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Canucks Can Up Their Hate of the Maple Leafs

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Vancouver Canucks Bruce Boudreau
Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau talks Friday about preparing for the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

Wait, is hate too strong a word? Not if you’re referring to the fans of the Vancouver Canucks.

Sounds like a good time for a poll: NHL team Canucks fans hate the most.

At this present time and place, although distant and seldom seen on the scene, the Maple Leafs likely still take the honour. Or dishonour. And here’s why …

Arrogance

Even when they suck, Leafs fans can come across a bit on the arrogant side. That’s because it’s the self-proclaimed ‘centre of the hockey universe’. How about when they’re good? Ugh.

The Air Canada Centre turned Scotia Bank Arena is where you can pay $39-bucks for a couple of beers, almost like the test-market for just how much Canadian-based arenas can gouge you for a couple of cold frothies.

The Maple Leafs GM wears those glasses, and then everyone else started wearing those glasses, even the Flames GM for awhile. Taking “copy-cat” league a bit too far if you ask me. I definitely couldn’t see Jim Benning wearing them; Patrik Allvin … could probably pull it off.

Canucks fans start their own chants, they sing, they dance, the building holds the sound and the vibe more effectively. Half the fans at the SBA leave their seats at the end of the first period and filter back six minutes into the second period. (That’s when they have fans of course. Freaking Covid.) Early on each stanza the lower bowl’s lack of capacity resembles the crowd at a Greensboro Generals game.

I’ve experienced both barns extensively. Not sure why, I’m an old-time hockey guy, but Rogers Arena holds the sound better and has a stronger hockey aesthetic.

Start Fast?!

The Canucks have had lousy first periods the last two home games against the Arizona Coyotes and New York Islanders. Atrocious in the latter case. So when asked how to correct it, we heard the usual answers … what else can the Canucks say other than they need to be ready?

That said, if they’re not ready to rock coming out of the blocks for Saturday night’s adventure, there’s really no sense in playing. This team, any NHL team for that matter, plays better when they’re physically involved. The Canucks can avoid a track meet and set a tone by hitting every Maple Leaf that moves, without putting themselves out of position to do it of course.

Create hate. It worked for the Calgary Flames on Thursday night in their 5-2 win over Toronto. Did it ever! The yard sale and altercations that arose from Nikita Zadorov’s late-1st period hit on Ondrej Kase was a thing of beauty. More please.

The Vancouver Canucks can up the ante. Why not?

The Maple Leafs have been known to whimper and get rag-dolled. (Editor’s note: see 1st round of last playoffs 😄)

The Gabby Factor

All of Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau’s pals will be watching in his hometown, because everyone in Toronto will be watching. The fact that this is a ‘statement game’ for the Canucks, which we’ve mentioned before, is actually an understatement.

He’ll have his team ready to go. This is the big Saturday night (in our case, afternoon) dance in Canada.

Islanders shmislanders, the real happy or sad moving forward will be dictated by what happens on the weekend.

After some witty banter from ‘Gabby’ during his media availability at noon Friday, the coach settled into this …

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing arguably one of the top-four teams in the NHL and easily one of the top-two teams offensively in the NHL, so it’s going to be a great challenge and hopefully we’re up to the task,” Boudreau said.

Fifty-percent capacity or not, bring your war bongos … let’s play hockey!!

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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