by J.R. Lind
Q: The Number One reason to hate the city of Vancouver?
A: There is absolutely no good reason to hate the city of Vancouver.
It's clean, it's beautiful, the weather's nice (by Pacific Northwest standards — which is to say it doesn't rain constantly), it wins all these livable city awards. The X Files was filmed there.
In the last two decades, the number of cars has declined as the population has increased.
Get this: it's illegal to build a freeway in the city limits. In America, we try to cram as many interstates as we can into the smallest place possible.
Unlike Anaheim, the home base of the Predators now-vanquished first round opponents, Vancouver was not founded by a Klan member. Instead, Vancouver's first tavern was built by a man named "Gassy" Jack Deighton (reports unconfirmed it was known as the "Keep Upwind Inn"). Naturally, the settlement built around the tavern (yes, they built the town AROUND the bar) was called "Gastown," which, despite having an analogous name to Tennessee burghs Spot and Only, is not under the gun.
This is Music City, though. Surely we can mock their contributions to music? Of course we can't. Being Canadian, Vancouver politely provided us with music for people with good taste (The New Pornographers, Destroyer), people with bad taste (Sarah McLachlan, Michael Bublé) and people with no taste (Bryan Adams).
So, screw you, Vancouver. Now we have no choice but to make fun of your hockey team.
The Canucks won the President's Trophy this season for having the best record in the NHL. This, coupled with the fact they are based in Canada, basically means every Vancouverite is convinced the Stanley Cup is their birthright. This is probably because the Canucks have won so many Stanley Cups. Wait, that's not right. In 40 years, the Canucks, despite (and I can't emphasize this enough) existing in a Canadian metropolis for all of those 40 years, have won exactly the same number of Stanley Cups as the Predators. And as many as any collection of two dozen yahoos who can't skate that you saw down at The Gold Rush last night.
A team from Vancouver did once win a Stanley Cup. In 1915, the Millionaires brought hockey's biggest prize to British Columbia. In an effort to pry some of that nearly-century-old good luck out of the grave, the Canucks ownership bought the rights to the Millionaire name and logo back in October.
This was a great idea, because "Canucks" is a stupid name. It means "Canadians" (but not "Canadiens," that's a different thing, as Canadiens — with an E — have won multiple Stanley Cups) and some Canadians think it's derogatory. Other Canadians don't mind. They wish you wouldn't say it, but they are too polite to ask you to stop.
The Canucks logo is, naturally, a killer whale (I think) in the shape of a C (I'm pretty sure, but I've been wrong before). Except when it isn't. Sometimes their logo is a horizontal hockey stick in the middle of a color block that also sort of resembles a C (sort of, if you hold your head right). The Canucks are well known for leading the league in head-scratching logos, which is really saying something in a league that includes the Islanders and the Thrashers.
The Canucks are led by Henrik and Daniel Sedin (pictured left). These Swedes are the kind of twins whose mother dressed them in the same outfits way too late into life. We know this because they still wear the same outfits today. In their 30 years, the Sedins have played on different teams exactly once, at this year's All-Star Game. In that game, the twins, two of the best offensive players in the world (Henrik won league MVP last year; Daniel could win it this year) combined for 3 assists in a game where 21 goals were scored. Shea Weber's Beard had four assists on its own. The twins can't survive without each other and not for nothing, but they have this empty, soulless, Nordic look in their eyes that makes me wonder if they spend the offseason haunting the Stanley Hotel.
The Sedins are frequently joined on the first line by Alex Burrows. Frankly, of course, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault could put Jack Silverman out with the Sedins and nobody would notice. Burrows is no slouch, though: He's a member of the Canadian ball hockey hall of fame. I have no idea what ball hockey is, but apparently Alex Burrows is really good at it. By the way, I just invented a sport called "paperclip luge" and I'm a damn world champion. Come get some, Alexandre.
Maxim LaPierre is not, despite his name, a successor to Descartes nor a cartoon rodent. He also did not sail from Calais and discover the Northwest Passage. What he did do was lead the league in diving penalties.
You know how when you go through your Facebook photos to remove embarrassing records of that one trip you made in college to PCB, there's always That Dude in the background? You click on That Dude's profile — because you haven't heard from That Dude (whose name you don't remember) in five years — and you find out he enjoys racing his Mustang and he now has a son unironically named Ryker. That Dude is Ryan Kesler.
And finally there's Dan Hamhuis (pronunciation help on that surname: "Un-time-lee-turn-oh-vur"). Hip Check Hamhuis. Blunder Dan. Old Danny used to play in Nashville and was traded to Philly and eventually landed in Vancouver. He was super excited to go there because he said it would be a nice change from the anonymity he had in Nashville. Dan must have missed the groans of recognition from the Nashville faithful every time he coughed one up at the blue line. Or how we all knew who he was as he stared at the back of some speedy forward's jersey breaking on the net again. He also made some crack about how the attendance at the Canucks' Summer Summit was similar to the attendance at a Predators game in November. Funny thing, Dan. You left and the Predators had record-setting crowds. Coincidence?