A Different Approach to Watching Hockey

Let’s be honest, with the way the Vancouver Canucks season has been going in different ebbs and flows, it could be really easy to get stuck in an endless spin of negativity. I see that negativity coming across social media platforms from fans and media alike. It’s no secret if you follow my blog or my social media accounts that I take a slightly different approach when it comes to watching hockey and my team.

I know that it probably sounds odd to many Canucks fans and hockey fans in general but I will always try to take a positive approach to watching the team or any hockey game regardless of how a game or season ends. My love of the game goes beyond the wins and losses record. Every season has ups and downs, some years have more struggles than others, but that doesn’t mean I will stop supporting my team or enjoying the game. There’s enough negativity out there and I will not allow it to change my enjoyment of the game or affect my support of the team.

Am I aware of the ever constant rumours surrounding the Canucks? Yes. Do I know that a lot of people are calling for Willie Desjardins to be let go and the need for a replacement to step in? Yes. Am I aware that the Sedins are getting older? Yes. Am I aware that the team has to allow younger players like Bo Horvat and Ben Hutton to play more? Yes. In fact, I have heard it all and there is not one rumour, negative statistic or insult about MY team that I haven’t heard and none that will make me waver my support for them or my love of the game.

Am I aware of the slew of the injuries that have hit the team already? Yes. Do I know that the odds of the Vancouver Canucks being the playoffs this season according to the “experts” are incredibly low? Yes, and you know what? I accept that but the odds don’t really matter to me, the odds don’t change when I will watch the team. I will watch every single win, loss, disaster, and triumph of the season in it’s entirety whether it ends in mid-April or late June every single year.

Would I love to see my team go all the way and win that elusive 16th post-season game? Absolutely, more than anything, that would be a dream come true. When that day does finally come, I will be celebrating along with all of my fellow Canucks fans. And until that day comes, I will be supporting the team every step of the way that will eventually lead to that path even if we cannot see the outcome just yet. And yes, I know that there may be a number of years before that day comes but no matter how long it takes to get there, I will be on the sidelines supporting my Vancouver Canucks for the entirety of the journey and long after.

Lastly, am I aware that this approach to watching the game and this team is not for everyone? Yes and that’s okay, everyone is allowed their own approach to watching their team and sport that is best for them. Personally, I used to get bogged down by the negativity and for a while it took away why I loved the game and it became a burden to carry. I had to make the decision for my mental health to find a way that saw past the negativity, let it go, and saw the magic that is simply hockey at its core. My approach is allowing myself to see that despite what the odds or statistics say, there are still positives to this team and this game will always be magic. So, yes while it may seem odd to many, I will always look beyond the numbers that make up the team, the game and the season for what defines my love of hockey.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

To Whom It May Concern…

To whom it may concern,

Recently when I was attending a Vancouver Canucks game I had an experience that both frustrated and slightly rattled me as a hockey fan that happens to be a female.

Apparently I needed to be informed that I was at a hockey game and be told when and how to cheer for MY team by an opposing team’s fan. Yep, because apparently being at the game with my sister geared out in our Canucks gear meant we had no clue where we were or how to cheer for OUR team. Apparently being a female fan to this particular individual meant that we had no idea about the ins and outs of the game. The presumption being that we were only there to look at the players on the ice. Instead of being allowed to enjoy the game, it felt like I was being judged the entire time for everything I said or did for the duration of the game.

1617game2Yes it is true that I am a woman and I was at a hockey game. Yes, it is true that I am a woman and enjoy sports, especially hockey. Yes, it is true that I actually do know a little about the game and do not need the game explained to me. And while I do love learning new things about the game that does not mean I need a person to “dumb it down” or talk to me in condescending tones about the game. The truth is I have been a fan of this game since I was 17 and have spent a long time learning as much about it as possible about not just my team but the other 29 teams in the NHL, and minor leagues too. Truthfully, I love talking about the game at every level with other fans, truly I do. What I do not enjoy is being talked down to and belittled.

And yes, it is true that sometimes when I admit how much I love this game that I get given looks of derision that I cannot possibly comprehend what it is I am talking about. When it is confirmed that I do know the sport, these individuals then treat me as though they still don’t trust me even if what I am saying is true and attack my loyalty to my team or why I love this game. Truthfully these experiences leave me feeling as though perhaps I do not deserve to enjoy this incredible sport and then I remember the incredible these individuals who make female fans feel this unwelcome DO NOT represent the entirety of the hockey community.

And to those of you who have had similar experiences, I want you to know that you are not alone. Perhaps it has also happened more then once to you but let’s not allow these moments to take away the game we love from us. We should all be allowed to enjoy the game we love without having to feel as though we are being judged or to feel bad when we do. Hockey is more than just a game, it is a community that most of the time is very welcoming and hopefully one day some will no longer judge others.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

World Cup Here We Come…

It’s true that the World Cup of Hockey does not have the same hype as the Olympics but it will feature some incredible hockey by some of the world’s best players. The pre-tournament games have come to a close and the competition is set to begin when the puck drops in Toronto on Saturday, September 17.wch2016-1

An international hockey tournament that means watching hockey a few weeks earlier than usual? Sign me up! If the tune up games were any indication, we are in for some great hockey no matter who ends up winning the event. Will you be joining fans from around the world as the games begin?

Eight teams: Canada, United States of America, North America, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Europe. Much like the Olympics, World Juniors, and World Championships; teammates become rivals and rivals become teammates. Each team will face it’s own pressure in the competition.

Team Canada has the weight of an entire country on its back to win a championship on Canadian soil once more. Canada may a favourite in the tournament and have incredible depth on their roster but they will need to play disciplined if they want to win on home ice.

Team USA would love to steal Canada’s thunder on Canadian soil. Lots of talent on the USA roster that under John Tortorella’s coaching will put an aggressive effort every night. The USA is a team not to be taken lightly as they go into the tournament as one of the major contenders.

Team Russia has the pressure of winning after missing out on hockey medals at each of the previous two Olympics. With players like Ovechkin and Malkin at their helm, Russia will aim to get back on top of the hockey world.

Team Sweden has the pressure winning another international championship.Will the Sedins and Eriksson be able to continue shaping their line chemistry? Will Henrik Lundqvist find his form or will another goalie emerge as Sweden’s star?

Team Finland though no longer having Teemu Selanne on their roster, but they do have the young Patrick Laine. Finland is still a team to never be counted out, they are feisty and always have fight left until the end.

Team North America may be comprised of a youthful roster, but they are team that will put the pressure on every team they face and could just surprise everyone. They should not be overlooked. Question: if they do go on to win, would both Canadian and USA hockey fans be happy to share the victory?)

Team Europe is a team that may be overlooked by many as a contender in this format but once the tournament begins, anything can happen.

Team Czech Republic is always up for a good challenge and the same will true going in to the World Cup games.

When the puck drops, who will you be rooting for when the puck drops on September 17th? Leave a comment below to cheer on your team!

Tournament Games Schedule:

September 17: Team USA vs. Team Europe.// Team Czech Republic vs. Team Canada.

September 18: Team Sweden vs. Team Russia.// Team North America vs. Team Finland.

September 19: Team Europe vs. Team Czech Republic.// Team Russia vs. Team North America.

September 20: Team Finland vs. Team Sweden. // Team Canada vs. Team USA.

September 21: Team North America vs. Team Sweden. // Team Europe vs. Team Canada.

September 22: Team Finland vs. Team Russia. // Team USA vs. Team Czech Republic.

SEMIFINALS (Single Elimination Games):

September 24: Semifinal #1

September 25: Semifinal #2.

FINALS (Best of Three):

September 27: Game #1.

September 29: Game #2.

October 1: *Game #3. (*if necessary)

Hockey is BACK and it feels GOOD. Here’s to an exciting few weeks of hockey before the NHL gears into full swing come October!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

 

 

Great (Low) Expectations?

54 games down, 28 games remaining and expectations: low.

It is no secret that the Vancouver Canucks have A LOT of work cut out for them if they would like to be playoff bound come April. So, yes perhaps the expectations for the Canucks are incredibly low moving towards the finish line of the 2015-16 season but perhaps that’s for the best. Low expectations leave little room for disappointment and instead leave open the opportunity to enjoy every moment as it comes.

I’ve never been a huge believer that everything comes down to the odds. Yes, the odds are factors that will and do influence parts of a season but they do not tell the entire story. If you were to ask any of the experts right now, if they thought the Canucks had a chance for the playoffs, most would say not even close.

28 games remain on the regular season schedule. 28 chances to change their fate to that of which many do not think possible. 28 opportunities to make the unpredictable possible. How they play these final 28 games will be up to them every time they step on the ice for a shift. Perhaps they can use their recent road trip success with their mothers in attendance as their inspiration for these final 28 games.

54 games down, 28 games to go and expectations low. Anything can happen, are you ready for whatever that might be? Here’s to wherever these final 28 games lead the Canucks down the final stretch drive of the season!

Fun fact: Did you know that after playing in his 1140th NHL game in Arizona on February 10, Henrik Sedin has tied Trevor Linden for most games played in a Canucks uniform. He will become the all-time leader in games played for the franchise on February 13 when the Canucks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. If you ask me, that sounds like the PERFECT evening for Sedinery to be on display.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

What are the Odds?

WeAreAllCanucksIt has been a while since my last post, but guess who’s back? Yep, you got it, ME.

This post goes out to all Canucks fans,

We all share a common bond, a passion for the game and a passion for this team. We are a passionate bunch, no matter if we are new fans, or if we have been fans for many years. We have seen it all from terrible seasons to near perfect seasons that were ONE game from perfection and everything in between. We feel the anticipation of every game, every goal, and every save. We feel the excitement from every win and the disappointment from every loss. In the span of one season or even within one game we can go from absolutely heartbroken to overjoyed and vice versa dependent on the outcome. We feel every emotion good or bad that comes with being a hockey fan and we would not want it any other way.

This season is one that has been far from perfect thus far but it also has not been as bad as some have suggested. According to some, the Canucks should pack it in now and go for the TANK in order to acquire a high draft pick come June. Why would anyone encourage their team to NOT play their best regardless of how the season might end? Why not hope for the best for each game rather than expect the worst? Should they strive to be the worst or is it better for them to thrive to be their best despite what the outsiders say? No one said the 82-game journey would be an easy one or a fun one all the time. It’s a battle from start to finish with 29 other teams all vying for the same thing. The odds are that despite all the predictions made one way or another, some will be proven right and some will be proven wrong. Why not enjoy every step of the journey, wherever it leads despite the odds?

Odds are a funny thing that most often are unpredictable, no matter how much math becomes involved. Every season all the experts, bloggers, stats gatherers, and fans calculate the odds that their favourite team and players will have a good or bad season. Sometimes the odds are easy to predict. Star players will put on a show and other star players will struggle before finding their groove. Predicting where a team will finish based on prior performance should be simple enough BUT when every team in one division struggles out of the gate, it changes the odds game. Look at the how Pacific Division was dominated in every way by Anaheim last season and YET this season that is not the case. Every team in the Pacific has struggled at various points this season with only ONE team(LA) having a positive goal differential at the midway mark of the season.

Lots of hockey remains to be played and the divisional standings are anyone’s guess for how they will look at season’s end in the Pacific. Toss the odds out the window and hold on folks, we are in for a wild ride to the finish whether you are rooting for a tank or a triumph…things are about to get interesting as the trade deadline looms around the bend. Are you ready?

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Nov-SEDINERY-ember.

The Sedins are old. The Sedins play making days are long behind them. The Sedins are on the cusp of the end of their respective careers. The Sedins should pack it in and retire or request a trade out of Vancouver. Canucks fans have heard it all. Maybe some of them even started to believe it to be true that this is the beginning of the end and maybe it is exactly that. Maybe these are the twilight years of their respective careers, but who says they have to take the decline route? The Sedins may be thirty-five but that does not mean they are finished.

Sure, November was not exactly the most memorable month for the Vancouver Canucks in the win column, BUT Sedinery had it’s mark in nearly every game. The twins put on a showcase all month long, amassing a combined thirty-five points over fourteen games.

Henrik: 6 goals, 11 assists (17 points)

Daniel: 8 goals, 10 assists (18 points)

Here’s a few examples of the artistry that was November Sedinery:

Some kind of pass from Daniel to set up Hansen:

Just when you thought the Blackhawks were going to break our hearts on home ice, the twins took over the game, scoring the first of three late insurance goals:

Game tying goal versus Torts:

Or back to the Chicago game…when Daniel notched his 900th career point as he set up his brother for the first tying goal of the game:

Nov-Sedinery-ember was fun to witness and gave rise to hope that the twins are not done yet. Thirty-five years old and they still continue to take the hockey world by surprise. They may be approaching the tail end of their careers but they are doing so in style and and adding to their one day legendary status. The day will come when the Sedins decide to hang up their skates and Canucks fans will never be the same having witnessed the entire career of two incredibly uniquely gifted players. For now, I say, let’s enjoy every moment of Sedinery that was, and is yet to be.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

 

Canucks’ 2015 Hock-tober

The kids are ALRIGHT! Last year it was Bo Horvat winning over the team and fans…this year it’s Jake Virtanen and Jared McCann.  It is officially official as the Vancouver Canucks have announced that BOTH Virtanen and McCann have made the team and will not being going back to junior.  Welcome to the NHL, boys!

VirtsMcCannMcCann we dig it, Canucks fans? Yes, yes we can.

October has come and gone and with it the Vancouver Canucks have eleven games in the book with seventy-one more to go. Let’s take a closer look at the October that was for first month of the team’s 2015-16 season.

The Canucks closed out October with a respectable 5-2-4 record and fourteen points. Through eleven games, we have seen a little bit of everything: from three rookies continuing to impress to a few third period collapses to beating the best team in the league on home ice to Miller playing with an edge and enduring just TWO regulation losses.

Infuse the lineup with youth they said. Let the kids play they said. Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and Ben Hutton showed up to training camp with one aim in mind: make the Canucks roster out of camp and maintain that spot. All three have accomplished that goal. Jake Virtanen leads the team in hits and starting to find his offensive stride, Jared McCann leads the team in goals with five and Ben Hutton is dependable in just about every area of the ice. Sure there have been some growing pains through the games they have all played, but the positives have more than outweighed the negatives proving that there is so much more to come from these three rookies over time.

Ryan Miller is not good enough some said. Ryan Miller is too old and too expensive many others said. Ryan Miller would need to be better than last year, they all said. Through ten games, though yes he has let in a bad goal or two, most nights he has been one of the Canucks best players on the ice.  Miller is boasting some impressive numbers through ten games: a 2.16 goals against average, one shutout and a 0.923 save percentage. He’s been playing with a edge that gives the team a chance to win every game.

Perhaps the most frustrating stat of the season is the fact that it took 6 games on home ice before the Canucks got their first victory in Vancouver. Or the multiple third period leads that ended up as overtime losses. The overtime losses were not ideal BUT the team still picked up points in those games and every single point counts when the team’s aim is to be playoff bound. Impressively, the team has lost just twice in regulation. Perhaps their most impressive games have been against the California teams on the road AND that first victory at home when they took on the league’s top team, Montreal. Another impressive stat through eleven games? The team has a 90% penalty kill success rate and 20% powerplay success rate.

Are there things they can improve on in the remaining 71 games? Absolutely, no matter how well a team is or is not playing, there are always ways for them to keep improving. The Canucks have their work cut out for them if they want to be playoff bound come April, but they are off to a respectable start towards that goal. Next up the Canucks will battle the state of Pennsylvania as they face-off against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh on home ice. Here’s to two strong games before the team is back on the road for 7 straight games!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.