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Pick The Rival: The Pacific Division

Mattingly, shave those sideburns hippie!
Mattingly, shave those sideburns hippie!

With no hockey for a few days, let's pick up our rival thread from the offseason. If you don't recall, we're going division by division to figure out who the Canucks rival is in each and why. Or maybe you don't need a reason and it's just blind hatred. Hey, no need to get overly scientific about it. Check out the Northeast, Atlantic and Southeast selections.

Today we'll take a crack at our first western conference division. The Pacific division has given Vancouver fans such memorable moments as the first franchise loss, games in Japan, more reasons to love watching Pavel Bure and some NHL 94 sprinkled in.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks

Franchise Record: 68GP, 34W, 23L, 9T, 2OTL, 79pts

The Ducks and Canucks are no strangers at the trade table. In 1996 Vancouver landed Mike Sillinger in exchange for Roman Oksiuta (c'mon, that's a great name). Sillinger played just one season before being traded to the Flyers. In 1999 the teams tried to make a deal work with the late Peter Zezel going to Anaheim but it was nullified because he refused to report (stay classy Burkie). In 2006 Anaheim sent Keith Carney and Juha Alen (who never saw a NHL game) at the deadline in exchange for Brett Skinner and a 2nd round pick in the 2006 Entry Draft. Carney played 18 games for Vancouver before moving to Minnesota. This past September he accepted a Vancouver camp invite before retiring for a second time. And lastly in 2007 Vancouver picked up Ryan Shannon and a conditional pick from Anaheim for Jason King and a conditional pick. Shannon was moved to Ottawa for Lawrence Nycholet (and we all cry a little bit inside) and King played four games for the Ducks before moving to the German Elite League (we'll always remember the mattress line).

In 45 games played over the past decade (playoffs included), Vancouver is 19-18-1-1 against the Ducks with seven ties. Last year each team scored 19 goals in four contests against the other team's netminder. In more recent times Anaheim brought the hammer of hurt to Vancouver in the 2007 playoffs, dispatching the Canucks in five games. Though it should be noted three of those games went into overtime, Luongo had some bathroom issues and Rob Niedermayer is the biggest asshole in the Northern hemisphere.

Fun fact: In 1997 these teams opened the season playing two games at Yoyogi Arena in Tokyo, Japan. The two split the games by a score of 3-2 in each game. It marked the first NHL game in history to be played outside N. America. Scott Walker becomes the first player to score a NHL regular season goal outside North America.

Later on that season Gino Odjick got his 371st penalty minute (fighting of course) in a game against the Ducks. That broke Odjick's previous PIM record of 370 from 1992-93 and made him the most penalized player in the league that season.

If you have some time to kill, why not relive the Halloween nightmare between these two from last year, a 7-6 SO victory for Vancouver that took 13 rounds to decide.

Dallas Stars

Franchise Record: 158GP, 60W, 72L, 22T, 4OTL, 146pts

How evenly matched are the Stars and Canucks? In the past decade, the teams have met 49 times (including playoffs) and Vancouver is 22-22-2-2 with one tie in that stretch. And goals? Each team has scored 120 goals. Daaaamn. (note: this doesn't include Friday's game which ruins this otherwise amazing coincidence)

In my eye, the teams have only met up once for a significant deal. Back in 1995, Vancouver sent Greg Adams, Dan Kesa and a 5th rounder (later traded to LA which became Jason Morgan) in exchange for Russ Courtnall. I guess these days you could look at their current squad and see Marc Crawford and Alex Auld hanging around and be reminded they gave way to Vigneault and Luongo respectively. Anyone care to trade 'em back?

Fun fact: The 1988 draft was big for both clubs: the Minnesota North Stars took Mike Modano with the first overall pick and Vancouver followed up in the second slot by taking Trevor Linden. But both teams didn't fare so well in the second round. The Canucks selected Leif Rohlin, a much-praised prospect who never panned out in the NHL. The Stars took Link Gatez, nicked named "The Missing Link," who wasn't much on the ice but certainly provided some humor off of it.

You probably knew I was going to roll out this video. It's just too good not to.

And good call by Sean for reminding me about the Bure's elbow to Churla.

Los Angeles Kings

Franchise Record: 212GP, 90W, 87L, 32T, 3OTL, 215pts

The Canucks and Kings have played 41 times in the past decade and Vancouver holds a slight edge, going 18-15-2-1 with five ties to boot. Though if you consider LA has been awful for a few seasons now, that record isn't terribly amazing.

What is amazing, however, is LA's willingness to accept our flawed goalies and try and make heads or tails with them. In 2001 Vancouver accepted future considerations from the Kings in exchange for Felix Potvin. Potvin was great for the Kings, helping them squeak into the playoffs and upsetting the Red Wings in the first round (hooray!). Vancouver's future considerations eventually became a third rounder in 2002 named Lukas Mensator who has never played a NHL game but is a handy trivia answer in case someone asks you if Vancouver has a Czech goalie. Indeed they do.

In 2006 we all got a good laugh when Los Angeles sent a second and third rounder round to Vancouver for Dan Cloutier. Riddled with injuries, Cloutier only played in 33 games in two seasons for LA, netting them eight wins. In return the Canucks drafted Taylor Ellington with the second rounder in 2007 and then traded the third rounder last summer to Buffalo for Steve Bernier. That'll do pig, that'll do.

Fun fact: Next to only one other team (who we haven't looked at yet in this rival series) Vancouver has played the most games against the Kings. Vancouver has taken more points from playing Los Angeles (217) than any other franchise.

Oh yeah: the Kings won the franchise's first game too. Booo.

Let's go old school: I have no idea what the year is, but I think it's Snepsts blowing up Schultz so that's worth looking for.

Phoenix Coyotes

Franchise Record: 157GP, 79W, 56L, 20T, 2OTL, 180pts

If nothing else, Brad May gets some love between the two franchises. He was originally acquired by Vancouver back in 2000 with the Canucks sending a conditional pick in the 2001 draft back. In 2003, May was reacquired from Phoenix for future considerations. Also, in 2001, Phoenix sent Tyler Bouck, Trevor Letowski, Todd Warriner and a 2003 3rd round draft choice (who Vancouver flipped to Edmonton in a separate deal and the pick became Zack Stortini) in exchange for Drake Berehowsky and Denis Pederson.

Since the team has been in Phoenix, there hasn't been much of a palpable anger between the two. Over the last decade Vancouver holds a commanding with a record of 23-11-2 against Phoenix with four ties. However, when the franchise was in Winnipeg, the Jets and Canucks had some notable games. Speaking of which...

Fun fact: Pavel Bure played his first game against Winnipeg in 1991. He was held off the scoresheet (much like another rookie Russian Canuck you may have hear of recently). But here's a rare look at Bure's first game anyway where you can see just how much jump he had:

San Jose Sharks

Franchise Record: 82GP, 40W, 31L, 9T, 2OTL, 91pts

No notable trades (pick swaps mostly) between the two squads until this summer when Christian Ehrhoff was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on August 28, 2009 along with Brad Lukowich in exchange for prospects Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi. In case you're curious, White has six points so far with the Gophers and Schroeder has five. meanwhile, Rahimi has an assist and is -9 in the Swedish elite league and Luko has seven points for the Texas Stars.

The Sharks have spent much of the past decade stomping the Canucks, going 21-4-2 with four ties and scoring 125 goals to Vancouver's 103 in the same span.

Fun facts: In February 2001 the Canucks and the Sharks played the first scoreless draw in Vancouver. And, in March 2007, Roberto Luongo posted his 39th win of the season in San Jose setting a new franchise record for wins by a Vancouver goaltender in a single season. The following month Vancouver beat San Jose again for their 49th win of the season (a new franchise record) and captured the NW crown with 105 points (another franchise record).

Since most of the videos out there aren't terribly interesting, let's enjoy watching Vancouver flatten the Sharks in everyone's favorite game, NHL '94. (0/12 on one-timers? tisk tisk)