The culture of Torts

Luongo 300
(Picture courtesy of me)

As all of Canucks Nation knows by now (except for the three of you who don’t, but even you three have to admit you suspected something was up) John Tortorella has been suspended 15 days by the NHL for his part in the Brawl for All that took place Saturday between the Flames and Canucks. This comes hot off of the heels of one of the worst stretches of the season for the Canucks in which they lost many games, but also got in many fights. So many fights…. *stares into the distance wistfully*..

A funny thing happened after the suspension to Torts was announced, though; the majority of fans weren’t complaining about the Canucks on ice play. Nobody was angry and bemoaning another Edler turnover. Nobody was wondering why Jason Garrison was making it his sole purpose in life to ruin the happiness of Canucks fans everywhere. No, for the most part people were defiantly supporting their coach. As only Roberto Luongo himself can put it….

A quick search of that hash tag on twitter reveals a ton of people jumping on board, declaring their support of the coach, despite all of the recent losses. Sure, some of that can be attributed to people parroting whatever hash tag Luongo puts out (If he put out #FreePoops as a hash tag, that would also be abnormally popular, I assure you) but for people who have been watching the Canucks fans reactions this year, you will notice it is just another sign of the Torts movement as people continue to get more and more on board Torts’ approach to the game.

In a town where a three game losing streak is akin to having your arm torn off by a rogue tractor, Canucks Nation is surprisingly positive in their support of Torts. Why you ask? Well I’m glad you asked, but the answer to that lies all the way back in 2011….

*Time travel montage*

Ah, 2011, a time when all was well in Canucks land. The Sedins were dominating like never before. Christian Ehrhoff had made Patrick White jokes en vogue again. Raffi Torres was decapitating people left and right (ok so some things haven’t changed). It was the best Canucks team of all time, statistically speaking, and let’s be honest, in every other category you could think of. There was just one problem: Every single person outside of the Vancouver fan base apparently hated that team.

It was really weird how united people got in their hatred of the Canucks. That team, by all accounts, was not a cheap shot team (Raffi Torres aside). They weren’t particularly mean spirited. Did they have some skaters with questionable diving skills on their resume? Of course! Lapierre, Burrows, and Kesler are not exactly innocent when it comes to diving, or yapping for that matter. The thing is, every team in the league either has, or has had, questionable players on its roster, and again, it is not like the Canucks were the worst team of all time in any bad category. They were a highly skilled team that would kill you on the power play and would simply out score you at will. Yet for some reason, as the 2011 playoffs wore on, more and more people simply despised Vancouver.

Was it simply a case of people reacting to the, sometimes annoyingly so, boisterous Canucks fan base? That probably played a part, but it still felt like there was something oddly personal about everyone outside of Vancouver actively hoping for Vancouver to fail in their Cup aspirations. As a result, not a day went by when people wouldn’t pile on the Canucks, and one of the biggest narratives running was about how the Canucks team was a bunch of "pussies". If it wasn’t the Sedin sisters using their purse to body check, it was Burrows being a coward, or Lapierre being a pansy, or the team equipment manager wearing white after Labor Day. Basically the 2011 Canucks team was painted as this sad sack of cowardly players that didn’t deserve to win a thing because they didn’t play hockey "the right way".

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Things got so bad that at one point Brad Marchand was viewed as some sort of saint for punching Daniel Sedin in the face multiple times without a physical response from Daniel. Seriously, Daniel Sedin was vilified for this, and Brad Marchand of all people was celebrated. That’s like listening to your mother tell you how exciting it was when your ex-wife that cheated on you took you for all your money in divorce court. Marchand was playing "real" hockey and showing those pussy Canucks how hockey was meant to be played! YEAH!

*crushes beer can on head*

The entire mantra of the 2011 team could be summed up as the "Turn the Other Cheek" era, because that is what Vigneault preached that season. The Canucks would glow as they spoke about the "Lapierre rehab" project, where they brought in a lippy Lapierre and within 5 days of his personality re-assignment therapy, he emerged as a shutdown fourth line center with impeccable table manners. Vigneault’s vision for the Canucks was to not retaliate and to make sure to not get involved with any rough stuff. AV wanted his players to ignore the after whistle affairs and simply dominate the other team on the powerplay and get the win.

"Make them pay on the powerplay!" was a war cry Vigneault would use often, in between sucking on his lozenges. This "Turn the Other Cheek" movement reached its zenith when Sami Salo made the Sharks cry for mercy with two powerplay goals in 16 seconds in game four of the Western Finals. It was at its nadir when the Canucks power play absolutely disappeared against the Bruins in the Finals as the Bruins physically dominated the Canucks en route to winning the Cup.

Canucks Nation emerged from the 2011 Finals saddened by losing to a team that used brawn to beat their skill. They were frustrated that a team with so much skill as that 2011 team was being shit on by seemingly everyone outside of the Vancouver market for “not playing tough”. The last two years of Vigneault the "Canucks are pussies" narrative continued until it went out with a whimper when AV was finally let go in the 2013 off-season.

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Enter John Tortorella.

Tortorella is known for being a fiery coach, and if it can be said that teams will often reflect the personality of their coaches, this theory gains even more merit when looking at Torts led teams. Under Torts the Canucks have become viewed as a much tougher team. Whether it is because Tom Sestito leads the league in penalty minutes, whether it’s because the Canucks now block a ton of shots (blocking shots = manly), or whether it’s because Torts himself will often scream behind the bench (Vigneault was known for laughing behind the bench or sucking his lozenges, the disparity between the two probably couldn’t get any greater), the Canucks are now viewed quite differently.

This of course is highlighted by the Torts suspension for attempting to charge into the Flames dressing room to yell at Bob Hartley for trying to goon it up against "his boys". Let’s compare the Torts approach to the AV approach for a second:

John Tortorella charges into the opposing locker room to yell at the coach to defend his players.

Alain Vigneault laughs at the memory of Matt Cooke screwing up a two on one.

John Tortorella yells to the press about people calling the Sedins soft.

Alain Vigneault giggles uncontrollably when someone asks him if Wellwood is "playing like a man possessed."

John Tortorella will frankly tell the media that Zack Kassian is a project player that needs a lot of work.

Alain Vigneault is most likely unaware who Zack Kassian is. He most ilkely giggled at some point.

Again, you could not draw up better polar opposites in coaches than these two. 

Now, Torts’ popularity could simply be a case of him being a rebound coach after a long relationship with AV. If you look at all of AV’s "faults", Torts is the opposite, so he looks even better in comparison. For all we know if Torts had been here for 9 years and AV was the one to take over, people would be lauding AV for his much calmer approach to hockey, and complimenting his laid back style and nice track suits.

Regardless of why people in Vancouver are so open to Torts style, it is exacerbated by the optics of it all. This is a fan base that had its team being made fun of for being too soft for many many years. Fast forward four years, and now the team is being jeered for being "too dirty". It’s almost like this Canucks team can do no right in the eyes of many.

As a result of all of this, Torts is now becoming a central figure in Canucks Nation for his sometimes abbrasive style. If you realize that people will hate you no matter what, you kind of want to feel defiant to all of that. If people are going to hate you, part of you wants to give them a reason to hate you.

If people are going to make fun of your team, sometimes there is nothing better than seeing a coach stand up for the team and its players, giving a metaphorical "**** you" to people who aren’t a fan of the team. It’s not the fights themselves that make you cheer, it’s watching team mates stand up for other team mates that brings a smile to many faces. Sports is based on very primal emotions, so it’s easy to get swept away in the comraderie of players "having each others backs."

That is why, in my humblest opinion, the #FreeTorts ideology is taking off. That is why people are supporting this scrappy team and not complaining as much. Sure, people are still discussing the failures of the team (I am sure someone on Canucks Army as we speak is writing an article about how fighting adds nothing statistically to the team) but those failures have finally made their way onto the front door of Mike Gillis. Now it is Gillis who is being viewed as the guy who needs to fix the team, and not the coach.

This is why Torts is gaining popularity in Vancouver. This team is a shell of its 2011 glory, and many people are starting to realize that. So if the team is going to have to claw and scrape their way into the playoffs, they might as well play tough and stop backing down from confrontation. It’s therapeutic in a sense for the fan base because they might as well see what happens when they play tougher, since they lost with their most skilled team of all time.

For a fan base that had to watch Brad Marchand being celebrated for punching Daniel in the face, there is something very satisfying watching Bieksa stand in to fight on Kellen Lain’s behalf, or for Torts to run down the hallways screaming for blood.

Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to rally behind Torts, full of passion and fighting on the teams behalf,  then it is to rally behind Vigneault, who came across more like an aloof step-father, one whom you’re not quite sure if he’ll invite you back over to Christmas next year. If the Canucks are going to lose this year, they are going to lose united as a team, which is better than going out with a whimper in a first round sweep for the third straight year.

In closing, #FreeTorts.

Also, #FreePoops. 

    • Nope, but Torts can make someone punch someone on Daniel’s behalf, hahaha.

      Torts doesn’t have any magical ability to turn this into a 2011 skill team, but optically he is going to gain a ton of fans for his style.

  • As a fan, personally, it’s much easier to stick up for a team that sticks up for itself. As a player, from personal experience, it’s a great rallying point. For the rest of it, fans of other teams should be talking and hating all they want on the Canucks. It’s their right as fans and for the most part it’s all in good fun…and it generally beats talking hockey in provinces that begin with the letter A.

  • Nice read. (btw, when did you start posting here instead of LoB?)

    I wholeheartedly agree. If the other 29 teams (and their fans) are going to hate us… well, lets give them a reason to hate.

    And while it may not help in the playoffs, where fighting is nil, it sure does make the regular season grind more exciting to watch.

    The other thing I was thinking about this was that Torts is setting the table for next year as well.

    Gaunce, Jensen, Horvat, Shinkaruk, Corrado, etc are all supposed to be pushing for spots next year. So it isn’t inconceivable that the Canucks might have 4-5 rookies in the lineup next fall.

    So lets get a rep as a team that you shouldn’t F*** with now, before anyone gets ideas of roughing up the rookies next season. (ie. how everyone plays edmonton)

  • The fact that the players, management team and fanbase are talking about meaningless constructs like “culture” is a testament to how far this team has fallen since 2011.

    Wake me up when the organization goes back to caring about skill, fatigue management and playing a cerebral brand of hockey.

    It’s not surprising Torts is popular.

    He placates the lowest common denominator of the fanbase…

    • You are missing a key factor.

      In an ideal world, yes going back to playing 2011-style hockey would be the best option. (Assuming that the core players could handle it with age/injuries since then)

      But that is an ideal world.

      We live in a world where the NHL is run by Bettman, so needless to say, not ideal 😉

      Torts might be appealing to the lowest common denominator, but guess what?

      Unless you have Crosby or the Red Wings head office, toughness, both physical and mental, is a huge part of how you win stanley cups in the modern era.

      It isn’t the only factor, or even the primary one necessarily, but the more physical a team is, the deeper they go in the playoffs.

      And if you manage to survive a series against a more physical team by virtue of being more skilled… the NHL playoffs are a war of attrition. We don’t need to go over the injuries in 2011, but we both know that they played a huge role in the Bruins reversing momentum and then winning the series. And the Bruins were actually the SMALLER team in that series if you look at the lineup sheets, even with Chara skewing the average. But they sure didn’t play small, did they?

      So does this team need to get healthy, and find a coach that can actually run a PP? Hell yes.

      But they also need the mindset that Torts is bringing as well if they want to go to war and win a few rounds against the california teams or STL in the playoffs.

      • “Unless you have Crosby or the Red Wings head office, toughness, both physical and mental, is a huge part of how you win stanley cups in the modern era.”

        Making the playoffs in the first place is a huge part of how you win Stanley Cups in the modern era.

        And Tortorella’s wizardry has the Canucks battling for a wildcard spot with a welfare team that plays in the desert.

        “Torts might be appealing to the lowest common denominator, but guess what?”

        I see what you did there…

      • DCR

        Unfortunately NHL playoffs are not that fun to watch. You rarely see a nice play leading to a goal. It’s not pretty hockey. I tend to lose a lot of interest once the Canucks are out. Playoff rules come into effect with lame officiating.

    • Pining for fatigue management? What an odd world.

      And we have no idea if the organization is going all in on the “tougher” style for the long term. Cap restrictions, roster issues, poor drafting, all of these might have the team feeling hemmed in with having an average team that can’t “out skill” teams anymore.

      I don’t think the Canucks are at any risk of turning into a goon squad, but I do feel they do want a healthy dose of “toughness” in their bottom six, as evidenced by Sestito’s contract extension.I still think the Canucks can piece together a team that has a blend of both skill and the vaunted Torts toughness that is entertaining to watch.

      The big test will be next year when we see what moves they make with the cap going up.

        • Not just free agency, but the ability to move players in trades. I think all teams in the league are going to struggle to make a lot of trades under the current landscape.

          I agree, there isn’t one solution in free agency that will solve everything, but a smart pick up plus a “hockey trade” (trading some of that defensive depth?) will be able to alert the fans as to what kind of team they want to build.

          That being said, they could also just stand pat, in which case yeah, we might be in for a couple of years of Torts scraping and clawing his way through each season. We shall see!

          Though we can take that “maybe” tag off of Weise getting a raise, no way that guy gets one.

          • The Canucks made three good pickups in Santorelli, Richardson & Stanton.

            And yet this old core continues to fall further down the top of the mountain.

            Homerism isn’t going to solve the slow but steady decline of this franchise.

            Though I’m sure Aquillini appreciates the support…

            As long as the Canucks qualify Weise, he is getting a raise just like he did for 2013-2014.

            Are you completely unaware of how player compensation works in the modern NHL?

          • I do not see Dale Weise being on the Canucks next year, due to his current role on the team. He just doesn’t seem to have a long term future. The very fact you used Weise as some sort of indicator that the Canucks might have cap trouble is stretching to make a point. I tried to make a light comment on it so we didn’t have an awkward conversation where you actually had to try and defend using a Dale Weise raise next year as some sort of huge cap implication.

            Tell me where I said this team was going to turn it around and be a top end team? I’ll help you out here and let you know I never said that. I very well admit that if this team stands pat they will continue to claw their way through the next couple of seasons. Their core is aging and production from the top 6 is declining, who is arguing you on that?

            Look, I get that your gimmick is the person who sees things for what they are, who isn’t a homer, blah blah blah, but if you’re going to make comments, it would be more fun if we just had a civil back forth. It’s easy to be a dick online for no reason but I invite you to try an actual back and forth where we don’t get snarky for no reason.

            If you feel the need to stand on your high horse and randomly act like an ass, then go for it. Seems like a tiring way to live, but to each their own.

          • DCR

            Sadly, I don’t think it is a gimmick for this clown. I felt sorry for him but that was a while ago. Now I just enjoy humiliating him. He doesn’t really make rational points and that was, once again, made obvious here. Why do you think I can’t take him seriously and just enjoy picking on him 🙂

          • “The very fact you used Weise as some sort of indicator that the Canucks might have cap trouble is stretching to make a point.”


            “Tell me where I said this team was going to turn it around and be a top end team?”

            You didn’t.

            But you’re repeating the same tired “woe is us” nonsense with the cap.

            As though the Canucks were the only team hindered by the cap decrease.

            As though the Canucks will be the only team that benefits from the cap increase.

            Again, look at what is spent and what needs to be spent to keep this mediocre team together.

            “Look, I get that your gimmick is the person who sees things for what they are, who isn’t a homer, blah blah blah, but if you’re going to make comments, it would be more fun if we just had a civil back forth. It’s easy to be a dick online for no reason but I invite you to try an actual back and forth where we don’t get snarky for no reason.

            If you feel the need to stand on your high horse and randomly act like an ass, then go for it. Seems like a tiring way to live, but to each their own.”

            Do you actual read this nonsense before you start typing the ad hominems?

            Look, I get that your gimmick is to be the person that tries to placate the insecurities of the fanbase by writing fluff about #embracethehate & Tortorella’s popularity.

            If you feel the need to stand on your high horse and randomly act like an ass, then go for it. Seems like a tiring way to make a living, but to each their own.

          • At this point I imagine your pants are firmly around your ankles as you masturbate to all the negative attention you’re creating, so I’ll let you finish giving your posts a thumbs up so you can end “happy alone time” before 3.

          • Welcome aboard Stanchion. What you’re responding to has grown pretty old around here.

            The need to take a contrarian view while labeling everyone “groupthinkers” gives one a feeling of superiority, that is clearly sought to hide some obvious insecurities.

            One is then too confused by the negative reactions to understand most people agree one’s points are actually worthy of discussion and questioning. It’s not what is said, but rather how things are said, that makes one look like a d!ck.

          • That’s the thing, I love having a good-natured back and forth with people as we debate sports. Half of the fun of sports is breaking down and talking about them. Hell, I gain better insight into sports by talking to people with other view points as it gives me a broader view of things.

            It’s just yeah, people need to present it in a civil way. Online arguments too often dissolve into snark.

            Anyways, glad to be on board, there is a great group of people who visit this site, I am excited to talk hockey with you all.

          • Most of us do add some useful info then there’s NegativeMoron00. He loves the attention! He is a hairy little troll and that’s OK. He entertains me and it’s good fun poking at him.

            Some note he may make an odd good point but that is drowned out because of his attitude and the simple fact he is a c*cksucker (yes, you may buy a vowel). Anyway, just laugh and point at the little weasel and then let’s talk hockey. 🙂

          • “Look, I get that your gimmick is the person who sees things for what they are, who isn’t a homer, blah blah blah, but if you’re going to make comments, it would be more fun if we just had a civil back forth. It’s easy to be a dick online for no reason but I invite you to try an actual back and forth where we don’t get snarky for no reason.”


          • I think you’re underselling the room we have under the cap. With a Booth buyout, we have about $15m in cap space to sign a no. 5 dman, a couple of wingers and a 3C. Kassian’s not getting a big raise after the year he’s had and he can fill one of the wing spots. If we resign Tanev he fills that spot in the D and gives us the option to make a trade there. He’s not going to cost more than 3.5m. If Santorelli stays, that’s another hole in the top 9 filled and at best he’ll get a Hansen/Higins contract.

            After a couple of depth signings, we’ll have about $5m to get a top 6 forward – assuming none of our prospects make it. Another thing in terms of cap space – Luongo’s future is still uncertain.

            No one is expecting us to turn in to one of the best teams in the league again when our top line has gone from being one of the best scoring lines to one of the best two way lines. Doesn’t mean our future is filled with 1st round exits.

          • DCR

            You are starting to sound more and more like an idiotic Albertan. Seriously.

            It’s not homerism to suggest that the team will have options this offseason. All teams will. The question is about how Canucks management will use what cap space they have. You can’t assume that the Canucks will re-sign Santo — he’s not exactly playing as well as he did to start the season. And there are options. Start with that depth on defence and go from there.

          • Marsh

            A couple of points:

            -for 30 years the only people that cared about the Canucks were Vancouver fans. Now that they have had a good team for 10 years it’s bound to create envy and, yes, fertilize trolls.

            -can the “idiotic Albertan comment or at least be more specific. There’s a lot of Canuck fans(incl. me) in Alberta, or in another note, not all Albertans are trolls.

            -every discussion board has an NMOO; rudeness is how they get attention

            -“But if they are going to go down, at least they are going to go down fighting”. Interesting that this was said about the Canucks[by 5minutesinthebox] as that is exactly what some people said about the Flames in the context of the same game and of course at this moment the Flames have much less going for them than do the Canucks.

    • When have the Canucks ever stopped talking about culture, or any professional and minor sports team for that matter?

      I’m pretty sure just because of a few fights the organization hasn’t abandoned the millions it has invested in it’s players and their well being, on and off the ice.

      People generally like honest passionate people, so yeah, it’s not surprising.

      What is being missed in all of this is in 2011 not only did the Bruins beat us, but they also laid a template for the rest of the league. A way to beat our system. I’m sure you’d agree, it’s working.

      So really, I see this period as a small growing pain while we learn what it takes to overcome what everybody has figured out about us since 2011. Yes it most certainly involves fighting back, but you’d have to be an idiot to miss that it involves our skill and PP.

      But really man, if you think this brand of hockey caters only to the lowest common denominator of a hockey fanbase then you’ve been living under a rock…because this team is getting something that it’s needed since 2011. Partially because of that template, and partially because the league has made it necessary through it’s actions. We’d be even worse off to stick with something that wasn’t going to work anymore.

      That’s why I like Torts. I have no doubt the message was greater than his actions, and he lost his mind because of it. But let him sit because he earned it. I’m sick of all the gay hashtags anyway.

    • DCR

      Yeah because all of that caring about those things has really done a lot for this team.
      This team has been damned if they do, damned if they dont since 2009.

      If they play with skill and ignore the after whistle antics other teams use they considered ‘pussies’, if they choose to participate, the Canucks are a team of ‘goons’.

      Feel free to join the ranks of the media fueled hate towards this team and its fan base. I am one of those who really couldnt care less about what anyone thinks.

      Is this team going to make a splash in the playoffs this year? Pfft, they will be lucky to even make the playoffs at the current rate.
      But if they are going to go down, at least they are going to go down fighting, and that will be far more entertaining than anything we have seen from them in the last two playoff series.

      Please just go to sleep. trust me no one is going to bother waking you up.

    • DCR

      Honestly, I wish you’d just hibernate year round! But then I’d miss the ridiculous posts.

      It is nice when you put your ignorance on display. Culture is a huge part of any team as is the mental aspect/approach etc. You wouldn’t know this cuz you’re NoMind00!

      So your comment on Torts is: “He placates the lowest common denominator of the fanbase…” So, you’re assuming his actions are there just for the fans. Interesting…interesting…

  • I don’t know this sounds like a different version of the same weird persecution complex that says the Canucks get penalized more than the rest of the league or that Bettman has it out for us. Bettman is just generally a shill for greedy owners and is unlikeable and the league’s officiating is terrible for everyone (standing by a goal scored by the overhead netting against LA, for example). It’s not particular to the Canucks. And while I know many seem to agree with your assessment that “everyone” has a special hate on for the Canucks, I think that again is more a result of the inferiority complex of some of the fan base, not based in reality. Whatever is said now, when push comes to shove I don’t see a lot of Blackhawks fans backing the Bruins or Shark fans taking the lesser of two evils to supper the Kings or Devils fans embracing the Rangers if they’re the team going forward. Listening to all these narratives is pointless. It just means the stupid trolling is working on us (unless it’s from Alberta because their trolling skills are even worse than they’re team’s on-ice abilities).

    I think we need a breather from all the face punching madness. Far from freeing Torts, I think a little time-out might be what we need (in addition to some back to basics hockey while some of the injuries can heal). I’m especially hoping that Henrik takes at least a 3-4 game breather and we get Stanton and Santorelli back in soon.

    • I truly think that in 2011, the public perception of Vancouver was at an all time low. Since then, I don’t think anyone holds a grudge or anyone in front office is “out to get them”, but the league wide vibe was very pro Boston and anti Canuck at the time. Just look at LA tweeting next year “To everyone outside of BC in Canada, you’re welcome” after the playoff win.

      I honestly don’t think the team is going to descend into face punching, Tom Sestito game misconduct type games the rest of the season. I just think the Canucks hit a weird period where a lot of high profile rough stuff occurred at the same time. I feel like Edmonton there will be more fights (they still hold a grudge) but after that, things will settle down and the team will play a stretch of games without high profile violent incidents.

      • Yeah, I tend to disagree with this opinion. Any team that enjoys success will be polarizing with many fans. The Canucks have haters but I doubt they were one of the most hated or are one of the most hated.

        Matt Sekeres decided to write a piece about that but didn’t have much empirical evidence in that regard. The idea continued on and most bloggers and net types rarely ever do any homework so that idea got some traction. If the Canucks are so hated then why do you see their gear in most stadiums they visit? This was, again, perpetuated by the LA Queens twitter account. Ah well. Truth be told, it’s mostly opinion. Not a single person has polled the fans and so on.

        I also think there was a lot of hate on for Boston in 2011. Again, when two teams are in the Finals, passionate hockey fans will pick a side and go from there.

        I really don’t buy the notion the Canucks are so hated. Especially today since they’re not as relevant now that they’re not Cup contenders.

        • I agree, often times being in the middle of the storm so to speak, you can often get a biased opinion. Being in Vancouver, it could very well be that a lot of that anti-Vancouver sentiment just made it’s way in front of me and I responded to it moreso than I would if it was two other teams.

          That being said, I still think that if you ranked teams in the Finals the last 10 years and asked all of the fans of the NHL “Who do you want to win? Team A, Team B, or don’t care?” Vancouver would have a lot of people voting against them in 2011.

          AS you said though, there are no numbers to back this up, so you could be right just as much as I could, however in this case the saying “perception is reality” is what drives my article. Regardless if it’s right or wrong, many people in Vancouver felt the dislike coming from many directions, which caused a bit of a “us against the world” / #EmbraceTheHate kind of attitude.

  • DCR

    …oh and I totally agree with the Stanchion. This team is buying in to each other, and trust me, that’s what this team is going to have to do this season because they aren’t skilled enough to beat the California teams OR St. Louis in a 7 gamer. But where there is a will there is a way (aka 2003 Minnesota Wild).

    • But that suggests that the team was somehow NOT buying into each other. The reality is that the Canucks have never been the “softies” the media at least (and certainly moronic internet trolls) like to parrot. If that idiot PJ Stock or any of the rest of the HNIC (non-Friedman) fools sets the standard by which we gauge the Canucks then we’re already done.

      The problem has never been toughness (team or otherwise). We didn’t lose the SCF because we weren’t tough enough, no matter what the revisionists would like to make out now. It’s that unlike in the TB series Thomas regained his form, we had a decimated blue line and forward corps, and couldn’t score anymore.

      And the trend in the league is not towards goon squads. I’m agreeing with you, Chicago, STL, Pens, LA, SJ, they may have tough players, but they win because of their skill and because they put pucks in the net (I’d argue more so than keeping them out for the most part, given the questionable goaltenders that some of them have).

      But I see no evidence that the Canucks lost faith in themselves. They’ve been hobbled by injuries, fatigue, declining skills and a crappy schedule. None of which are excuses. But they don’t get solved by “sticking up for each other” — they were already doing that. I didn’t have a problem with the LA game, but this Calgary one is inexcusable. It’s about Tortorella’s ego and anger management, NOT about the team. The CA teams, maybe Boston. But Calgary? Please. How much of this was Tortorella “protecting the team” and “building character” and how much was it because he ******* hates Hartley?

  • Nice read Wyatt. The team is labelled negatively either way (bunch of softies or a goon squad) with no in between.

    Perhaps it’s pre-Boston 2011… It could go back to Byfuglien, Ladd and Toews running over Luongo for two years.

    Vigneault worked with what he had. He had elite talent and didn’t have to have them play like this. As a result, when the team lost the edge on talent (2012), his approach made the team look lazy and uninspired, with no push back.

    When elite talent is no longer present, the pushback and work ethic is something fans can get behind!

    • That’s a great point about how when a team lacks talent, when they at least work hard, and gain that “scrappy underdog” label, a lot of people get on board with it. There is something to be said for having a player or team that the average person can relate to. “They work hard and I work hard, we have so much in common!”

      Kyle Wellwood got a lot of fans because he looked like a dude who could be on your beer league team. Seeing him succeed was kind of like “If only I had a lucky break, that could of been me out there.” People related to him and lived vicariously a bit through his exploits.

      The Canucks playing like a scrappy team and playing above their heads, that can be really easy to get behind as well.

      The psychology of fans of sports is always intriguing to me!


    Nice read Wyatt. The team is labelled negatively either way (bunch of softies or a goon squad) with no in between.

    Perhaps it’s pre-Boston 2011… It could go back to Byfuglien, Ladd and Toews running over Luongo for two years.

    Vigneault worked with what he had. He had elite talent and didn’t have to have them play like this. As a result, when the team lost the edge on talent (2012), his approach made the team look lazy and uninspired, with no push back.

    When elite talent is no longer present, the pushback and work ethic is something fans can get behind!

  • Some good points made in the article and made in the comments. The point that some miss is that sports are nothing more than a form of entertainment. For every person who enjoys a deep dive into advanced stats, there are thousands of more casual fans who are looking to be amused for three hours on any given night. You can call them names like “the lowest common denominator”, but to the Canucks they are “the people who pay the freight”.

    In other words, the folks who are far more important that even the pointyest head on this site.

    Most casual hockey fans enjoy the physical side of the game immensely. Not to the exclusion of winning, but a lot. Most casual fans, over the course of a long 82-game season, enjoy a good gong show or two (or three or more), to generate a little excitement and debate around the water cooler.

    None of what happened over the last week necessarily means all that much. It’s neither the greatest thing ever to happen or the worst. It was pretty fun though.

    Only one team a season wins the Stanley Cup. Generally speaking only a handful of teams are regarded as having a chance to truly contend for it. I count myself lucky to be a fan of an organization that has been able to legitimately call itself a Cup Contender for a good little stretch.

    Not to take away from what this site provides (hey, I’m here and I enjoy it) or to poke at those who enjoy pissing on the parade rather than marching in it (whatever make you happy), but sometimes you just have to embrace and enjoy the chaos and the madness.

  • That’s the wonderful thing about the internet.

    One can turn a blogger into a father figure to satiate one’s psychological needs while projecting one’s insecurites on the “other”.

    And the blogger may choose bravado instead of a cogent, thought provoking response because, well, everyone has a voice…