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The Parade - Oct.10.08

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Nancy Henderson

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<table width=80% align=center border=0><tr><td><img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/09/henderson_head.jpg" align="left" hspace="4">It was a night of opposites, when Def (and apparently dumb) Leppard managed to place the mighty Stanley Cup upside down (the only crime that will still get you executed in Canada) and when the Canucks put together a classy and touching tribute to a young defenseman lost far too soon, then went out and got a fantastic victory in his name.

We are in the middle of a seemingly endless election season and last night we had living proof that democracy doesn’t work. Because if the Canucks Nation had been given the opportunity to cast a ballot, the majority would have voted Mike Gillis and the team out of office long before the summer ended.

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/07/gillisctv_t.jpg" align="right" border="0" hspace="4" vspace="1">There must have been times during the last few months when Mr. Gillis imagined that being kidnapped and held captive in the jungles of South America would only be the SECOND worse situation that he could have gotten himself into. It seemed that everywhere there were predictions of utter disaster. But after a pre-season and an opening night game that could only be described as a resounding success, perhaps our new GM is breathing a little easier this morning.

I’m not breathing easier because I’m still waiting for the heart palpitations to subside. We were promised exciting, offensive hockey and we got it. I guess Vegas was the place to take Coach Vigneault, to impress upon him the need to start taking a few chances. Finally the boys were away from the boards, getting the transition game in gear and making some plays in the centre of the ice. They were flying around so much they were practically airborne.

Despite the fact that, for me a least, it has been a bit painful, I am now convinced that the previous Canucks era did need to be removed and quickly, like a Band-aid. Bring on the time of Captain Luongo. Posting a shutout in the first game of the season is exactly the sort of leadership we need from our beloved netminder and secret wearer of the “C”.

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/10/OCT0108_keslerhansen_t.jpg" align="left" border="0" hspace="4" vspace="1">You could be forgiven for hearing the word “Danish” and thinking “soft and flaky” but this year apparently even our Danish whizz-kid Jannik Hansen is more than happy to leap in with fists flying to defend the precious goaltender. The way teammates were sticking up for one another was one of the many heartening things to watch.

Another was the monster play of Mattias Ohlund. I have a soft spot for the stalwart Swede, who I think has always been unfairly overlooked and underrated by others around the League. You have to imagine that Matty got his fill of suppressing comments while quietly listening to Todd Bertuzzi blab on in the locker room over the years, because he seemed to be taking particular delight in shoving big Bert around. Todd’s jersey may now be aflame, but he certainly wasn’t last night.

Ryan Kesler was a cut and bleeding warrior, Alex Burrows was a scoring machine, Rick Rypien had a shockingly pretty goal. Sure the start was slow and the power play was often a bit of a mess but these are certainly fixable issues.

Yep, the long weekend beckons and we seem to have plenty to be thankful for. The team seems to be brimming with confidence and so far, no turkeys have been served up in GM Place.

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