Who remembers NHL 94? Stupid question, because EVERYONE who has ever played a title from EA has, if you haven't then you are worse than Satan himself. I played the shit out of that game, in fact I fucking mastered that game; I would helplessly crush the opposition 50, 60, shit even 70-0. Yep. I was good. I was so good that no one would play the game with me. I was a fearless, heartless NHL 94 master who could beat anyone…just as long as they had their goalie pulled and were blind, deaf or dumb. Yeah…I should have explained that first. But I still had fun! In fact, I actually chose video game hockey over real hockey when I was nine years old. NHL 94 is one of the greatest hockey games ever made. It gave me countless hours of fun and entertainment, caused me to get behind on so much school work and made me a shut in for one whole summer. Yep, NHL 94 is one of those games that just kind of always stood the test of time. So, with the 20 year anniversary of this bad-boy it got me to thinking – how do the 1994 Vancouver Canucks stack up to the Vancouver Canucks about to hit the ice in 2013-2014season?
The 1994 Vancouver Canucks were a special kind of team that had a guy named Jose Charbonneau, who may or may not have played or even existed. I don’t know. But they were one win away from winning it all. They had a great mix of skill, grit and a level of determination that you just don’t really see too often in a team that loses the Stanley Cup. That team and its magical run is something that every Canucks fan who was over the age of 8 will remember forever.
So how does that team, a team that had a 60 goal scorer, two defensemen with 55+ points (apiece!) and a goalie who stole away more games than anyone can count stack up too, or even compare to this Vancouver Canucks team? This team in 2013-14 that is desperately seeking the franchise’s first Stanley Cup under a new coach, a new system, a goalie that up until June thought he was as good as traded? Well, the parallel I draw is the underdog parallel.
While it may seem foolish to label the Canucks as underdogs, this is a team whose core players were one game away from winning it all and have been removed from the post season in the first round two years in a row. They come into the year themselves, expecting to succeed, but how many out there really think they will? I think that same sentiment can be shared for the 1994 Canucks. A team that barely finished above .500, yet made the playoffs and were just one game away from glory.
The other comparison I will make is that both teams had a rather dependable core group of players. Players like Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning, Geoff Courtnall and Jeff Brown can be thought of as players like Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Kevin Bieksa; these players who played their best hockey with the Canucks, and were, or are the foundations of the team. Now before you rip my head off and take up dump down my neck I want to say that I’m not saying the Twins ARE Bure and Kesler is Linden 2.0, but rather those players from 94, as long as they were here were depended on to get the job done, much like the Twins and Kesler are now.
I think we as completely irrational Canucks fans could sit and compare players from 94 to present day until we’re blue in the face. Shit, this Dalpe could be the next Jose Charbanneau, right? Who knows? Brad Richardson could be a little Murray Craven and Alex Burrows a modern day Greg Adams. The point I’m making is that both teams had their success; the 94 team did it with the above mentioned core, now it’s time for the 2013-14 version of the Vancouver Canucks with their core to get it done.
Thanks for reading.