Most reviled team? Canucks couldn’t care less
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com June 12, 2011 8:42PM
Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg , right, and Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows battle for a loose puck in front of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas during the first period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup hockey finals in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, June 10, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
CANUCKS vs. BRUINS
Canucks lead series 3-2
G1: at Canucks 1, Bruins 0
G2: at Canucks 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
G3: at Bruins 8, Canucks 1
G4: at Bruins 4, Canucks 0
G5: at Canucks 1, Bruins 0
G6: Tonight at Bruins
G7*: Wednesday at Canucks
All at 7 p.m. on Ch. 5
Updated: August 3, 2011 7:41PM
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo doesn’t care about the fire he started with his ‘‘it’s an easy save for me’’ comment. He’d rather shrug everything off and make another snarky remark that can be interpreted in more ways than one.
In a way, that says everything about the Canucks, who will be crowned Stanley Cup champions if they beat the Boston Bruins tonight in Game 6 at TD Garden.
Everything the Canucks say and do can be construed many ways, and they don’t care what anyone says about them anyway. It’s as if the Canucks revel in being considered the most hated team in hockey.
“Listen, I know we’re in the Stanley Cup finals and everything is under the microscope and going to get blown out of proportion,” Luongo said about the snide remarks he made about Bruins goalie Tim Thomas after Game 5. “Obviously, my whole comment, I don’t think [it] was a negative comment if you take the whole comment.
“But at the end of the day, you know what? I’m one win away from winning a Stanley Cup, and that’s all I really care about now. All the other stuff is noise to me and doesn’t really affect what’s going to take place for me [tonight]. To be honest with you, I don’t really care.”
Say what you want about the Canucks. They’ll come back with their own retorts — as Henrik and Daniel Sedin did when asked about TV analyst Mike Milbury’s ‘‘Thelma and Louise’’ barb — then win with their speed and skill and move on.
People love to hate them, and they seemingly love to inspire the hate. But what type of legacy will that leave behind?
The 2010 Blackhawks, regardless of what Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa believes, often are viewed as a young, charismatic cast of characters with overwhelming talent and depth that was broken up because of the salary cap.
The 2011 Canucks? It depends where you are. In Vancouver, they’ll be heroes. Any dive, bite, taunt, hit, complaint or critique is viewed as a team doing whatever it takes to win.
But elsewhere, such as Chicago and Boston, they’re the biggest bunch of floppers, pests and trash-talkers ever assembled, even if you can count their ‘‘villains’’ on just one hand. If the Cubs are the ‘‘lovable losers,’’ than the Canucks are the ‘‘wicked winners.’’
History isn’t reserved for angels, it’s reserved for winners. The Hawks’ had their trouble-makers last season, but the Canucks have taken it to another level. It’s as if the Canucks continuously rub you the wrong way out of choice.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault’s insistence that his team plays from whistle to whistle and general manager Mike Gillis’ impromptu, blame-the-refs news conferences don’t inspire love. It’s more gasoline poured on the flames.
On the ice, Alex Burrows is good enough to complement the Sedins on the first line, but he also chooses to bite and flop on hockey’s biggest stage, which only enhances his reputation as a dishonest player. The same argument can be made about forward Maxim Lapierre, who faked an injury after a love tap from Zdeno Chara in Game 5.
These same villains also have been the Canucks’ biggest heroes this postseason. Burrows, Lapierre, Bieksa and Raffi Torres have scored dramatic game-winners in the playoffs.
The problem is that all their other actions could overshadow all the accolades they and their teammates deserve. Odds are they’ll go down as one of the most hated teams in recent memory.
But does it even matter?
“Who cares?” Bieksa said not long ago. “We don’t feel like villains.”