Gillis' Canuck Canvas

Kristian Urstad
January 28 2010 05:18PM

I find myself thinking that something about the Canucks looks right these days.

Then I wonder what I mean – perhaps what anyone means – by this deceptively modest little word ‘right’. Upon reflection, it seems to me that this is something we can all get an initial understanding of simply by drawing on our everyday experience. I think anybody who has ever tried to, say, arrange a bunch of flowers, match a tie to a shirt, or simply get the right proportion of cream and hot chocolate, has had an inkling of the problem of getting it right.

This strange sensation we have when we find ourselves shuffling and shifting colours around, adding a little here and taking away some there, only to finally say to ourselves, “Ok, leave it alone now, it’s perfect” – this is getting it right. But what is this exactly? It seems to me to be, in our own modest way, an appeal to balance and harmony. In all such cases, however trivial, we feel that too much of this or too little of that upsets the balance and that there is only one relationship or configuration which is as it should be.

Ok, as it stands this is fairly banal, but I suggest we see it as illustrative of something larger. I suggest we see it from the point of view of an artist or, in our case, general manager. The Canuck team is Mike Gillis’ canvas, and all the players and hockey tangibles, his colours and their various shades. This isn’t an easy job. Far from matching a tie to a shirt, Gillis’ painting is infinitely more complex and he has to be fastidious to the extreme. He doesn’t just have to balance one or two colours, but dozens of shades and forms have to be made into a harmonious whole.

And I suppose this is the sort of harmony I see when I watch the Canucks these days. I feel Gillis has succeeded because he has achieved something to which nothing (at least nothing much) could be added – something which looks, well, right.

Kristian Urstad was born, raised, and currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Kristian has been a disappointed yet loyal Canucks fan his whole life. He has a hunch however that their time may soon come. He has a PhD in Philosophy and so tries to take a philosophical approach to writing about hockey and the Canucks, hopeful, but not always sure, that he can offer some new and interesting insights into the various aspects of this great game and burgeoning team. You can reach Kristian at
#1 Wanye
January 29 2010, 12:27AM
Trash it!

I endorse this picture and article.

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