Because we are all nice polite Canadians around here, and we have four days until game day, I thought it would help you all out with a quick little primer on the players you will get to know, and the city you will try to hate for a couple weeks.
Just remember, some of us old buggers around here were huge Bruin fans too. You had to pick one of only a few teams before we got ours, and some of us just couldn't cheer the Leafs or Habs.
Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito were pretty cool, as was Gerry Cheevers. So sue us. We all bleed Blue and Green now though! Enjoy remembering that '72 goal guys! It will have to sustain you one more year at least. Sorry about that. Enjoy the city, visit the tourist places if you come with the team. Yes, it is nice. No, it does not always rain...
First up, enjoy the beautiful vistas, even if only through the television. Its the reason we live here too. Yes, there are some hippies and ex hippies. Casual marijuana law enforcement, and bike lanes downtown. That is how we roll. If it helps, there are just as many folks on the other side of those archtypes. Left and Right together, it works somehow. We just all hold hands and sing Kumbayeh first. No Fox News ( yet ) helps...
Here we go ; (complete list of nicknames here)
#1 - The goaltender Roberto Luongo. Very good goaltender that does not play nearly the heart palpitating style of likely Vezina winner Tim Thomas. Get's in position a lot, but is just like TimmaH in that he also never gives up on a play. The thinnest of margins statistically between the two goalies. Tim and Lui are tied in GAA at 2.29, and Tim has a .929% over Lui's .922%. Lui has surrendered 41 goals to Tim's 43. We also say LUUUUUUU every time he makes a save. I hope that does not get confusing with Milan Lucic. Fave matchup of the playoffs is the goalies for me. If you are a fan of the stoppers, this series should be the one for you.
AKA - Bobby Lou,Lui,LUUUUUUU, LuonGod, or, that f***ing 10 mil $$$ goalie that could not stop THAT? ( less this last one lately. )
#14 - Fans of other teams are going to tell you to hate Alexandre Burrows. Chicago fans in particular will regale you with tales in the coming weeks. Just know that most of it is true, but that is the out of date model. He has been mostly a good boy this year. Honest! Still a great story. The ECHLer and one time World Ball Hockey Gold Medallist who went through the ranks to becoming a guy that has scored 61 goals playing with the Sedin Twins the past two season. You will love to hate this guy by the end. You'll also wish he was on your team. Mainly because he tends to do things like this in big games.
AKA - Burr', Alex MF ( M*****F***ing ) Burrows. AMFB, Mr Everything, and one half of The Terror Twins with this guy...
#17 - Ryan Kesler. You probably already know about him if you are a USA hockey fan. One of the best on the 2010 USA Hockey team. David Krejci will get to know the likely 2011 Selke Trophy winner very well. Quickly has won over even Hawk fans with his all out effort, talent, will and skill. Even more so in the playoffs ( in on 11 of the 14 goals scored in the Nashville series ), he has 17 points. It will be interesting if Claude Julien tries to avoid that matchup for the Twins. We get pretty happy about this guy. It has something to do with being hurt and scoring last minute goals like it aint no thing. Did this in last series while hurt. Fine now though, sorry. Blame Bettman.
AKA - kesLORD ( serious, there's a shirt and everything ), Kes. The American, other half of the Terror Twins.
#22 & #33 - Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin. 2011 Art Ross winner and his 2010 Art Ross twin brother. Hank is the older by 8 minutes. Daniel is an inch shorter at 6'1". Henrik a lb. heavier at 188. Henrik is older by 8 minutes and won the Hart Trophy last year, so we made him captain. His hotheaded brother responded by getting nominated for the Hart this year and the above mentioned scoring title. What you need to know is that if you are a fan of hockey for the sheer how in the ??? did he do that artistry of it, you are in for a treat. Sorry, seem to bounce right back from being hit most the time. Zdeno Chara will get to know these guys very well in the next while.
AKA - Dank, Hank, Captain Hank. Wizardous Sedinery. Other fans usually go for the passe Sisters. Or Thing One and Thing Two. Frick and Frack. Usually come around to wishing they were on your team after seeing this kind of stuff . ( I think it was 22 passes, and no opposing player touched the puck for 50 seconds. No, it was not a power play ).
#3 - Kevin Bieksa and #2 Dan Hamhuis. Currently the #1 pairing. Bieksa scored 4 goals in the San Jose series, including the clincher in O/T ( this one is less luck and more skill ). Fights and though plus/minus is a faulty stat sometimes, trails Big Z ( +11 for Zdeno, +10 for Bieksa ) in that stat. Then there is the quiet yet effective Hamhuis. He is that guy that makes the smart play all the time. He is often lauded ( rightly ) for his many charitable activities. Hard to hate on this guy. Hate on Bieksa all you want. I think he likes it.
AKA - Juice , and Hammer. Juicy Hammer as a duo. Stop and watch every time you hear the name Bieksa in the post game interviews. He gives great soundbyte.
There are others. You will grow to hate I am sure. The third line features #40 Maxim Lapierre, who I am sure you already know from his work with Les Habitants. Still has the smug and annoying smirk, but does not yap any more. Much. Leads the team with 63 hits. ( Bieksa at 62, Kesler 56, Edler 55, Higgins 48 before getting to Lucic at 43 ). Fello ex Hab #20 Chris Higgins. I hear he is a Yankee fan, so you can just hate the guy right there!
#36 Jannik Hansen. 287th player taken in 2004 (9th round) , and probably the most un-Scandanavian style of player ( Danish ) you ever will see. We call him Beaker. He is very fast. #21 Mason Raymond is even faster. Don't know about you, but that is, in my opinion, the biggest advantage for the President's trophy winners against the Bruins. Speed kills.
There is 36 year old #6 Sami Salo, he of 40 injuries over his career. Easy to make fun of there. Some to amuse you in that list include a pulled ass muscle, a snake bite on a golf course in Finland, as well as playing against Chicago last year with a ruptured testicle. Yes. Owww. Hence, Sami is sometimes called The Undead, Fragile Fin. He is also called the Finnish MacInnis for obvious reasons. Well, obvious when you see his shot, anyhow.
A German defensive we will accuse of being drunk when he makes a mistake, #5, Christian Ehrhoff. It is totally tolerated for the fact he leads the blue line with 2 goals and 11 points. ( Bieksa 5 goals and 9 pts, Edler 2 goals and 9 pts. ) It does not mean we love Baywatch when you see pix of David Hasselhoff! Blastoff as well as The Hoff. #23 Alexander Edler. probably the best young defenseman you never heard of. #4 Keith Ballard, or "Hips" as he is known here. Watch this for why. If he does not even get in the deep blue line, it means that #29 Aaron Rome is in, in all likelihood. We will often debate this incessantly on game day. Just a thing we do. Both are good in their own way though. Hell, even the rookie, #18 Chris Tanev, is good. Might be another area the Canucks have an advantage, depth on the back end.
There is a highly touted rookie like Taylor Seguin, #39 Cody Hodgson. Our rookie gets about 5 minutes or less a night though, so you'll have to look hard for him. #13 Raffi Torres is a human bowling ball. Bruins fans will look at his list of guys hurt ( knocked Seabrook out of round 1 for a few games, and that separated shoulder Jumbo Joe got last series was from a big hit from Raffi.) If he scores, don't be frightened by the pictures of a certain children's singing star. You also might enjoy, if you watch on CBC how Craig Simpson feels about our team. Just watching the Seabrook hit clip will give you an indication! But the play by play guy Jim Hughson lives here, so I guess they needed to offset his perceived homerism!
There might be a guy that the media will follow pretty closely in this series, or not. #27 Manny Malhotra was a definite Selke candidate ( 2nd in F/O% in the NHL, led the league in defensive starts I believe ) before an ugly eye injury. Currently may or not play. We call him Money because he is so clutch. I imagine even Bruins fans will be inspired by his return if and when it happens. Sorry to you if he does. He is a top defensive forward, and the inspirational boost of that kind or return...well, you know how that is.
Hope that helps. Feel free to ask away. The hatred will come once the games start, I imagine. For now, we can debate who is the better defensive team, or if the power play of the Bruins is their Achille's heel. Those that mention the Big Bad Bruins should also remember that the teams have played the same amount of games, and the Canucks have 596 hits to the Bruins 445. Everyone finishes their checks.
Don't know about you guys, but two teams that like to play physical, score lots of goals ( Vancouver was 1st in reg season at 258 to the 5th Bruins at 244, but the Bruins have 58 tallies in the playoffs to the Canucks having scored 50), have kick ass power plays ( OK, that is just us, the Canucks lead the playoffs with 28.4%, the Bruins are at 8.2%... but you have Kaberle to help with that right!?) and solid penalty killing...