Editors note: if you missed part I of Jeff’s two part series, you can read it here.
In honour of Halloween, here are a few more of the scariest players to don the Orca crest over the past 10 seasons. Scary, of course, has a variety of meanings. For the purposes of this column, it could describe a player’s appearance, his poor play, or the boldness of his eyebrows (spoiler alert).
Throughout the 2005-06 season, the Canucks lacked a big, strong checking center who was good on the draw. Dave Nonis dipped into the free agent pool (cue scary music) that next summer, signing the 6’5” Chouinard from Minnesota. He was coming off of an impressive season in which he scored 14 goals including a hat trick, and won close to 53 percent of the faceoffs he took.
However, like many of the free agent signings during from the mid 2000s, Chouinard struggled right away, never delivering the level of play even close to what was expected. The one lasting memory of Chouinard in a Canuck sweater is a breakaway goal he scored, a play which took about 30 seconds to complete because he somehow Dana Murzyn look like a speedster. Chouinard had two goals and two assists in 42 games before being waived, demoted, and eventually bought out (the only Canuck to ever have been bought out, for those of you keeping track at home).
If you type “Marc Chouinard Canucks” into Youtube, the only highlight video is from him at training camp, holding his stick upside down. If only we had paid closer attention at the time…
Players on the 2006-07 Canucks team who finished with more points than Chouinard included Tommi Santala, Rory Fitzpatrick, and Jeff Cowan. The final nail in the coffin for Chouinard in Vancouver – actually admitting to watching Grey’s Anatomy. Scary, scary stuff.
Spook factor: Watching Chouinard for half a season was as painful as sitting through the Blair Witch Project.
Perhaps there was a reason as to why Schneider had suited up for nine NHL clubs before coming to Vancouver two years ago. He had a slow start to the season after offseason shoulder surgery, and upon his return to the lineup he was often healthy scratched by Alain Vigneault. This in turn prompted complaining from Schneider, and he eventually left the team, frustrated at his lack of play.
Soon after all of this, he was traded out of town. Earlier in his career, Schneider feuded with Patrick Roy in Montreal, promoting his departure from the Canadiens. It took over 20 years, but Schneider eventually realized that feuding with French people is never a good idea.
Spook factor: Dracula. I mean, come on?
Jan Hlavac/Martin Rucinsky
Although Hlavac and Rucinsky never played together as Canucks, their tenures were quite similar. Both were Czech. Both were very soft. Both were former Rangers (the two were even teammates during the 2003-04 season). But most importantly, both were brought in to supply secondary scoring, and neither did. Hlavac was best known for jumping out of the way of hits, while Rucinsky did literally nothing memorable.
Hlavac was eventually traded for Marek Malik, who narrowly escaped this list, while Rucinsky pulled a Mark Messier and returned back to the Big Apple the very next season. To be fair to Rucinsky, he was brought in to replace the suspended Todd Bertuzzi on the right side with Naslund and Morrison. That’s like putting a fourth liner like Byron Ritchie on the power play. Wait a sec….