Flames 7 Canucks 1
The host Vancouver Canucks went out with a whimper, losing their final game of the 2007-2008 season 7-1 to the playoff bound Calgary Flames on April 5. Fan appreciation night at General Motors Place became Trevor Linden appreciation night, as â€œMr. Canuckâ€ have played his last NHL game.
Canucksâ€™ star netminder Roberto Luongo was pulled after allowing three goals on nine shots. Backup Curtis Sanford allowed just one in the second, but three in the third, including Jarome Iginlaâ€™s 50th of the season.
Only the Lonely:
Byron Ritchie had Vancouverâ€™s last goal of the season to equalize at 8:42 of the first, but Kristian Huselius responded 23 seconds later for Calgary. Eric Nystromâ€™s goal put the game out of reach for the lacklustre Canucks, who were eliminated from post-season when they lost to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
On March 30, the Canucks were 6-2 winners over the Flames in Vancouver after Luongo allowed David Moss to score on Calgaryâ€™s first shot. Moss scored on the Flamesâ€™ first shot again Saturday. Luongo was 2-4 overall when giving up the first shot of the game this season.
Sanfordâ€™s last start was Jan. 11 when the Phoenix Coyotes visited. Since then, he appeared seven times in relief of Luongo. It may have been Sanfordâ€™s last appearance as a Canuck. He came to Vancouver on a one-year contract.
Was it the last skate for Trevor Linden in a Canucksâ€™ uniform? Canucksâ€™ fans and even Flamesâ€™ players treated it that way and gave number 16 an ovation to start the game, the third period and at the final horn. Linden, who was drafted by Vancouver in 1988â€™s first round, did a solo skate around the ice at gameâ€™s end and was thanked by players on both sides. Some fans even chanted â€œone-more-year.â€
â€œIt was quite overwhelming,â€ Linden said. â€œIâ€™ve been treated incredibly by the City of Vancouver for a long time and fans of the team. For someone who doesnâ€™t like attention it was a little difficult.
â€œI donâ€™t feel right talking about (the future of my career), Itâ€™s been an emotional week from a lot of standpoints from having an opportunity to go to the playoffs to not getting there. At this point i just need to take some time and reflect.â€
Captain Markus Naslund did not address the crowd during the post-game â€œjerseys off our backsâ€ ceremony. He said he would have thanked fans for their support. â€œThis city deserves a winner... the sellout itself says everything. Itâ€™s a great city to live in, a great city to play in, itâ€™s frustrating that we couldnâ€™t make it happen this year,â€ said the veteran Swede.
Naslund is now an unrestricted free agent. He said he would like to come back to Vancouver after his 25-goal season, but he indicated that retirement is a possibility.
â€œI donâ€™t know, weâ€™ll see. I want to take some time. Weâ€™ll see.â€
Hope theyâ€™re better at golf:
The Canucks finished 39-43 (including 10 tiebreaker losses) for 88 points and 11th place in the Western conference. They had 213 goals for and 215 goals against. They lost seven of their last 10 regular season games. Last yearâ€™s Northwest division champions finished the 2007-2008 campaign as the last-place club. Like the Edmonton Oilers, the Canucks had 88 points. Edmonton, however, won two more games.
Vancouver returned to its original blue, green and white uniform design in 2007-2008 and lost 43 games. It may have been a commercial success, but the hockey gods didnâ€™t like it. The Canucks also lost 43 times and missed the playoffs in 1977-1978, the final year of the first go-round in blue, green and white. They switched the following season to the controversial yellow, red and black design of San Franciscoâ€™s Beyl and Boyd.
Cyclone Taylor MVP: Roberto Luongo; Babe Pratt best defenseman: Willie Mitchell; most exciting: Alexandre Burrows; Fred Hume unsung hero: Burrows; Molson Cup: Luongo; Cyrus McLean leading scorer: Henrik Sedin.
The 1970-established Vancouver Canucks have still not delivered their loyal fans a Stanley Cup.
Enjoy the spring and summer. Follow the Canucks off-season in 24 hours Vancouver, available free throughout Vancouver and online anywhere in the world at vancouver.24hrs.ca
Thanks for reading. Have fun, keep safe and see you in October!