As noted a few times now, Alanah at Vancouver Canucks Op Ed is now in the midst of 48 blog posts in 24 hours, all for charity.
The Canucks and Avs have had an often tense relationship, highlighted by Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Steve Moore. But I've forgiven that. I remember how, in the 1996 playoffs, so many people misunderstood Claude Lemieux when Kris Draper started beating his own face against the boards, screaming "Why must I be a Red Wing?" Lemieux just skated over to comfort him, but was then vilified by fans who didn't realize the generosity they were seeing. I can forgive Bertuzzi, in the hopes that someday history will vindicate Pepe.
Where was I? Despite recent history, the Canucks and I do have a longstanding relationship. I even had a Canucks Christmas ornament at one point. So in the interest of building bridges rather than fences, I present:
Greg's list of Canucks that I always thought were kind of cool
Jiri Slegr: Slegr is actually one of my current favorite players, though more for his (brief) time with the Thrashers than because of his Canucks period. He was one of the few bright spots on the early Thrashers teams, and it was a sorrowful day when he was traded to Detroit for, uh, Yuri Butsayev. Yes, Slegr won a Stanley Cup, but he also had to spend a few months in Detroit. Scarred, he spent the next season in Europe, before coming back to North America... and another stint with the Canucks. (who benched him most of the time, and then traded him to the Bruins, but who's counting?)
Jiri Bubla: We've been over this.
Jyrki Lumme: One of the all-time great hockey names, and the subject of the fine song by Glenn Ford and the Piers, "What's Wrong With Lumme?"
Trevor Linden: Now, when I'm reminded that Linden is somehow still playing, it's kind of embarrassing -- like realizing that Nitzer Ebb is still active. But in his time, I loved watching Linden -- hard-working, always noble, talented. One of those guys inextricably linked to a city -- if he'd never left Vancouver in the first place, I'm convinced, he'd still be good today.
L'ubomir Vaic: Damn straight.
Gino Odjick: Once one of the most feared fighters in the NHL, made the eternal fatal error of thinking he was destined to become an all-around player. Took the back cover photo on D.O.A.'s "Loggerheads" album. In college, I interviewed D.O.A.'s Joey Shithead for the University of Arizona newspaper. I began by asking about Odjick and the photo, and we ended up talking about hockey for 45 minutes -- leaving me with nothing really usable for the article.
Greg Adams: His name was "Greg," and he came from Arizona college hockey -- of course I liked him.
Dan Cloutier: No matter how bad things were going for the Avalanche, I could always count on Cloutier to give up five goals -- and I loved him for that. Thank the lord he stayed in-conference.
Richard Brodeur: One of those childhood favorites, where I don't think I had any true idea of his actual talent -- I just thought he was really cool. Probably the last hockey player ever to be nicknamed "King."
Geoff Courtnall: This is more due to his time with the Blues. That, and one of the most impressive noses in hockey history.
Craig Coxe: The man would fight anyone. He'd lose, but he'd take 'em on.
Jere Gillis: Became a stuntman after his NHL career.
Thomas Gradin: Quiet and unassuming, but really really talented.
Bret Hedican: Always seemed like a genuinely good guy. I always remember him, too, because of his bit role in the Petr Nedved drama.
Arturs Irbe: Who doesn't like Archie? Honestly, though, until I consulted hockeydb for this list, I forgot he was ever a Canuck.
Igor Larionov: I always root for the noble, classy types, which Iggy was until he went to Detroit. His autobiography was pretty good, as I remember.
Robert Kron, Frantisek Kucera, Petr Nedved: Three Czechs, three guys who never really quite lived up to the hype (at least on this side of the Atlantic). "Kron" is also a really great name to say over and over. Kron Kron Kron Kron.
Darcy Rota: A great hockey face.
Rich Sutter: I love all the Sutters. Rich was probably the least talented, but who the hell cares?
Esa Tikkanen: There wasn't much left of Tik by the time he came to the Canucks, but he was always so fun to watch.
Dave "Tiger" Williams: Hockey's greatest cook.
So there you have it. The Canucks have contributed plenty to my hockey life. They're not such bad guys after all, and I hope someday, maybe, they get a Stanley Cup!