The city of Vancouver and the Canucks just don't understand: Why does everybody say they're the most-hated team in the league?
After Game 1's loss and the subsequent tweet from the Los Angeles Kings telling everybody in Canada outside of British Columbia that they're welcome, the Vancouver persecution complex began showing itself again. Province columnist Ed Willes took a whole column to write about the issue on Thursday, trying to make sense of it all.
Last year, it took a run to the Cup final before Canada pronounced its hatred for this franchise but, clearly, the dominion isn't going to waste any time this year.
The country has spoken. We are pariahs.
This is our burden.
Then he spoke to Cory Schneider, the backup goaltender who I'm beginning to notice has an opinion on everything related to the Canucks and isn't afraid to share it. He took to the defense like an eager public defender.
"What's frustrating to us is when the national media and people outside the city parachute in and form these opinions," Schneider said. "They take things for facts that aren't really facts. If you talk to us and spend any time with us, you understand we're good guys. Dan Hamhuis, the twins, Manny [Malhotra], Sami Salo. They play the game the right way and do great things in the community."
Ironically, Schneider then continued talking about the fact that the Canucks are disliked, particularly across Canada, by giving the fans in one city another reason to hate them. Really.
"You look around the league and people don't like us and Pittsburgh and we're two of the better teams," Schneider said. "You saw Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager in Edmonton. Nobody cares about Edmonton so nobody hates them. It's that simple."
OK, first off, ouch. That one has to sting Edmonton a little bit. I don't think that's going to convert over many Oilers fans to think better of their division rivals.
Secondly, Schneider hits a key point here. One of the reasons why the Canucks are hated is because they're good. It's certainly not the only reason -- not that simple, as Schneider says -- but it's definitely a contributing factor. Over time, nobody likes the teams that are good for long stretches.
What I don't get is why the Canucks haven't come to grips with this yet and just owned it. You're a hated team, awesome. Revel in it. Playing the woe-is-us card only makes it worse, really. Look at the Bruins, the team they fought so bitterly against in last year's Final. That's a team that has taken the bully reputation and the role of bad guy and done well. So maybe it's not in all of the Canucks to do that, fine. But at least stop trying to figure it all out.
I personally don't have the contempt for the Canucks a lot of people do. Maybe it's because I grew up a few hours from Vancouver and have a small feeling of kinship for a Pacific Northwest team. I never rooted for them as a kid, but I didn't root against them either.
What I do know is this. Fans don't really like weasely players or actors, if you will. Ryan Kesler's little act in Game 1 isn't going to help that image. Alex Burrows and Maxim Lapierre aren't favorites across the league either.
Underlying this whole thing is a sense of nationalism. Canadians love their hockey and when it comes playoff time, they usually stick together, wanting to see the Cup finally come back to the Great White North. But Vancouver doesn't seem to get that same kind of support. Isolated on the West Coast, it feels like the red-headed step-child. Where's the love?
They don't get it in Vancouver. I think it's time they stop trying to figure it out and just accept it. Just let the people point to them and say you're the bad guy. Al Pacino taught me that isn't always so bad.
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