12
Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Monday Mailbag: Contracts, Conditions, and Why I Don’t Cheer For The Canucks

Obviously, it’s all going to depend on whether or not the season resumes, but if the season is cancelled outright, I think they would get the pick back and be forced to surrender next year’s pick. The conditions state that if the Canucks failed to make the playoffs in 2020, they would give up next year’s pick. Since no playoffs would be held in this scenario, it would be hard to make the argument that they should give up their 2020 selection.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I love the idea of pro hockey coming to North Dakota. Canucks fans got to see how supportive fans in the state can be during Brock Boeser’s time with UND, and while I can’t imagine there’d be many people in attendance, (or anyone at all, for that matter;) given the situation, it might spark some additional interest in hockey among North Dakotans.

I’m also glad the league is looking at ways to finish the season, but I have to say that it seems far-fetched at this point. I won’t be surprised if the 2019-20 season is cancelled altogether.

In an ideal world, I would like three. While Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter get most of the attention, the contract that’s really going to hurt them in the long run is Myers, who is locked up for four more years at six million per. They could probably make due with just the two, though. While Beagle, Myers, and even Antoine Roussel’s contracts are problematic, they could likely find takers for those players if they’re willing to get creative. I don’t think that’s the case with Eriksson or Sutter anymore, especially now that the cap is unlikely to rise next season.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The realistic best-case scenario for Nikita Tryamkin is for him to return to Vancouver and develop into a credible third-pairing defenseman who can be a physical presence. To be honest, I think he would be a redundancy on a team that sports another big defender who’s questionable defensively in Tyler Myers, especially since Myers has more offensive upside.

He’d probably be one of those giant peanut butter and chocolate ones with the entire Reese cup in the middle.

I don’t really see the situation coming to that. I think it’s more likely they’d just cancel the season entirely.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Ty Smith. The Canucks desperately need to stock their prospect pipeline on defense, and Smith has top-pairing upside. I don’t think they have the assets to pry him from the Devils, but in a perfect world he would be the guy I’d want to add.

It’s been 12 years and it still doesn’t make sense to me. Dave Nonis is underrated when it comes to the realm of baffling moves by a Canucks GM. The 2006 trade deadline was full of duds: Eric Weinrich, Mika Noronen, Keith Carney, as were most of his free-agent signings. The fact that so many fans are willing to give him credit for the team’s success from 2009-2013 really goes to show how much some people hate Mike Gillis.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

I think I talked about snacks in a recent mailbag, but I’ve been cycling through snacks a lot since I basically can’t leave the house unless it’s to get groceries or exercise, so the answer is subject to change. We recently bought a Costco-sized box of Pizza Pops, so I’ve been enjoying those.

I mostly listen to leftist political podcasts like Chapo, Street Fight Radio, TrueAnon, Alberta Advantage, etc., but I’ve been really enjoying the backlogs of Struggle Session and And Introducing lately. Struggle Session is focused mainly on movies and TV, while And Introducing is mainly focused on musician biographies. They both have a political bent but not so much that someone who isn’t interested in politics couldn’t enjoy them.

I also can’t praise the Crackdown podcast enough. It’s an on-the-ground look at the opioid crisis in Vancouver made by people who are living through that crisis themselves. It’s excellent.

To be honest, I have no idea. I don’t think anyone does. The Canucks were basically right on the bubble all year and it likely would have taken until the last game of the season to determine whether or not they would squeeze in.

In this instance, I think both the team’s biggest boosters and their biggest detractors are out to lunch. Considering the state of the Pacific this year, a truly good team would have been able to at the very least secure second or third in the division by early March. At the same time, the type of offensive prowess we saw from the Canucks’ top line has carried middling teams a lot farther than the first round in the past. Ultimately, if you want to say the Canucks are cursed, I think you’re well within your rights to do so. This has certainly been an unlucky development for a team that at the very least took a step forward this year.

There’s a lot going on here, so I’m going to have to address a couple of things before I can get to answering the question.

First of all, believing that anyone who isn’t an outright fan of a hockey team should be prohibited from covering that hockey team is an incredibly myopic approach to sports media. There’s nothing wrong with fan-driven media, but it’s ill-equipped to deal with situations like the one we’re seeing right now, where the outside world intersects with the sports world and everything isn’t just about hockey anymore. Regardless of what you think of Steve Dangle, he’s probably not the best guy to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s also out of step with reality. “No cheering in the press box” is a common maxim among sports journalists for a reason: most of them aren’t fans, and believe in some vague idea of journalistic integrity at the very least. It might be a little stuffy, but it makes sense. It’s hard to cover something objectively when you pride your own personal fandom over objectivity.

Now, to address the other misconception at the heart of your question, I am a Canucks fan, and have been as long as I can remember. My first hockey memories are of the Messier era and that wasn’t enough to turn me off. When I was eight years old, I ran into the living room the morning after Harold Druken scored to get the Canucks into the playoffs in 2001 to see if they had won. At 13, I stayed up until 18:06 of the fourth overtime to watch Henrik Sedin score the winner in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal against the Dallas Stars. And I struggled to enjoy my own high school graduation because it came in the wake of the team’s Stanley Cup loss in 2011.

One thing I’ve learned through 20-odd years of fandom, though, is that things seldom go the Canucks’ way. They aren’t going to get lucky, they’re never going to get an easy schedule, and they’re certainly not going to get any help from the league or the officials. (That should be abundantly clear after the Stephane Auger incident and the leaked emails from Colin Campbell.) If the Canucks are ever going to win a Stanley Cup, they’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way: by being better than everyone else. Shortcuts and half-measures aren’t going to cut it, so it’s hard to be enthusiastic about a team that seems so dedicated to building a team that’s just okay, especially when my first instinct has always been to be critical.

Since I started writing about the team, my fandom has mostly been beaten out of me. You just approach things differently when watching hockey is something you get paid to do rather than something you do just for your own enjoyment. But I still want the team to do well. That’s why I can be so hard on them sometimes.