What did the Vancouver Canucks ever do to you, Alabama?

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A census in 2013 estimated that 4,822,023 people resided in the southern state of Alabama at the time. In a far less scientific and likewise accurate study (*), those near-5,000,000 individuals appear to hate the Vancouver Canucks more than any other team in the National Hockey League. 

The natural question to a piece of news like this – beyond “who cares”, to which the answer is “it’s August 4th” – is “what did the Vancouver Canucks as an organization ever do to Alabama? It still remains unclear, but it must’ve been something, because they appear to have been bestowed with this honour in a landslide (small sample size disclaimer aside). There generally don’t appear to be many ties between the state and the league, with only 2 players ever having made the league after having been born there.

This got me thinking to how differently the results would’ve come in had this vote taken place, say, 3-4 years ago. There was once a time where the Canucks, whether it be because of strategy or because of their personnel, attracted all sorts of ire from their opposition

And that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. One tangentially hidden benefit of the ‘Jerk Puck’ era was how frequently the Canucks used it to unnerve their opponents, goading them into shooting themselves in the foot. They drew a lot of penalties, and they capitalized on them accordingly:

PP Opportunities NHL Rank
08-09 357 9th
09-10 325 6th
10-11 296 11th
11-12 288 8th
12-13 282 13th
13-14 257 22nd

Times have obviously changed. For whatever it’s worth, out of their top 9 players in penalties drawn back in ’10-’11, only 3 of them are still on the team. The same goes for the following season.

Even if the team has lost a lot of its luster on the man advantage, it still goes without saying that drawing penalties and getting to play with the extra man is a beneficial event, even if you’re converting at a lower rate than before. There are plenty of hockey metrics being thrown around online these days, but honestly, one of the more oft-overlooked yet simple ones that I tend to always look into is a player’s penalty differential. It has legitimate hidden value, and it’s one that team’s should be definitely be looking into and exploiting. 

As you can surmise from the graph above, generally speaking the more successful teams are the ones that tend to be despised the most outside of their local area. Nobody really has the time or energy to get too worked up about mediocrity, in any form. 

Maybe the actual question isn’t what the Vancouver Canucks did to the state of Alabama, but rather: what do the Vancouver Canucks need to do to get their logo back on more of these states in the coming years?

(*)The source of the vote is Reddit, so take this with an exceptionally large grain of salt. For all we know Wyoming and North Dakota actually do in fact still hate the Vancouver Canucks, and all is well. 

  • Fred-65

    Given that there aren’t any pro leagues in Alabama anymore and the days of the WHA/ECHL/CHL are long since past there, I doubt that more than 10 people are even aware of hockey.

    What is gratifying to see is how widely hated the Bruins are across the US. And that the Kings are despised throughout most of California and Chicago hated throughout the Midwest. Our inferiority complex tends to see the Canucks as “most hated” etc but really it’s not much compared to the rivalries between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fans or the deserved hatred that the Bruins get once you get out of the Northeast.

  • Fred-65

    I’ve got some friends from Alabama who got a kick out of this.

    One of them had a dad that took him to minor league games in Alabama because they were cheap, but I guess any team has long since abandoned Alabama.

  • YeahHeDid

    Why the “large grain of salt” warning about Reddit?
    It has a subscription base of over 100k and who knows how many more active users who aren’t subscribed, and then the lurkers on top of that too.

    Why would their opinion on which teams they hate be any less valid than anyone else’s?

    Considering this content came from there, and lots of other content as well, the cautionary note is puzzling.

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      Because the poll contained 332 votes, which is hardly all that representative or telling? Lots of opportunity for randomness and noise, there. It was good fun but that fact needs to be taken into consideration.

      • YeahHeDid

        Fair enough. I’d suggest a warning on 332 votes rather than target reddit as a bad resource though. But I’m biased as I spend time in that subreddit and a lot of good information is produced there IMO.

  • Dimitri Filipovic

    Wow. You know someone has a lot of time when you see an article like this. I think I heard 6 of my neighbours yelling they hated the Canucks. I am about to author an article based on this. I will call it: “Why Does Vancouver hate the Canucks.” Stay tuned, True Believers!

  • To your PP Opp point:

    Something I really don’t understand is why I don’t read more on the benefit of getting PP Opps on a team basis. Patrick D. wrote an excellent article mentioning Score Adjusted PP Opp% on fearthefin. ( http://www.fearthefin.com/2013/7/9/4420326/special-teams-part-i-pp-pk-opportunities-and-time )

    Now there is obviously value in having players who provoke penalties and don’t take a lot on their own, but I feel like someone should look at whether this is something that can truly be driven at a team level, if it’s something where players can drive it for their team when on the ice as a whole or if it’s just a matter of individual player skill.
    (Something along the lines of comparing repeatability of On-Ice PP Opp% and the repeatability of Individual Penalty Differential).

    Maybe there are players who drive PP Opp% for their team when they’re on the ice but don’t show it as much on the individual penalty diff? That should be significant value as well then, shouldn’t it?

    Anyway, just an idea…

          • Victoria Flames Fan

            Go get a life? This is Canada you moron.

            Vancouver is like San Francisco but without the nice areas, exact same type of people though.

            Just wanted to make sure you remembered the trade, so I could remind you how horrible your organization is.

          • Victoria Flames Fan

            Hey, Jacktard, I’m not that hell bent over hockey where it ruins. Think about it. Canada has more than hockey you piece of crap.

            I could care less what you think of Van. You matter to me as much as the shat on your face.

            I remember the trade. What’s done is done. I didn’t make the deal. What happens, happens. Seriously, get a life. Get out of your mom’s basement and do something…anything…

          • Admiral Ackbar

            Hey, Guess what, anyone in Canada who isn’t a hockey fanatic is probably just a nancy boy who couldn’t play sports. Anger. I get it, but remember how idiotic that sounds when you’re posting on a hockey website.

            Worst trade in history, Schneider will be sick for years and years to come and Bo Horvat is only known because of how horrible the trade was.

            Don’t project your miserable life onto me, I’m sure that living in your mother’a basement sucks but try and get out of the house.

          • Admiral Ackbar

            Yeah, ok, Captain Redneck. Gay slurs on top of your already evident stupidity. High school, in the sticks, must’ve been the best 10 years of your life. Keep up the good work and hopefully you’re never in Vancouver. 🙂

          • Admiral Ackbar

            Ht a nerve did we?

            Stupidity would be willingly living anywhere couver and being proud of it.And thanks, I’ll made sure to stay away from that glitter fest. Enjoy all the attractive young men!

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    If you go to the website, you can see the Canadian map there too. Boston is the most hated team in every province but Alberta where Vancouver is.