Category Archives: Blogs

THE MESSIER ERA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A MID-TO-LATE-’90s CANUCK FAN WHO BARELY ACTUALLY GOT TO WATCH HIM PLAY

Written by @Jyrki21

It was the summer of 1997 and I was a university student back home in BC between seasons – or “academic years” as everyone else might call them. The Canucks had new owners and were about to unveil an entirely new look, rather than the variations on a theme that they had been going with since 1978.

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Change was afoot

During the 1996-97 season, rumors began circulating that the new ownership group planned not only to redo the uniforms, but in fact rename the team itself (to the “Orcas”, of course). In hindsight this was probably typical half-baked rumor-mongering that we now take with immediate skepticism in the Twitter age, and probably was never really true. All that said, it is something of a trope, the uninitiated, detached businessman taking over a long-revered institution and scrapping it at a moment’s notice as though its customers won’t care – it does happen in the business world, so maybe at some point there actually was that degree of tone-deafness. However, when you consider how rarely franchises just change their nicknames without some relocation-related reason (you have the Washington Bullet-Wizards and then… anything else recent at least flows from city-shuffling, like the Hornets/Bobcats/Pelicans hubbub), I still don’t think it was ever really in the cards. The team denied considering a name change when I e-mailed them in 1997, for whatever it’s worth, because the novelty of being able to e-mail a sports team at that point was still very real.

Thar she blew

The orca logo got leaked some weeks before the full uniform reveal, and there was an immediate outcry, at least once people started believing it was real. (With the benefit of 20 years of hindsight, it was real).

Right away there was the critique that you still hear now, that it was a “corporate logo” advertising for new parent company Orca Bay. (At this stage I remind you that the Canucks are a for-profit corporation whose every branding move is designed to sell merchandise).

The thing is, that line of criticism is better spent on cynical ownership tie-ins between the sports team and other lines of the owner’s business – like, I guess, if the Canucks had adopted the colors and style of McCaw Cellular (not that anything was known about the company particularly), and their new mascot was Celly the Cellphone or something. There were rumors that, once the Grizzlies moved to Memphis, they’d be called the “Express” and sport FedEx colors. That’s when you can pretend the sports team is too sacred for the quirks of normal business.

But this was nothing like that – Orca Bay was literally nothing more than the parent company for the Canucks, Grizzlies and GM Place, so the only entities that the Canucks would be advertising through this supposed ploy is… themselves, really.

For sure, it was part of a whale-focused rebranding strategy, but that was as true of the very selection of “Orca Bay” for the parent company’s name in the first place (actually a pretty fair choice for a Vancouver/Seattle-based enterprise) as it was for the logo choice or Fin the Whale or anything else.

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Blue! And other blue! But different! And red! Is it red?

When the reveal finally came, the Vancouver Sun had a full-page spread of Trevor Linden donning the new uniform. (Remember, Messier wasn’t on the team yet). It got a pretty mixed reaction right away… the color scheme seemed really random and trying-too-hard, but somehow with a rather subdued palette that sounded more daring than it was (Midnight blue! Royal blue! Metallic silver! Red! Or is it maroon? But white numbers for some reason!) It also had to be the only team with a crazy new look still using the default NHL name and number jersey font. If there was a word for “zany and new yet somehow still staid and insipid” this was definitely that.

Even though I identify by far the most with the skate jersey because I grew up with it, I did like the idea of the Canucks switching away from it – it was so intertwined with the team’s bumbling reputation that it was hard to imagine the team ever winning the Cup in it, almost as though supernatural forces had conspired in June 1994 to make Nathan Lafayette hit iron just to prevent this visual.

Why am I still yammering on about the uniforms? Well they were raised in the podcast, and this is all about scene-setting. And on that note, back to the McCaws.

The absentee owners put us on the map

I think history probably judges the McCaws a bit unfairly. Yeah, the whole mystery owner thing was a bit off-putting, but as we know all too well, it’s not the worst thing in the world either. I think the constant rumors of them wanting to move the team to Seattle were bogus from the start – even with the weak Canadian dollar I don’t think Seattle would have made a better market.

And what they really did for the first time – and this ties into a bit into the mythos of the goofy team in the Halloween colors – was turn Vancouver into a hockey city that mattered. For the first time, the Canucks were rich. They were a player. Free-agency was less common back then, but you have to understand – the Canucks never, ever signed free agents. (More on the Gretzky thing below, though). Hell, even acquiring Alexander Mogilny by trade in 1995 broke some kind of glass ceiling, because the Canucks rarely ever even traded for established stars.

It’s pretty wild how to this day the fans in coastal, cosmopolitan Vancouver continue to revere hard-working lunchpail types and seemingly save their scorn and skepticism for skill players, because between naive drafting strategies and financial constraints, from 1970 to the mid-90s, Canuck fans were basically fed a steady diet of ordinary Joes and the great hope of “project” players. It seems we had come to believe this was simply our lot in life, and we didn’t deserve the Nice Things that Other Teams Get. This is why the arrival of Pavel Bure was so magnificent for the franchise (although I think this no-stars-allowed effect also actually makes the fans overstate Bure’s on-ice impact a little bit in hindsight, because he was so exceptional to that point in Canuck history).

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Gretzky totally almost came to Vancouver!
But did he, really?

In the summer of 1996, perhaps given a new arena to fill and a team trying to avoid decline with both Bure and Mogilny on the roster, the last gasp of the Griffiths ownership had actually tried to make their own splash. When the Canucks famously went after Wayne Gretzky, this was a big break from the past, but never materialized. Your podcast mentions the lore behind why Gretzky didn’t sign, having been pushed too hard by Pat Quinn after he’d supposedly given his word.

I don’t really believe Gretzky’s account of why he didn’t sign with the Canucks. I think a lot of that narrative has been pushed and maybe overstated by Tony Gallagher over the years. While I’m sure there is some truth to Pat Quinn’s over-eagerness, is it that hard to believe there was some reason for it? Even if Gretzky was pissed about Quinn’s insistence, that makes him suddenly alter a career-shaping decision just like that? He’s that whimsical? If so, it sure sounds like Quinn had reason to be distrustful.

I mean, do we really believe that Gretzky – who “brought [sic] hockey to California” and had become a Hollywood celebrity, married a model, etc. – was ready to prioritize Vancouver (a direct hockey rival of the two cities he’d mostly played in, no less), still considered a small market at the time, over New York or some other glitzy NHL metropole? His wife would allow that? There have been less-talked-about conflicting reports that Gretzky was mostly using the Canucks’ offer to drive the Rangers’ appetite and I’m frankly far more inclined to lean toward that explanation. Also, seeing post-career Gretzky turn into a bit of a running joke… does he really seem like the biggest beacon of credibility?

The core’s getting a little stale, but it’s still good! It’s still good!

Anyway, yeah, the point is the Canucks were now sitting at the adults’ table, backed by significant U.S. funds, with the memories of Gretzky spurning them fresh in their minds. The 1996-97 season was a disappointment, but the team was still in the hunt until quite late.

Realistically, the team was on the downside of its business cycle already, but tanking wasn’t really a thing in the ’90s, other than the worst couple of teams when Lemieux/Lindros were on the menu. So I think fans and management alike were less aware of the proverbial window to begin with, and never really wanted to accept rebuilding.

In spite of the natural decline, I’ll bet if you were to crunch the numbers, the team actually wasn’t that horrible, but got some pretty bad goaltending. (Sorry Kirk). Quinn stayed loyal to McLean a few years too long, and it didn’t do them many favors in 1996-97. We now know Corey Hirsch (who I felt was the better of the two) was fighting some mental health demons as well. So with an OK-ish team on paper – technically with Bure already requesting a trade, but he’d end up sticking around one more year – and the sudden, newfound willingness to make a splash, the Messier signing did seem to make some sense.

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News from the mainland: HE’S OURS

I was working as a camp counsellor in the Gulf Islands when Messier signed. So no Internet access or cellphones or anything. To this day I have no idea if there was speculative lead-up or if the Messier thing materialized out of thin air. For our part, we learned of the signing when one of the camp directors announced it at a camp gathering. (This was an eerie callback to how we learned of the Mogilny trade two summers earlier, in fact). Then no further news until newspapers were procured and Province articles (main headline: HE’S OURS!) were clipped and posted in the bathroom for meaningful reading.

Everybody freak out

As that headline suggested, people in Vancouver were stoked! Not because anyone expected him to put up gaudy numbers – when people criticize his production these days, I think that’s partly disingenuous, given his age. Of course he was expected to have Magical Leadership Qualities™ that would lift this team back into contention or something. In some ways, getting Messier was better than Gretzky for this reason.

Contrary to Geeta’s memories, I don’t think most reasonable adults thought his arrival suddenly made the Canucks anything close to Cup favorites (if there was a burst of optimism like that, if anything, it was when Mogilny was acquired). In its season preview, the Sun did have a drawing of a King Kong-like Messier hoisting the Cup from atop the Harbour Centre, but that was more aspirational than a prediction.

Everything is different now

But the break with the past… acquiring a big name (the fact that it was from the ’94 Rangers was more a feature than a glitch), having the league suddenly pay attention to us – these were all new things in Vancouver, and there was a certain euphoria about seemingly making the big time. Even though the new blue uniform was unveiled before Messier came aboard, one couldn’t help but get the feeling that it was designed specifically to accommodate this new reality. Remember what I said about the cognitive dissonance when trying to associate the skate jersey with Nice Things that Other Teams Get? There is one picture of Messier’s first practice – the new uniforms had already been unveiled, but practice jerseys hadn’t yet been produced – and Messier is wearing a black practice jersey with the skate logo, despite orca-branded gloves and pants. This image still boggles my mind, because The Famous Mark Messier in what we still thought of as the Canucks’ only regalia just did not compute.

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This phenomenon is a sort of magic that has more or less disappeared with routine free agency, the salary cap and the number of teams players go to these days. Brett Hull as a Coyote is more amusing than craaaazy in today’s world).

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Oh, it’s already awkward, is it?

And now two celebrated sore points: the captaincy and the #11.

These are two more items about which outrage has been exaggerated with the passage of time, I feel. The Internet still being quite nascent in 1997, not a lot of younger fans knew much about the history of number 11 and Wayne Maki. I had a 1991 Canucks’ yearbook, and remembered that 11 was listed in it as “unofficially retired” or something. When Messier took the number, it was less “How offensive!” and more “Oh, they can do that? Weird! I guess it wasn’t retired”.

On the captaincy, I do imagine Linden offered to turn it over (because that’s his style), but I’m sure he felt plenty of pressure to do so. I also wonder how comfortable he would have been keeping it anyway with Messier on board. But again – I mean I lived in Montreal, I didn’t necessarily have my finger on the Granville Street pulse – but to the extent I could gauge it, I don’t remember a whole lot of true ‘outrage’ among Canuck fans at the time. Maybe some concern that it wouldn’t be good for Linden’s morale or something, but more just curiosity about what was going to happen or views on what ought to happen under The Code. I mean, could anyone really imagine Linden captaining a team that had Mark Messier on it? Even Gretzky deferred his lifelong captaincy when he got to New York. It kind of seemed inevitable.

And to fans like me, fixated on this idea that the Canucks were now finally going to behave like Our Betters, I confess I kind of liked both of these moves. I didn’t want the kinder, gentler, “reissued” edition of Mark Messier where the die-cast metal has been swapped out for plastic – that almost defeats the purpose of getting a big star in the first place. If we were getting Messier, I wanted the famous Messier, the glare, the “presence”, and all he brought.

Mess05

Wait, maybe this sucks

His actual playing time, ironically, I know the least about. Of his three years in Vancouver, I spent two in Montreal and one overseas, so I didn’t actually see him play very much. But like many fans, I turned against him pretty quickly after Quinn was fired, and then predictably Mike Keenan was brought in, and all the long-time faces of the Canucks were shipped out or left (including my favorite player, Jyrki Lumme, which had such an air of inevitability about it during the 1997-98 season.)

There are a lot of parallels to what has gone on under Jim Benning, with this compulsive need to get rid of all the last regime’s tools. When Linden was traded, I taped a commemorative, hand-drawn patch of protest to my intramural hockey jersey (for real!). When Gino Odjick basically threatened Mike Keenan to his face, we all let out a shout of defiant solidarity with him.

Yeah, I wanted to the Canucks to act like Other, Normal Teams, but I wanted them to do it as the Canucks. That is, I wanted the franchise (right down to that cognitive dissonance crest they were no longer wearing) vindicated, not completely replaced by something else entirely. The point was for Messier’s presence to join the Canucks, not replace them. In a way, the team had become “the Orcas” after all – no one had any attachment to Brian Noonan or Enrico Ciccone, and the thought of a “Keenan team” made everyone queasy to begin with. I mean, it’d have been one thing if they were good, obviously, but throughout this transition they were terrible, played goon hockey, and were pretty uninspiring to watch. In 1998, all they got for their suffering and a fourth-overall draft pick was Bryan Allen in a weaker crop.

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Counterpoint: creative destruction?

As mentioned, though, the team was in its natural decline. Messier/Keenan basically forced the rebuild they needed to go through at some point anyway. (Whether a big-name free agent signing is the optimal means of doing this is up for debate… probably a very one-sided one).

The Linden trade turned out to be hugely profitable and is still paying dividends today. Keenan was the only guy willing to make the desperately needed change in goal (although the fact he included Martin Gélinas in that deal seems spiteful… and none of the pieces the Canucks got back lasted the rest of the season).

Keenan/Messier did have their defenders at the time, with a lot of resemblance to the folks who think Mike Gillis did bad things by making the Canucks better than they’ve ever been (at the time this was on Quinn’s résumé too) and Benning is, I guess, “saving” the team by sucking his way into a lot of roster turnover.

If analytics had been a thing back then, the Keenan/Messier apologists would probably also have been the people to dump on them, as they tended to overlap with those who thought “finishing your check” and “sending messages” was important (#MORETOUGHNESS), that the “country club” was the problem, that Messier’s intangibles and Keenan’s iron will would save the team.

These views were (and are) about as evidence-based and hopeful as the people who think the dudes driving around in Jeeps whooping with AK-47s aloft after toppling the government are totally going to lay the new foundation for a new and better society. But undoubtedly some change was still needed before sane people took over.

Conclusion

So why do we hate Messier? Often other fanbases ask this, and often emotions get too stirred to give a proper answer.

I still don’t really think it’s mostly about performance, although I guess all the signs are there that he genuinely didn’t care about anything. So there’s that.

As mentioned, I think the captaincy and #11 things are more heaped on after-the-fact than they were at the time.

The team did need to rebuild, and ultimately this was a pretty successful project, resulting in both the West Coast Express and Sedin-led dynasties. So it wasn’t the mere fact of turnover. I think it’s the way it was done.

Messier and Keenan both had a smug air of superiority about them, like the team was terrible and none of us dumb fans could see it, so they had to take it upon themselves to… bring in their friends? Because that’s kind of all they did. They certainly didn’t make the team better. They didn’t trade for futures or accumulate draft picks or anything more forward-thinking. To an extent the Linden trade was for futures, but Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe were already NHLers, and everything about it seemed to be a case of trying to move Linden just to show the fans who’s boss. As with Gélinas, too, they seemed to deliberately target popular or long-time Canucks in some sort of fire-cleanse because they felt they knew better.

But they really didn’t. It wasn’t a conscious rebuilding strategy so much as a reshaping of the team in their condescending image. In another parallel with Benning, the new blood that eventually led the team to new heights under the Sedins was in spite of their efforts, not because of them. I guess Keenan gets some credit for acquiring Bertuzzi, sure. And being there for the start of Markus Näslund’s ironic blossoming, but there’s pretty much no evidence that that’s what he was trying to do – he would have shipped Näslund out of town if he could. He was more interested in his guys who would rattle boards and gain “respect” or something.

Diagnosis

It was a toxic mixture of condescension, casual disrespect, spite and incompetence that led to some very dark days that the team only weathered thanks to some good fortune. (And one of the reasons a lot of people my age have PTSD with Benning, even though the approach isn’t nearly as deliberate.) And above all, it represented disappointment. Not only did the Brave New World that the Canucks seemed to be inviting in with Messier’s signing never actually materialize, but the opposite occurred – the team, new duds and all, fell on its face, making a mockery of its new standing.

Pat Quinn got fired in a rare mid-season GM change (with a lot of suspicion quickly cast on Messier’s implicit involvement), and then his replacement was a weird committee of Keenan, the unseasoned Steve Tambellini, and former BC Gas chairman Stephen Bellringer for some reason.

Even mindlessly – and expensively – copying the Other Teams like a cargo cult, we got further reminders that we weren’t at the adults’ table after all, and it would be some years before that image was repaired.

Listen to Episode #169 – Mark Messier: Forever A Canuck

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Be sure to follow @Jyrki21 on Twitter as well as his fantastic comic Benning On Empty

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Pucks on merch!

We’ve got a couple pieces of Pucks on net merchandise up on our TeesSpring Store front!

Usually with Teespring products, they are printed in campaigns (example: if 5 shirts are purchased, the shirts will get printed). In this case, we have no set campaign requirements, so if one person buys a shirt or mug, they’ll get printed!

How about a lovely PON mug. Enjoy your morning coffee, or well concealed alcoholic beverage in the work place with the show’s intro on the front of it:

Or the classic PON crow t-shirt. Everybody’s favourite Pucks on net shirt. It’s sharp, it’s simple, and it will leave everyone asking “What the hell is with the bird?”

 

 

And for the Shakespearean and literature enthusiast who listens to the show each week, might we suggest this Puck Sonnet shirt. One day we’re going to write that sonnet! One day!

 

Ryan on Roundhouse Radio (Willie’s Firing)

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Ryan joined Janice and Cory Monday afternoon to talk about Willie Desjardins getting fired and to have a couple laughs!

Click here to listen to his segment.

 

Ryan discusses Willie Desjardins’ firing after three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks has head coach. He also gives a brief history of bad coaching in Vancouver, and just who the Canucks could hire to be the bench boss next season.

A very fun little chat with Janice and Cory on a very big news day for Vancouver sports!

Follow Roundhouse Radio on Twitter and Instagram
Follow Janice and Cory on Twitter and Instagram

Ryan & Paul on Roundhouse Radio

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Ryan and Paul joined Janice and Cory on Roundhouse Radio Monday afternoon to talk about the struggling Vancouver Canucks as a disappointing season wraps up.

Click here to listen to their segment.

They discuss what is next for the team in terms of head coaching and whether the fans will stick around through these dark times.

They also discuss the ongoing game of chicken that is the National Hockey League’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Follow Roundhouse Radio on Twitter and Instagram
Follow Janice and Cory on Twitter and Instagram

 

Pucks on net PUCKS!

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Want to get your hands on one (or three) of these brand new, beautiful Pucks on net pucks? Want to be the coolest dude or lady at your beer league game? Want to weigh down your papers so they stop blowing around every time there’s a breeze? YOU’RE IN LUCK.

We’re selling them for $25!

(Shipping is included)

For Canadian orders, prices are in CAD
For US/International orders, prices are in USD.

PayPal is ideal, we also accept email money transfers (both to pucksonnet@shaw.ca)

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Shoot us an email and lets sell you some pucks!!

Punks on net

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Ryan here,

Since we started doing the podcast in 2013,  I’ve edited and posted the show each week. More importantly, I have been given the responsibility to name each episode. Well, I’m a huge music fan, one would argue I’m a bigger fan of music and loud fast rock and roll more than I am a hockey fan. So every now and then, when I get a chance to make reference to or name a podcast after a band, album or song, I’m generally going to take it.

Below is the growing list of Pucks on net episodes named after or inspired by music. It’s a solid look into some of my favourite bands and artists.

Episode #177 – Ottawa Is Sinking, Karlsson Don’t Wanna Swim
The Tragically Hip – New Orleans Is Sinking (1989)

Episode #176 – Check The O.A.R, You Like It So Far?
Tom Green’s Ottawa based hip hop group Organized Rhyme – Check The O.R.

Episode #167 – Cash Money Karlsson
Birdman’s New Orleans based record label “Cash Money Records”

Episode #165 – Helter Skelter In Montreal
The Beatles – Helter Skelter (1969)

Episode #162 – Brock Boeser & The Spooky Kids
Before he became a solo artist, it was Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids

Episode #160 – City With No Chaput
Arcade Fire – City With No Children

Episode #158 – Into The Great Wide Open – ’17/18 NHL Season Preview
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Into The Great Wide Open

Episode #155 – Boys (and Geeta) Of Summer
Don Henley – Boys Of Summer (1984)
…or The Ataris cover from 2003

Episode #153 – Long Road To Drouin
Foo Fighters – Long Road To Ruin (2007)

Episode #150 – PK’s Cult Of Personality
Living Colour – Cult of Personality (1988)

Episode #148 – Same Ol’ Capitals Situation
Motley Crue – Same Ol’ Situation (1989)

Episode #141 – Drinking In LA
Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In L.A. (1996)

Episode #140 – Heavy Willie D & The Boyz
A nod to new jack band Heavy D & The Boyz

Episode #139 – Deadline And The Dirty Ground
The White Stripes – Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground (2001)

Episode #137 – Heat Of The Moment
Asia – Heat Of The Moment (1982)

Episode #135 – Iggy and the Colorado Stooges
A nod to Detroit rock and roll icons, The Stooges

Episode #133 – Hank’s Land Of 1,000 Points
Wilson Pickett – Land of 1000 Dances

Episode #131 – Red Death At 0:00
The White Stripes – Red Death At 6:14 (2002)

Episode #127 – Oh You Fancy Huh?
Drake – Fancy (Ft. T.I. & Swizz Beatz) – 2010

Episode #125 – Eazy On The E
A general nod to Eazy E

Episode #123 – Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang
Dr. Dre – Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang – 1992 (to celebrate Geeta’s return to the podcast)

Episode #122 – Ain’t No Fun
Snoop Dogg – Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None) – 1993

Episode #121 – What’s The Frequency, Auston?
REM – What’s The Frequency, Kenneth? – 1994

Episode #115 – When The Juolevi Breaks
Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks – 1971

Episode #114 – Sympathy For The Strombo
Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil – 1968

Episode #113 – Heaven Is A Better Place Today, Mr. Howe
Tragically Hip – Heaven Is A Better Place Today – 2004

Episode #112 – Wherever Lucic May Roam
Metallica – Wherever I May Roam – 1991

Episode #111 – It’s Whatcha Want!
Beastie Boys – So Wha Cha Want – 1992

Episode #108 – A Hard Draft Lottery Day’s Night
Beatles – A Hard Days Night – 1964

Episode #106 – Pride (In The Name of Demko)
U2 – Pride (In The Name Of Love) – 1984

Episode #100 – 100 Miles And Runnin’
NWA – 100 Miles And Runnin’ – 1991

Episode #97 – Black Skates And Heartbreak
A nod to Kanye West’s 2008 album 808’s and Heartbreak

Episode #92 – Bowie Horvat And The Spiders From Mars
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust – 1972

Episode #87 – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kyte!
Beatles – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! – 1967

Episode #77 – Hey, Gary, Baby I Got Your Money!
Old Dirty Bastard – Baby I Got Your Money – 1999

Episode #74 – Help Me, Ronda!
Beach Boys – Help Me, Rhonda – 1965

Episode #70 – Appetite For Relocation
A nod to Guns ‘N Roses 1987 Album Appetite For Destruction

Episode #69 – Street Fighting Man
Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man – 1968

Episode #65 – No Sleep Till Playoffs!
Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn – 1986

Episode #63 – Runnin’ With The Spezza
Van Halen – Runnin’With The Devil – 1978

Episode #62 – Exile On Pat Quinn Way
A nod to The Rolling Stone’s 1972 album ‘Exile on Main Street’

Episode #60 – Can’t You Hear Kassian Knocking
Rolling Stones – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – 1971

Episode #58 – Subbans, Subbans, Subbans!
Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls – 1987

Episode #54 – Police & Thieves
The Clash – Police & Thieves – 1977

Episode #26 – Born On The FM Waves
Against Me! – Born On The FM Waves – 2007

Episode #25 – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Clip Show!
A nod to the Sex Pistols 1977 (and only real album) Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’ The Sex Pistols

Episode #20 – Beer Leaguers & Hell Raisers
ZZ Top – Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers – 1973

Episode #17 – Let’s Talk About Torts, Baby!
Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex – 1990

The NEW Pucks on net T-shirt!

O7/14 – Stock update: We have no XL shirts left and less than five of each size (small, medium, large) GET DAT ORDER IN WHEN YO STILL CAN!

We really like putting out podcasts and we really like making t-shirts. Black t-shirts. The ones you wear under your jean jacket at the punk show or the ones you wear on a first date, to show her just how cool you really are. That’s why we’re very excited to announce we have a new shirt for sale.

Unlike the last time, we’re getting these printed locally in Vancouver at Bang On! (fantastic people by the way) to prevent unnecessary middle man fees and crazy shipping prices. We’re shipping these ourselves and want to get shirts around the world at a fair price that everyone can handle… twenty five bucks!

Live in Canada?
$29 ($4 shipping)

Live in USA/International?
$30 USD ($5 shipping)

Want to buy one?
PayPal or Email Money Transfers are the easiest way to do it.
Just send either or to pucksonnet@shaw.ca

We have a limited first run of 50 t-shirts (sizes from Small to Extra Large)

The shirts are American Apparel – 2001 Fine Jersey Short Sleeve T-Shirt. They’re great quality and a fairly regular fitting t-shirt. No slim fit light weight stuff here! Below is the size chart:

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All the best, and stay rad!

-Ryan, Geeta, Dave & P Mac
PON

Conference Final Predictions

DaveCropDave

Western Conference Final
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks – Sharks in 6
Sharks will take it in six because Brian Elliott is wearing Cujo’s gear (which is banned from Stanley Cup Final Competition).
Eastern Conference Final
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning – Penguins in 5
Pens over the ‘Ning because something is clotting…er clogging up Tampa’s ability to score goals. Five games. Quick and dirty.
GeetaCrop

Geeta

Western Conference Final
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks – Sharks in 7
The San Jose Sharks have clearly been in playoff mode for months. Those beards didn’t just sprout yesterday. This team has really gelled together and they will tame those baby faced Blues. Get ready for a real hairy series.
Eastern Conference Final
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning – Penguins in 6
#MVPhil … no other reason
Paulcrop

Paul

Western Conference Final
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks – Sharks in 6
St Jose is way tougher than San Louis in this battle of patron saints.
Eastern Conference Final
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning – Penguins in 7
Pens will take it in seven because Crosby remembered what winning was like. Also no Fleury!
Ryancrop

Ryan

Western Conference Final
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks – Sharks in 6
Jumbo Joe and Patty Marleau need to win to salvage their careers. Nobody likes anbody on the Blues. Who the hell is Robby Fabbri anyways?!
Eastern Conference Final
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning – Penguins in 6
Pittsburgh will win because they’re a well oiled machine and ten minutes after the series is over, Stamkos will tell the press he’s not resigning in Tampa…

Second Round Predictions

The second round of the playoffs are here and all those teams we picked in the first round are gone. The Rangers? Gone! The Ducks?! GONE! The Blackhawks?! They’re gone too?! What the hell happened in the first round?! At least those Stanley Cup favourite Los Angeles Kings are still here…right!?
Will Ovechkin finally overcome that pesky Sidney Crosby? What about Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators, can they beat all those guys in San Jose who used to have ‘C’s on their sweaters? And can the Real Johnny Hockey, John Tavares overcome Camp Moneyball down in Tampa?

Here’s our picks and predictions for the 2nd round:

Paulcrop

Paul

Western Conference Semi-Final
Dallas Stars vs St. Louis Blues – Stars in 7

Jamie Benn may be selfish, but he knows what to do when he gets the puck. Also Spezza is doing a nice job filling in for Seguin.

Western Conference Semi-Final
San Jose Sharks vs Nashville Predators – Sharks in 7

Rinne could win the series for the Preds, but the Sharks seem to have hit their stride at the right time. Jumbo Joe seems like he’s ready to do whatever it takes to get Little Joe a 4 goal game.

Eastern Conference Semi-Final
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders – Lightning in 7

This one is totally ready to come back and bite me, but as nice as he is, and as good as his playoff numbers have been, how can I pick a team backed by Thomas Greiss in net???

Eastern Conference Semi-Final
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Caps in 7
The Capitals are the 2011 Canucks, built to dominate in the regular season, and then lose in a heartbreaking SCF game 7. Except they have Justin Williams.

Ryancrop

Ryan

Western Conference Semi-Final
Dallas Stars vs St. Louis Blues – Stars in 6
I know one thing in life, never trust the St. Louis Blues. They’re boring as hell and always let their fans down. Regardless of the Blues being the better and bigger team, I must pick with my heart.
Even with Dumb and Dumber in net for Dallas, I gotta pick them!

Western Conference Semi-Final
San Jose Sharks vs Nashville Predators – Sharks in 6

The San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators are both really big teams. But the Sharks can out score them. The only way this series goes in Nashville’s favour is it Rinne allows zero goals and Shea Weber injures all the Sharks with slap shots from the point.  

Eastern Conference Semi-Final
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders – Islanders in 6

If you listen to the podcast, you’re aware of my general disdain for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s time for John Tavares to get his time in the spotlight. Playing on the Islanders all these years makes him fairly forgettable in the highlight packs on Sportscentre. He needs this run. Travis Hamonic will have a spectacular playoff run and a western Canadian team will trade the farm for him. EVERYBODY WINS!

Eastern Conference Semi-Final
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins – Penguins in 7
Do I want to see the Capitals win? Yes. Do I want to see Ovi finally make it to the 3rd round? Yes. But will they? Probably not. All the pressure is on the Capitals shoulders. If the Penguins keep scoring goals and one of their 3rd stringers play half decent, the Pens could take this. My pick is based solely on a hunch and personal belief that the Capitals will crumble under all the hype of their supposed Cup run and all the Caps’ playoff struggles of the past.

I also put the Penguins would win in game 7…it’ll probably be a 6-5 game with Justin williams scoring all 5 goals for Washington…mr. Game 7 and all!

House of Pigs – Deadline 2016

“I’m going to go there and do my best and make the playoffs and win that Cup, so I can bring it down here to Edmonton — because that’s where my heart is.”

We make fun of Ryan Smyth blubbering like a baby during this press conference on a very regular basis on the podcast. But at the end of the day, this is exactly what you want from a player on your team. Somebody who loves his team through and through, doesn’t want to leave, but realizes he needs to do what is best them.

Ryan Smyth is probably the perfect example of the ideal team player. In 2007, he was dealt to the Islanders from the team he loved growing up. Tucking in his jersey like Wayne Gretzky and sporting his signature Jofa helmet whenever able to, it’s pretty obvious he didn’t want to play anywhere else. He wanted to be an Oiler, win a Cup as an Oiler and likely retire as an Oiler. But it didn’t happen that way. He was traded. Life went on. He bounced around the NHL in a migration pattern similar to Trevor Linden between stints with the Canucks before finally returning to Edmonton. It’s, in my eyes, the right thing to do if you love who you work for. Do what’s best for the organization.

Joe Thornton on the other hand…

It’s been widely speculated and reported that he might not like being a Shark just as much as he loves living in San Jose. Joe’s refused to waive his no traded clause multiple times over the years because, well, he likes that California lifestyle, which is fine. But you’re not doing what’s best for the team. In his time in San Jose, Joe’s heart, effort and desire have all been questioned. His lack of playoff production is a punch line on its own. It’s caused the Sharks to be in a weird state of limbo, 2nd round exits and removing the captaincy from both Jumbo Joe and Peppermint Patty Marleau. Unlike Ryan Smyth, Joe had a no trade clause and opted to use it. And unlike Ryan Smyth, he didn’t want what was best for the team.

Dan Hamhuis falls somewhere in the middle of these two players.

Did Dan Hamhuis do what was best for his team? Absolutely not. The claim is right now that he gave Canucks’ management two teams he would be willing to waive his NTC for, Chicago and Dallas, which really handcuffed Jim Benning. With Chicago’s salary cap hustle and smoke and mirrors, it’s almost impossible to think they could maneuver Hamhuis on the team without sending some money pit like Bryan Bickell back to Vancouver. And imagine if he was included in the trade? With the Blackhawks’ minimal picks and weak assets already, the fan outrage for the return of Dan Hamhuis would be much worse than it was yesterday.  Luckily the attention span of your average apathetic Vancouver Canucks fan is 3.5 hours. With an appropriately timed noon Pacific Time trade deadline, people were all too tired of raging by the end of the work day that Monday.

Dan Hamhuis was only going to go to Dallas. A deal was worked out. A deal fell through. We don’t know how or why it fell through, but it did. Could Benning have worked out a better deal with another Cup contender in the east or a dreaded California team? Oh it’s very likely. But he didn’t because Dan didn’t want to go.

He’s very vocal about his love for the Canucks and living in Vancouver. It seems to be a solid mix of the Thornton and Smyth situations. On one hand, Hamhuis really likes playing for the Canucks. After the deadline, he spoke about wanting to return to play here, mold young players and continue to be an asset to the team and it’s razor thin blue line. But on the other hand, he also REALLY likes Vancouver. Similar to Jumbo Joe, he just didn’t want to leave.

But this desire to stay put or only go to Dallas really wasn’t what was best for the Canucks, a team in that “shhh, don’t call it a rebuild” phase. They could have received a pick, a prospect or something along those lines for Dan’s services for a couple months. But it didn’t happen. One would argue that constantly mentioning his desires for an Antoine Vermette situation (win Stanley Cup as a rental, return to old team on July 1st) really weakened his value on the ice cold trade market. Did he do this intentionally, to keep himself in Vancouver?

Regardless, you can’t vilify Hamhuis. He loves the Canucks, loves Vancouver and wants to be here for the long haul. The same which cannot be said for Ryan Kesler, who is likely the most hated visiting player in Rogers Arena these days. We all dislike Ryan Kesler for not wanting to be a Canuck and not wanting to play in Vancouver, so how should we feel about Dan Hamhuis? He wants the exact opposite. We should admire and praise him for this.

But are we?

What’s more valuable to the average Canucks fan? A player who wants to stick with your club and win with your club? A player who, if he resigns in the summer, could be an incredibly valuable part of the defence core for the next few years? Or a second round Dallas pick?

Hmmm. 59th overall…

 

-Ryan
@schaaptop