Let's get it together.
While we were commiserating over trades hoped for versus trades actually done, what happened? Honestly, ever since this whole thing started with having two great goaltenders at the same time, the playing out of this trade, as opposed to almost any other trade from a strength I can honestly remember ( did Montreal get this bent out of shape when they were picking Halak or Price? ) in the NHL, people have lost their ever lovin' minds.
Not just Canuck fans. I am sure that we all come to NM and everywhere else to devour everything said about our team out here in Lotusland. I'm pretty sure that every fan base of every team in the league can probably say something similar ( though, let's be honest, we have the disease especially bad out here in Vancouver. Sometimes 25-30 at a press conference is nothing! ), and such is the life of the hockey fan.
We love the sport. The offseason is ( almost ) as much fun as the season ( no it isn't, when is prospect camp in Penticton again? ) when it comes to talking about the National Obsession. We make no apologies for it in Canada.
But somewhere along the way, Canuck fans took the blue pill instead of the red one. It happened slowly, and the edges of reality were always just that little way over the horizon, like it always seems to be. Perhaps it's just me. I always try to see the forest instead of staring at particularly interesting trees. Perhaps a lifetime of fandom in service to the same inexorable exercise in hope just naturally happens, by some not so magical beat down osmosis. You just give up. It's just too much to bitch about, and it's so nice out anyways. Maybe it's just noticing the similarity in each of these interminable debates about this player or that.
It is fun though. But enough is enough. Let's get it together Vancouver. This is getting silly. The #embracethehate that got us through 2011 with our souls intact is the same thing that is needed now. I mean, come on. They're mocking us in Toronto. MOCKING!!!! Let's get it together.
I'm not really referring to the Luongo trade in this screed, either. My feelings about the big affable Italian are well known, and if they aren't to first time readers, I think he's awesome at his job. The funny thing is, that part of it , the actually being an awesome goaltender ( does YOUR goaiie have a career .919 save % over 13 years? No? OK then. ) is really not the thing anymore. Even supposed haters of the first magnitude, Hawk and Bruin fans for instance, take to Twitter to express admiration and even fandom for Roberto Luongo. Whether that is about the exemplary way he handled the whole "having two great goaltenders shouldn't be this big of a problem" thing, or the fact that @Strombone1 is simply one of the best and fun hockey follows on Twitter, and he won folks over, has really ceased to be the thing.
Let me put it to you this way. I tend to consume the puck media in Canada like I try to do with food. I prefer to buy locally and support the local "economy", if you will, but sometimes the "national brands" are quick, and easy. More likely they are just inexorable and always THERE. Now, I know when I consume locally that I get to know the manufacturer and they get to know me.
But the really big companies, that national ones? They could really give much of a hoot about a local uproar amongst their consumers. What are you going to do, go somewhere else!?
That is how it seems to be, to a lesser or greater degree, right now with the level of smarmy, ill informed, and frankly just mean spirited output of the national puck media as it relates to the Vancouver Canucks Hockey Club right now. I really can't remember it being like this at anytime other than the Summer of 2011. The similarity is apt as well. Just like then, it seems a lot of ( but not all ) the cantankerous bullshit is coming from those that are, shall we say, geographically challenged as it relates to the most beautiful city on the damn planet.
Look, I know this sounds a little ranty, and it probably is. But here is an example that I watched today that put that big ol' straw on the back of the weary camel. Indulge me, if you will.
I usually like listening to, or, more often now that Bell and Rogers decided to buy ALL the sports networks and homogenize the way they do things ( and that is a story for another day, isn't it? So much for getting real competition amongst them to make them "up their game" anymore or anything! ), sometimes watch Tim and Sid. They are usually humourous, and not without some entertainment value as far as two guys sitting at a mic can be.
They are good. This is really not about that. It is not even about the high level of asshole Sid Seixiero has been lately in regards to Mike Gillis. The GM of the Canucks knew what he was getting into in this market, the good and the bad, and he's a big boy. You trade the guy that was looking like the young up and comer, the hot new "ride", and keep the Lamborghini as your daily driver,and it will raise a few eyebrows. But Sid has been relentless. Dial it back a bit there big fella, it's warm enough OUTSIDE right now!
Whether that is part of some weird marketing idea, ( they know what kind of ratings Canuck Hate got in 2011) , let me tell you, after catching a few of these "radio shows that we put on TV too", and hearing from everyone from Tim and Sid to Fadoo and always smart Brunt, the somehow always informative Elliot F., ( Nick Kypreos is another almost Bob Guy...Silver Standard? Just says "I've heard" and talks straight at least most the time from a players' perspective ) you learn a lot about how different markets are when they are separated regionally. You expect it. We all have a "hate meter" when talking puck in forums like this one, or on Twitter. You can pick up on the ones that are still informative and can be critical without being dicks about it, and those tend to be the ones you turn to more often. It is no mistake that Bob McKenzie has become the Gold Standard. Because he tries not to BS the people.
But the #HateMeter needle has been pinned far too much to the right for a trade of a, yes, really good young goaltender that will finally ( after one more year! ) be an NHL starter. Whatever you think of the return, the way this particular deal seemed to put it all over the top was surely something to behold.
From the second it happened, it was like a dam burst. After all the buildup, we all knew that was going to happen. But, consider this. Has Craig Mactavish went on the record, or even been quoted directly, in regards to this mysterious "better offer" from the Oilers? Note, also. Did Uncle Bob actually say it, or did he say "Darren said," or "Pierre heard" and maybe just retweet the two coworkers he is kind of obligated to anyhow? ( That roadtrip back from the draft live tweeted by him and Pierre was hilarious, BTW )
Unless I missed it, Craig Mac' has not. Mike Gillis made a point of explicitly saying "that is untrue" when asked about it anyhow. Are we calling him a liar? I know, if you are presupposed to think like that, you will smirk and say "yeah, right" on this reported offer. I mean. Darren Dreger said so on national TV! Pierre McGuire opined in his usual windbag bluster about it with " I know there are plenty of teams on that floor that are saying they would have offered more" like he is Mr Hockey, and not a onetime video coach for the Penguins who lucked into the best job in the world! ( actually, Pierre can be OK in small doses. He's like Don Cherry that way ), when, really no one else has come forward to say they would have either.
The thing is with the fraternity of GM's anyhow is... You are never going to get the straight poop, and the supposed national "pundits" that are so plugged in are actually just repeating what some GM wanted them to hear for their own reasons. Or, and here's the shocker folks... SOMETIMES THEY MAKE IT UP! How else are you supposed to fill all those hours on the radio and TV anyhow?
Sure, we are in the middle of the free agency thing. Vinnie Lecavalier signed another deal that will get called a "bad contract" a few years down the road. At least he Flyers got the hang of not giving those deals to the 35 and over set so they don't count against the Cap when and if they go bad. There will be other stories, and this will fade away. Like I mentioned, prospect camps are coming soon. Yay!
We'll always use this one as a "benchmark" good or bad for the team, as all big deals are. Some work and some don't. Some GM's are better at getting the players signed to great deals than they are at trading them, and that is part of the game too.
But can we at least peak our heads up out of the fog of smarm? Whether it is C.O.T.U national brands, ( and remember, good or bad, barely any of these mooks actually WATCH the Canucks play. Perhaps the highlights package, perhaps a bit of the first period. ) or our local hotrods being much more informative ( and I am stating right here in this little screed that it is entirely fine if Botch, Willes, or Gallagher want to mock the team, or, as some on Twitter tell him, if Iain with Two "I" McIntyre wants to be a "slurper". This isn't about being critical, or not, of the team ), there is going to be a lot said.
Some of it is going to be Sid taking it to the level that I actually saw them playing a "Match Game" thing on Sportsnet today, where Andrea Bargnani in Toronto was being referred to negatively as bad as "anything Mike Gillis does..." . Perhaps my local radar, my #HateMeter , or whatever just broke the needle on that one thing.
But are you freaking kidding me? For good and bad folks. It is not like we are the LeafsNation, who suddenly got to the 7th game of the first round for the first time since before TWO lockouts, and are feeling their oats about hockey again. This is about, somehow, through all the drama ( and think back on the sources of that drama over the years. How much was our "local hotrods" and how much was from an office building on Yonge Street? ), and supposed "mistakes" this team has done, they are the only team with 5 straight 100+ point seasons in Canada right now. One that was in Game Seven of the Finals just two seasons ago. We have high standards for a good reason out West.
Yes, with that comes the angst when there are two straight first round exits for said team. That is why changes need to be made and are being made. The Cap going down was just another added pressure, but if you were listening, you know that Mike Gillis knows his market. He goes on the radio pretty regularly. He tries to, while maintaining the business "I can't show you all the cards, obviously" aspect, be straight. More or less. Knowing that every word and inflection will be analyzed later will make anyone guarded anyhow. But the man is pretty straight with us. So, you may carry on picking at the bones of "The Trade" to find more morsels. I'll even join in the feast from time to time. It can be fun, even.
But I don't think it would be too much to "have the back" of the man as well. Regardless of how you want to digest the good and the bad, or how explicitly we want to drill down, be it a Higgins and Lappy "steal" to a Hodgson for Kassian "to be determined" in a few more years deal. Or maybe mention how "could we have " included Grabner in the Ballard deal ( keep in mind, at the time, most folks were OK with it at the time. We had a "duplicate "in Raymond anyhow. Though the first was a bit much in retrospect, it was not a Top 10. Who knew that we made the wrong choice and should have sent Mason to "the farm team" instead? ), a defenseman that could move the puck with offensive abilities was a decent return before AV broke him! On and on and on....
See? "Drama". It is so easy to pull it up. In the end though, I don't think I will be changing teams any time soon. I like this one. I know you do too.
So can we at least try to cut the guy some slack? Remember how much fun the "all for one" ethos was a couple years ago? Maybe now is the time again. I mean seriously. After Dreger and his GM cousin Nonis got us all at the deadline last year with that "sure we'll deal for him, but give us this at the 11th hour" bullshit that actually made a proud man like Luongo have to do a shit eating presser that STILL annoys me to this day,( and must have been the height of laughs around the BBQ at the cottage ), are we actually going to let this "neener neener" you could have had more from Edmonton crap work again?
We're better than that...