least the shooter was only Alex Ovechkin, league leader in goal-scoring and the reigning Hart Trophy winner (SARCASM).  Fortunately for the ‘Nucks, Bobby-Lou was on his game and held Ovi off the scoresheet, allowing our boys to cruise to a 3-2 victory. 

The Canucks have had a few historical moments involving the “most exciting play in hockey”, some glorious, others heartbreaking. But regardless of the penalty-shot outcome we can all agree wholeheartedly, none were forgettable. Here are the top 5 memorable penalty shot moments in Canucks history.

5) Alex Burrows vs. Corey Crawford. In arguably the most important game in Canucks history, Alex Burrows was granted a penalty shot against Corey Crawford to give the Canucks a 2-goal lead in game 7 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Despite Burrows failed attempt he did get the last laugh putting a knucklepuck past Crawford in overtime to win the series.

4) Pavel Bure vs. Damian Rhodes. Not an especially important goal in terms of the bigger picture, but fun to watch for the cocky call by the Russian Rocket. Read his lips when he’s talking to the ref. Gotta love Pav.

3) Henrik Sedin vs. Chris Mason. One would think that Hank has nightmares about coming down on a goalie without a pass option. This cheeky move seems to prove otherwise, as the Canuck captain puts in a beautiful insurance marker late in a game versus Nashville.

2) Sidney Crosby vs. Roberto Luongo. The best player in the world versus one of the greatest goalies in the world in overtime. Need I say more?

1) Pavel Bure vs. Mike Richter. It’s hard to put a play where the Canucks come out on bottom this high on the list, but no one can deny the sheer excitement of this moment. The most dynamic goal-scorer in the league taking a penalty shot in game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals – heart-breaking result but thrilling nonetheless.

Oct 292013
 

Brad Richardson of the Vancouver Canucks scores the OT winner against the New York Islanders.

Photo credit: CTV

Canuck goal-scoring leaders: Ryan Kesler- check. Daniel Sedin- check. Brad Richardson- che- whoa, wait a minute…..Brad Richardson? Can we really be reading this stat-line correctly? The answer is yes and while there’s no chance “Rocket Richardson” will be hitting the 50- goal mark, he’s been a pleasant surprise in the early-goings of the season.

The Canucks will be needing goals from everyone more than ever with injuries popping up all over the forward squad. Fourth line goals have been hard to come by for the Canucks in recent years but every once in a while we bare witness to a diamond in the rough. A tasty little treat from the boys who grind it out eight minutes a night for no glory. Here are the top five goals from Canuck fourth-liners both past and present.

5) Dale Weise- We think of him strictly as an edgy grinder, but during the lockout he scored a god-like 48 points in 19 games for the Dutch league’s Tilburg Trappers. Here he drives the net for a classic power-forward goal against the Sens.

4) Darcy Hordichuk (featuring Rick Rypien)- Two scrappers for the price of one. Darcy Hordichuk takes a great feed from the late Rick Rypien and slips it five-hole to give the Canucks a one goal lead in game four of the 2009 Western Conference Finals. Huge goal from a couple of guys known more for their fists than finesse.

3) Jeff Cowan- Cowan the Barbarian rips one home, bringing the home crowd to their feet and bras to the ice.

2) Gino Odjick- Poise and Precision. Not words you would normally associate with tough-guy Gino Odjick but in this case they fit. He beats Calgary goalie Mike Vernon on a penalty shot with a wrister and then solidifies the goal with a celly for the ages. 

1) Rick Rypien- How can this list be complete without at least one Rick Rypien goal? Here he outskates two Calgary defencemen, fights off hooks, manages to get in a deke and then buries it top corner. Beautiful.

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