There have been few rivalries in the NHL over the past few years that can compete with the bad blood brewed between the Vancouver Canucks and their most hated opponents.
Here’s the list of the Top rivals for your Vancouver Canucks. I love you tube folks. So check out the 30+ Canucks videos in this blog post. IF you make it thru them all post a comment below and tell me how I did!
1. The Chicago Blackhawks
I don’t really need to qualify this do I?
Alex Burrow’s overtime goal is second only to Sidney Crosby’s overtime winner for the most important goal scored at Roger’s Arena.
If the idea of another meeting between this two clubs next spring doesn’t get your pulse racing, you are suffering from a medical condition commonly referred to as death. I’m sorry you had to find out this way.
2. The Calgary Flames
It’s cooled in recent years, but if the Canucks have had one consistent rival over their history it’s been the Calgary Flames. Beginning with three straight first round matchups in 1982, 1983, and 1984 for more than a decade wherever one team turned the other was there.
In 1989, Joel Otto scored in overtime of Game 7 to launch the Flames all the way to the Stanley Cup, a series that also featured a Greg Adams elbow to Mike Vernon, and the emergence of a young Trevor Linden.
The teams would tangle again in the first round of the 1994 playoffs. Down 3-1 in the series the Canucks clawed back with three straight overtime wins to set the stage for that unforgettable spring. Overtime of Game 7 provided the Canucks with two of their most memorable moments: Kirk McLean’s save, and Bure’s breakaway magic.
The feud faded as both clubs fell off the map in the late nineties, but the 21st century emergence of Jarome Iginla and Markus Naslund ensured these two clubs would battle for the Northwest crown again. Willie Mitchell had no love for Iginla, and Dion Phaneuf was once on the receiving end of one of Jarkko Ruutu’s finest moments, the crowning moment of this renewed rivalry was the 2004 first round matchup.
Without the services of Todd Bertuzzi, the Flames and Canucks put together another thrilling first round matchup and another that would propel the winner into the Stanley Cup Finals. In an absolutely classic Game 7, Matt Cooke achieved the improbable, but Martin Gelinas brought it all crashing back down.
The rise of the Canucks and implosion of the Flames has reduced the rivalry to a series of great saves, class acts, and Art Ross padding but if the Flames ever get their act together, one of the NHL’s most special rivalries certainly holds a third act.
3. Boston Bruins
Between the actual biting, the mimed biting, the infamous Rome hit, Tim Thomas, Marchand the Rat Boy, and the backbreaking, it’s an absolute shame that these two teams meet only once a year. Nevertheless circle your calendar for January 7th because that game should be an absolute barn burner.
Milan Lucic is of course the wild card. If the former Vancouver Giant was in a Facebook relationship with his hometown, it would definitely be classified as ‘It’s Complicated’.
While his turn with the Cup following Game 7 was met with polite praise, he also had to scale down his planned day with the Cup from a public event in Stanley Park to a few more low-key private one. Why? Well, considering his very presence at Greek Fest provoked brawls, his posters were being torn down at East Side Community Centres, and his parents house was broken into, there were a few safety concerns.
It put the Vancouver Giants in an awkward position trying to honour their alumni.
Advertisements congratulating Lucic on his win were a strange way to court the fanbase, but what else could you do when the man gave you this?
4. The Edmonton Oilers
Though Edmonton and Vancouver have rarely met in the playoffs, decades of inter-division competition have formed a rivalry almost as strong as the one with the Calgary Flames.
Despite the recent dichotomy in the standings, the Oilers always seem to bring something extra against the Canucks as evidenced by their back-to-back victories over the Canucks late last year, a series that also featured this Raffi Torres hit on Jordan Eberle.
Perhaps as a direct response to the Torres hit, the Oilers brought in famed Canuck pest Ben Eager and ex-Canuck Darcy Hordichuk this offseason. Hordichuk talked before a game earlier this year about wanting to abuse the Sedins. Meanwhile, the late Rick Rypien and Zach Stortini were no strangers.
It’s also a rivalry that extends off the ice and into the fanbases. Albertan support for the Canucks during last year’s playoffs was the lowest in all of Canada.
Edmonton DJ Dan Tencer famously penned a scathing open letter to Vancouver fans before Game 7 against Chicago and jumped at the chance to salt in the city’s wounds after the Game 7 loss to Boston. They simply don’t like Vancouver, the city and the team are just not Canadian enough.
In a couple of years when the Oilers get better this rivalry has all the roots necessary to really take off, especially if the two teams ever meet in the playoffs.
5. The Colorado Avalanche
Another division rivalry that has waned, this is also the only one with a case present before the courts.
Steve Moore’s hit on Markus Naslund ignited a downward spiral of retribution that we all remember but the fires were stokable only because the two teams carried so much previous hate.
The Avalanche have defeated the Canucks twice in the first round, 1996 and 2001. Marc Crawford led the Avalanche to victory in 1996 en route to the Stanley Cup and was behind the bench for his first playoff round with the Vancouver Canucks in 2001.
Ed Jovanovski meanwhile was involved in two memorable incidents. The first was a brawl with Scott Parker that earned Todd Bertuzzi a 10 game suspension for leaving the bench, and the second was the fight that helped end Adam Deadmarsh’s career.
Milan Hejduk was once a certified Canuck killer.
And who could forget this?