Vancouver's hockey media never ceases to amaze and disappoint.
Over the past year, we've had the national media taking runs at the Canucks. We've had the Chicago media. We've had various NHL players. And now we have the Boston media.
On the one hand the national media is a bit of mystery. Why they felt need to weigh in was perhaps not surprising given that it was the Stanley Cup finals, but the level of ambivalence mixed with downright distain was hard to figure. Particularly, given the relative love-ins when Edmonton and Ottawa recently made the finals. Not too mention the circle jerk that was Calgary's nearly decade old run to their ultimate demise against the Lightning of Tampa Bay.
Then, of course, we had the unsolicited shots coming in droves from both Boston and Chicago media, management, coaches and players. In addition, there are shots coming league wide from the borderline illiterate twitter accounts of other members of the NHLPA.
Sadly, the 'leave it on a the ice' mentality or the 'code' of mutual respect has all but evaporated with regard to the Vancouver Canucks. For the longest time the NHL seemed above and beyond most of insult-through-media nonsense of the NFL and NBA. But, of late, many have seen the need to take runs at Vancouver through the media (and with media help I might add). Whether deserved or not (often admittedly at least partially deserved), these kinds of things are rare (though not unheard of) in the NHL, particularly in the regular season.
Now, part of me is not troubled by this in the least. For the opinions of mental minnows like Barry Rozer, Dan Shaughnessy, Michael Felger, David Bolland, Mark Recchi, Ryan Whitney, Brad Marchand, Shawn Thornton and Ryan Clowe matter little. Even with the addition of moderately more influential pundits like Ron MacLean, Marc Spector, PJ Stock, Mike Milbury, Don Cherry, Damien Cox, and Bruce Dowbiggin I'm not overly bothered by anti-Canuck sentiment. The ripe mix of Ex-Bruins, Torontonians and Calgarians makes for a kind of unsurprising and potent anti-CAnucks stew.
However, where I draw the line is with the lack of respect and support the Vancouver media has for the team. For the most part, they reason that media-types aren't wearing a jersey and nor are they meant too. Further, they argue, unlike Boston, Chicago or even Toronto they won't stoop to the level of cheerleader for the team.
This, I can respect--in principle. But in practice? Never have I heard such negative coverage of a first place team from a bunch of transplanted half-wits and local jokers. BMac and Don Taylor, Vancouver born and bread pick against Vancouver going in to Boston. Vancouver wins. They come on the radio and say...Vancouver can't beat Boston in a 7 game series. What more can you ask for than a win?
Botchford, Sekeres, Price...not even from Vancouver so it perhaps gladly that they identify the Canucks failings. They seem to take pleasure in pointing out the problems with Vancouver's fourth line and 6th defense. As if those players have an real impact on the success or failure of the team.
Tony Gallagher saying the best Canucks team in history has tuned out AV. His evidence? A few losses to bottom feeders. Imagine if the team wasn't challenging for first place overall! Tony G even goes as far as to say Edler and Sedins play scared against Boston. SCARED. He said they didn't want to be on the ice. Calling out their manhood. In others times and others places that could get you killed.
Constantly derision. Constant nitpicking. Constant complaints.
About what? A first place team. Two top-five scorers. The league's top PP....etc. We all know the virtues.
They lose to Boston. And the media reasons, well it was because the PP failed
They beat Boston. And the media reasons, they cannot expect the PP to perform like that in the playoffs.
Honestly during the late 1990s what more could we have hoped for than the league's top PP.
That is just microcosm of the constant no-win scenario concocted by theses guys week-in and week-out. It has reached a point where I think a friggin' Cup wouldn't silence the doubters. They'd say things like, "yeah but, the Twins were minus in the finals!" Or, "yeah but, they didn't sweep Nashville!" Just today they were going on about how Nashville took six games to dispatch!. Or, "they didn't have to beat Detroit AND Chicago"....etc.
How many times can we break down who started game 4 in Boston. Or why the PP didn't work. Or how close they came to losing to Chicago. The reality is they are a great team who had a great season last year. They came up short, but they were freaking close to winning it all.
There is no "model" to follow. There is no magical tough top 9 winger or top 6 d-man that will put the Canucks over the top this year. They have to get to the final first and the they have to perform. No amount of whining about Ballard and Hodgson's ice time will change the only fact that matters. The only fact that mattered for the last 5 seasons: this team will rise and fall on the backs of Kesler, Luongo (or Cory) and the Sedins. No trade, call-up or stupid fourth-liner/7th d-man will affect that.
Yet we find the mind constantly picking on the flaws of a team that is in fairly rarified air amongst its NHL counterpoints.
Which brings me in a roundabout way to my point: why the fuck can't our media stand up for this team? Why can't they write positive columns extolling the virtues of the Canucks success. Why not take shot at the snivelling, dirty and downright disrespectful nature of the blatantly biased media members and classless opposing players.
These people who take shots from outside could be made to look like a bunch of fools extolling the virtue of class and the lack of it in Vancouver. Yet, our media chooses rather to debate whether Dale Weise is tough enough and whether Keith Ballard should play in favour of Alex Sulzer.
There is no need for our media to put on a jersey. Nor is their need for them to pump up the Caucks tires as it were...all they have to do is be objective, reasonable and explanatory. They hypocrisy is out there (as is the Canucks relative success) all they need to do is point it out with the sharpness and vigour that they normal reserve for deriding the Canucks.
After listening to 1040 and reading the papers for the past few weeks you'd expect the team was on 1-7-1 streak as opposed to 7-1-1. How often can we rehash losses to Carolina, Columbus and Nashville...now a month on?
This is a good team. And our media members had best take stock of it.
OMG BALLARD IS A HEALTHY SCRATCH. AV AND MG MUST BE FEUDING. OMG OMG OMG.