Whales Can’t Skate

orca-in-ice

Because they don’t have legs, y’all.

Well, Citizens, our day has come. and for the first time since the birth of this fabulous little blog, we get to cover your Calgary Flames as they battle their way through the playoffs, and for someone who has been doing this writing thing since the Fredrik Modin era in bygone Flames history, this was beginning to look like a day I’d never see.

Nonetheless, we’re all here now, and I don’t know about you, but I’m itchin’ to get down to business! We’ve been covering our heroes and their chances since that fateful day our brave giantkillers #BeatLA and clinched their spot in the tournament of champions. We’ve profiled everyone, and will continue to do so.

And we’ve known this whole time that the Flaming C is facing off against their long time rival and over-border hoodrat Vancouver Canucks, yet here at the Nation, we have not spilled much digital ink talking about that. And I feel it’s important we do, because they’re the enemy now, one we know so very well, and if we’re not hating them, we’re not trying. So that’s what we’re going to do today.

For the past 5 or 6 days, we’ve heard all the experts and Johnny know it alls in the local media weigh in on the series, and while there are a lot of calls for the plucky underdog Flames to limp on out of the series with their hands raised in victory, most scribes are giving the nod to Vancouver, and putting a lot of lipstick on a pig in the process.

That pig is Kevin Bieksa.

Who Are The Canucks?

The Vancouver Canucks are whales. They will tell you that they’re all humanoid hockey player twins from Sweden, but do not be fooled. They are slicked up cetacean mammals who weigh over 6 tons and roam the vast oceanic expanses afforded to them. 

The Canucks are owned by Francesco Aquilini, marine biologist, and owner of Canucks Sports and Entertainment, formerly Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment. (Right?)

Their logos at times have been a totem pole whale (right?), and this is their mascot (come on).

But while we consider killer whales to be free roaming ocean hunters, the truth is, just like anything else, they can be kept captive and used to serve the convenient purposes of their detainers. And when this happens, these sluggish mammals tend to get a bit erratic and develop a touch of “aquarium fever”.

No better example of this plight has ever been captured (yep) than in the critically acclaimed documentary Blackfish, a biopic chronicling the often times tragic and violent lives of the Vancouver Canucks:

As you can see, Alex Burrows plays a starring role.

Yes, when you take the Canucks out of their natural habitat (the discarded grease bin behind any bowling alley in the world), the once proud creatures become depressed and despondent. And while you can get them to do what they want:

Over time, going stir crazy from that level of captivity causes the Canucks to act out and disobey their captors, often times pulling aggressive stunts in broad daylight with seemingly no concern for repercussions or the fact that they’re acting like loathsome little shits who are going to their room without a bucket of fish heads for dessert. (the Canucks LOVE eating fish heads)

Yes, all the Canucks want to do is to frolic all day and eat chum and get belly rubs from the neighbourhood walruses, but the seemingly indifferent Vancouver public gawking at them with their slack jawed stares are enough to convince those at Canucks Sports and Entertainment to keep this grievous side show afloat, no matter how old and slovenly and dumb the whales continue to become with each passing day.

It’s very irresponsible, and there needs to be a more concerted effort trying to return these Canucks back to the far depths of the oceans, where they can sun themselves all day and try to stick things in their blowholes, just for fun.

Are they Any Good?

No, they’re whales.

When you put orcas on ice, they tend to become very immobile, unable to turn with the kind of precision that one with, say, legs could, as defensewhales Kevin Bieksa and Luca Sbisa will demonstrate to you all through the first round. Remember, it will look awfully hilarious watching Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler mercilessly skate circles around these guys, and the spastic motions  and futile flopping will be so jarring and ineffectual that you won’t be able to help laughing at Kevin Bieksa, but these are pitiful creatures ripped from their homes and ne- Holy shit Sbisa just got turnstiled again, man that is hilarious.

Okay Look

I’m going to stop this right now while I still have a chance, because obviously this whale analogy does not hold as much weight as I initially thought, and all I want to do is hate the Canucks and help you hate them with me.

And while that is easy to do, it’s not as easy as it has been in the past. The Flames – Canucks rivalry is alive and well, that much is certain, but this impending series is very necessary to ensure it’s survival, because thanks the the Canucks, it’s holding on by a thread.

Vancouver just used to be so much easier to hate. Sure, these days all their players are delusional asshats who still believe the league is biased against them, and Alex Burrows is definitely trying to chew off my kneecaps as I write this, but it’s not the same. The Canucks just aren’t all that interesting anymore. They’ve gotten too old, and the dirty hits and the dives are becoming too predictable, and their fans haven’t destroyed their city in 4 years (which, by my estimation, means the next ludicrous display of civic unrest over the play of the Canucks is still 13 years away, and who knows what lengths they’ll go to then to blame some sort of unnamed union of thugs that apparently don’t exist anywhere else in the world?)

They’re more laughable than anything right now. Even the Sedins, with those four cold, dead eyes don’t strike despair into the hearts of the opposition anymore, because they’re both on the downslope of their primes right now and it’s just a matter of time until their fickle fans can’t distinguish their hatred of the twins from that which they have for Mark Messier, future Canucks executive.

And Eddie Lack might be a funny guy, but I have simple tastes, I like slapstick. Give me a Dan Cloutier center ice goal any day. 

(admittedly, giving Ryan Miller 6 million dollars a year to be an oft-injured backup goalie is pretty funny)

It’s just not what it used to be, and it’s going to take this series to find new and creative ways to talk smack about these clowns, because honestly, it’s been so long since the Canucks mattered to any of us enough to give these feelings a second thought.

The thing I’m most excited for is finding out exactly how it’s going to play out. Will the usual suspects do the things we know they’re going to do? Is Bieksa going to direct rumbly grunts at the opposition and try to hunt Mikael Backlund with his stick, saving him for a hearty Swedish dinner if he could just ever figure out how to create enough fire to grill him? Will Daniel Sedin feel Dennis Wideman breathing in his general vicinity and go down in a heap from the “contact”?

Or will it be a surprise new contender championing the cause of hating him? Will Bo Horvat high stick your mother? Will Linden Vey skate full bore into a diving, skates up dropkick into the waiting chest of an underprivileged child whose only wish was to attend one NHL hockey game?

Will Yannick Weber fall on his own balls?

I’m pretty sure the answer to all of these is yes, and you should be prepared for it now, because this series is going 7, and then Calgary is going to move on to it’s second round opponent, and we’re going to have to access deep reserves of scorn for whoever that ends up being as well.

I have no where else to put these

Vancouver fans are passionate…for a good deal. 

Look, I know that price gouging is bad and it’s better for your wallet if you can get cheaper playoff tickets, but something, something, Canucks fans are cancer.

See Ya

I’ve always suspected that Canucks fans love Mark Donnelly so much because he’s the one thing still in Vancouver that kinda looks greasy enough to be Roberto Luongo, because outside of that, I don’t get the appeal. Then again, trying to peer into the slimy and decaying soul of a Canucks fan is not an activity I’m particularly in favour of doing.

Mark Donnelly sucks.

And so too do the Canucks, and even knowing all we know about them, I found it hard expressing too much hate into a piece that was admittedly supposed to do just that.

I realized it’s because I find the Canucks to be more of a mild inconvenience than anything. I do not think they’re very good, and of all the first round matchups you could get, this seems like the one Calgary has the best shot at winning, so, not that I’m looking past this series for the Flames, I’m just anticipating how good a second round matchup versus literally anyone else could be.

I’ll close by saying that I truly hope that the NHL does someday consider expansion into Seattle. It’s the best thing for the league, because if you’ve ever been there, it’s so nice. It seems so much like Vancouver, just without Vancouverites living there, and that’s a beautiful thing. Maybe if they had an NHL franchise, the league would make note of how redundant the Canucks now are, and send them off to live with a nice farm family somewhere far enough away where we’d never have to listen to Jim Hughson gush about how wonderful they are ever again.

Go Flames Go.

  • everton fc

    Now shut the f*** up and whine to your own fans HUGHSON, but not on National TV!

    WAY TO GO FLAMES!!!!

    The collars are tight on Canuck fans!

    And they can use their white towels on their bums!

  • piscera.infada

    Bennett is the real deal. That kid has a nose for the net.

    Monahan and Gaudreau were getting mugged out there, secondary scoring is going to be very important for the Flames.

  • MonsterPod

    I would have said this had we lost 1-0.

    Bennett will be back for game 2, as will Hiller.

    Loved how our young guys were going for gold.

    Great effort. Great game.

    GFG.

  • Captain Ron

    Great game tonight by Ferland and a nice start for Bennett. The Canucks didn’t show us anything tonight that should give us any reason to fear them that’s for sure

    • everton fc

      They [The Canucks] are aging a bit. Like the Kings. The speed of the game and fitness may give us the edge. Plus our kids, some solid vets, and a coach whose “been there, done that.”

      Hartley has to win the Adams. Feaster’s best move.

      (Russell for a 5th. Robbery!)

  • everton fc

    Don’t look now, boys, but the Flames were full value for this one. Scoring chances and Corsi were both 50/50 at even strength, but the Flames had a 52% Fenwick and 53% shot advantage. And all of those numbers (apparently) go up at score close (though the score was always close, so I’m not really sure what’s going on here…).

    This was easily Brodie’s best game since Giordano’s injury, IMO.

    • Victoria Flames Fan

      Yup. Sure looked even to me, and that’s with the Canucks additional PPs.

      Canucks’ D are slow. Yikes. A lot of scoring chances from the transition game.

    • Yeah, Flames were a bit lacklustre in the first, but turned it around after that. Even with a clearly ailing Monahan. Having Bennett energize the second line and Brodie go into beast mode helped.

      Really like the look of Ferland again.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Since we are all getting carried away in drunken euphoria here are my thoughts: Brodie was Bobby Orr out there. Ferland was in full Beast Mode. Bennett will make it back to back Calders for the Flames. And Hiller’s winning the Conn Smythe.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Since we are all getting carried away in drunken euphoria here are my thoughts: Brodie was Bobby Orr out there. Ferland was in full Beast Mode. Bennett will make it back to back Calders for the Flames. And Hiller’s winning the Conn Smythe.

  • piscera.infada

    The Flames legitimately played a good game. Based on shot blocks, they were out corsied, but it didn’t sound like a terribly bad thing. My concern is ice time allocation. Less than 4 minutes for Potter… Brutal, though I get it. He’s not an NHL defender so you don’t want him on the ice. Engelland, our fourth best defenseman (and oh how that hurts to say, though he had a pretty decent game) played just over 20 minutes. Edler played just over 22 minutes as the top minute earner on the Canucks.

    The lowest minute total on the Canucks 12:46. We had five players well under that mark. It’s going to be awfully difficult to win a seven game series playing with three forward lines and two defensive pairings against four lines and three pairings. We were the better team with the limited bench, but there are no breaks. A game every other day is going to wear us down.

    This said, I’m very hopeful to see something improve. Maybe Hartley has some plans in place that will get around this. I still find myself hoping for a 4-0 series sweep, though, because we’ll be too gassed by the next round to mount any opposition otherwise!

    • MonsterPod

      I hear ya, Hat, but what are they supposed to do with Gio, Smid, and Diaz all hurt?

      Potter played only a few minutes against LA too last Thursday. Hartley is doing what he can.

      Also, the loss of Bouma is huge. Hartley certainly shortened his bench at the end. The boys are working hard and are going to have to keep it up.

  • trox

    Sclemko played really well in 10.5 minutes of ice time–he clearly has skill. Hartley should pair him up with Brodie, which will reduce the unsustainable minutes being played by Russell and Wideman. Then we could play Engelland and Potter/Wotherspoon 10 minutes a night with starts in the offensive zone only.