Mike Macri

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About Mike Macri

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  1. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Hold on a minute while I stretch my writing fingers, it’s been a while. Every year around this time I get extremely busy, and inventing ways to get out of prior engagements in or-der to watch hockey consumes most, if not all, of the free time I have. The Canucks are my drug of choice (unless Phil Collins’ “Sussudio” can be considered a drug), to the point that I have no doubt that the team is interfering with what my therapist, Dr. Hand, refers to as a “well-adjusted” life. If my family and friends held an intervention during which my mother read a tearful letter outlining how my addiction to hockey has affected our relationship, I would look her in the eyes and earnestly tell her that I would change...for us...shortly before climbing out of the bathroom window and watching the ’94 playoff run on Youtube in a dumpster (I’m pretty sure dumpsters have wi-fi). I have a problem, but I could totally stop any time I want, I just don’t want to right now. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/10/oct1908_hawks10_t.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="4" vspace="1" align="right" />For those who don’t suffer from such an affliction, I’ll tell you that the hardest part about a Canuck-addiction (Canuddic-tion? No, that sounds dirty) is the violent mood swings. After the Canucks beat Calgary for the second time to go 2-0 on the year, I had serious thoughts about camping out on Robson in order to get a good seat for the Stanley Cup parade. The team had carried over their stellar pre-season play into when it really mat-tered, and handed their biggest rivals a couple of losses in the process. I wasn’t the mayor of Cloud Nine, but I was definitely a high-ranking official of some sorts - possibly an alderman of Cloud Nine. At least an assistant to the alderman. Then came Thanksgiving. Or as I have now come to call it, “Thanksfornothinggiving.” (See what I did there? I threw a “for nothing” in the middle of the word there. Subtle, but savvy readers were undoubtedly rewarded the first time around.) Once again, an early PPV game managed to drain my cheeks of their natural, rosy en-thusiasm (I had to powder them with rouge for the rest of the night just to save face. To-tal embarrassment). Memories of last season began rushing by me in a semi-transparent fashion, sort of like that psychedelic tunnel scene in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only with more goals against and slightly less Gene Wilder. But with a record of 2-1, and a handy jet-lag excuse ready to go, the post-traumatic stress from last season had yet to set in. <img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/10/101608_keslerpoke_t.jpg" bor-der="0" alt="" hspace="4" vspace="1" align="left" />And with a split against the defend-ing Cup champs and the red-hot Sabres in the follow-ing two games, I was holding up okay. Sure, the next game against the Blackhawks was another PPV broadcast, but I had a plan: I would abstain from ordering the game. If or-dering the PPV games had en-sured a loss in the past, then surely not ordering the game would produce a win, right? At the very least, the team would escape un-injured, right? Alas, it seems as though the power of PPV extends beyond the physical act of me ordering the broadcast (although I’m still fairly certain that I have the unique ability to affect the outcome of every game), as the Canucks came out of Chicago with a few men down and another loss in the pocket. So now I’m on the brink. My mood has officially swung from manic to depressive in the course of six games. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way a fairweather fan, nor am I one to phone in to radio call-in shows with the brilliant advice to TRADE LUONGO! But as I write this a few hours before the Canucks are set to take on the Blue Jackets, I implore you, if you happen to come across a cheerful-looking person sitting out front of the Gap on Robson in a lawn chair, buy him a muffin. Banana-chocolate chip is his favourite. Conversely, if you happen to see a despondent individual on top of said Gap store threatening to jump, kindly inform him that it’s only a ten foot drop and that he looks like a jackass. Then buy him a muffin.</td></tr></table>
  2. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>As far as life lessons go, I’ve learned next to none. It’s actually remarkable how little I’ve absorbed over the years; the cheat code for 30 lives in Nintendo’s Contra, the lyrics to every Spice Girls song except for ‘2 Become 1’, and an intimate knowledge of Thermoeconomic theory are really the only things I can claim to “know.” <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/09/sep0808_ryan_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Actually, I’ve also come to realize that there exists a very intense associative condition that is triggered when one experiences something for the first time. For example, one might forever associate a particular place with a particular smell, or a person with a specific song. As an aside, I, to this day, associate the very tender and intimate act of kissing with the bloody and haunting sounds of the D-Day invasion during World War II. I wish it was a joke, but on my very first first date years ago, I thought it would be a prudent gesture to end the night with the most romantic movie ever committed to film: Saving Private Ryan. As my date counter-intuitively leaned in for a taste of what was probably a delicate bouquet of garlic prawns and watermelon Hubba Bubba, I became acutely aware (just as I’ve just become acutely aware that this is a hockey blog...hold on, I promise this is going somewhere) that the evening’s soundtrack was the blood-curdling screams of one of the bloodiest battles of the 20th century. Feeling for the first time what I would later term “embarrashame”, things didn’t get any better when my date brought the activities to the next level (Read: French Style. Also Read: saying things like “French Style” is why I currently live in what is referred to as a “bachelor” apartment and regularly cry myself to sleep to the aroma of pumpkin pie-scented Yankee candles and despair). I make a similar type of association with the Canucks every off-season (see? I told you I’d get there). The first year I really remember being aware of the Canucks’ activities in the Summer months was when the team landed its first, and possibly only, big-name free agent - Mark Messier. At the time, I had no idea that such a transaction would later lead to my burning hatred of Lays potato chips and Cold-fX, I just came away with the impression that the Summer off-season is a time when you wear a bathing suit as underwear and your hockey team picks up future Hall of Famers at will. I suppose that it’s fair to say that every off-season since has existed in relation to that one, and that such a fact is probably responsible for both my facial ticks and my unending struggle in an ocean of sadness. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/07/070108_sundin01_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Despite many disappointing off-seasons in which I expected the Canucks to sign each and every highly-sought-after free agent only to be rewarded with the likes of Trevor Letowski’s syphilitic younger brother, Philip, I always find myself suffering with expectations every July 1st. This year was no different: Marian Hossa was, of course, destined to be in Vancouver, and, despite his proclamation that he would only play in his native United States, Brian Rolston would come to realize that his best option was lining up alongside the Sedins. I can at least claim that I never entertained the notion that Mats Sundin was even a possibility - I have my limits, after all. But as Mike Gillis offered up a small mint and rumours of Sundin-sightings engulfed the city, I found myself once again being swept up in the winds of hope, convincing myself that Mats would overlook the extensive travel associated with playing in Vancouver and sign on the dotted line. Given the recent history of off-seasons in Vancouver, I should probably resign myself to the fact that, in all likelihood, Sundin won’t be lacing up the skates in this city any time soon. Unfortunately, somewhere in the dark recesses of mind exists a vague impression of a future Hall-of-Famer pulling the Canucks’ jersey over his bald head. Funny, there’s that blood-curdling scream again...</td></tr></table>
  3. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>FACT (possibly not): The bags under Mike Gillis's eyes are not in fact from working hard, but instead, are a place where he stores fruit leather so he can have a healthy but delicious snack on the go. FACT (definitely so): He can make me cry by simply staring at me for more than three seconds (I had to avert my eyes every time he directly addressed the camera during his press conference). FACT (true): His wispy, dirty blonde hair would look great with a little bit of product and some chunky highlights. I mean, right? The preceding facts proved two things: I’m a man’s man, and I don’t know a damn thing about Mike Gillis. I’m willing to bet that you don’t either, Jeff McDonald.* If the past week has taught me anything about this city, it’s how much stock we put into press conferences. When Francesco Aquilini struggled his way through his presser, the call-in shows were flooded with opinions that the owner of this franchise had just come from a double root canal and couldn't feel his tongue, and in fact bit it several times as the cameras rolled. Aquilini, according to most, had no plan going forward, and fired Dave Nonis for no other reason than sheer boredom. When Mike Gillis was named Nonis’ successor after little more than a week of “interviews,” the prevailing opinion was that Aquilini had gone out and got a puppet; a player agent without a day’s worth of experience running a franchise. Ahh, but the winds of public opinion in this city are about as stable as a Spears' family picnic. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/04/APR2308_GillisPresser07_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Following Wednesday’s press conference in which Gillis was introduced, the sentiment began to change. Gillis addressed the team’s draft record as a source of primary concern among a myriad of other changes he promised to implement. For the most part, he said the right things at the right time. There will be changes to the offense. Our goaltender won’t be going anywhere. Pre-disposition. Going forward. Going forward. Pre-disposition. The puppet was suddenly a man with a plan. The point is, falling too far on either side of the fence right now is an exercise in futility. No one knows what kind of job Mike Gillis is capable of as General Manager. While his experience isn’t exactly conducive to immediate success in his new position, it doesn’t act as a necessary preclusion to it, either. Former agents-turned-GMs have had mixed results in the past: Pierre Lacroix won two cups with the Avalanche, while the Coyote’s Mike Barnett once won the black gumball at his local video store (he used it to rent Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter’). <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/04/APR2308_GillisPresser13_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Gillis might very well be the fresh perspective that this team so desperately needs after ostensibly being run by the same management since the mid-80s. With no sentimental ties to anyone in the organization, Gillis has an opportunity to make objective decisions based upon past performance that could propel the team into a rarified air that we’ve dreamed about for upwards of 38 years. On the other hand, the overwhelming challenge of running a franchise might be too much for the first-time General Manager, and the Canucks could spiral into a tailspin of misery and despair - a state from which recovery can only come in the form of years of first-overall draft picks or franchise re-location. It could go either way, really. But for now, and to borrow some terminology from the man himself, we should be evaluating Gillis on a going-forward basis, without any pre-disposition. * Even if you aren’t Jeff McDonald, this still applies. But can you imagine if that was your name? You’d be all “whaa...how’d he do that?” Magic, Jeff. Magic. Now go back and finish reading the rest of this thing. If you already finished it and saved the footnote until last, go back and re-read it. There are subtle layers that you missed the first time.</td></tr></table>
  4. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Oh Easter, thine bastion of tradition - your four-day weekend is always a reminder of two things in my life: a belly full of Maker’s Mark and creme eggs, and watching hockey while the sun is still up. There is nothing I enjoy more than an Easter Sunday morning that consists of blasting the quads with some hack squats, a sport bottle full of Kentucky bourbon whiskey, an Easter egg hunt/banana pancake breakfast at a neighbor’s of my choosing, and then topping it all off with watching a hockey game in a room that is alit with nothing but the glorious rays of the sun. It’s the way that I’ve always done it, and it always serves as the first intimation that the playoffs are right around the corner. It’s looking like the Canucks stand a good chance of securing a spot in the postseason, but I feel that if they are to succeed, there are three activities that need to be retired from their arsenal: <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/Sep2007_Twins_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>1. The Sedin slap-pass. The last time this play worked, I was still in diapers. The year was 2003. For a period of time, this move was one of the most effective weapons on the powerplay, until opposing defenses happened upon the brilliant strategy of defending against it. According to the NHL rulebook, there’s nothing that strictly prohibits a defenseman from interfering with the slap-pass, but there it is on what seems like every powerplay - trotted out like an aged stage-monkey propped up with cedar splints and amphetamine booster shots. That poor monkey, he only yearns for the occasional handfruit and some affection (you can probably come up with a way of making that into a metaphor for why the slap-pass needs to be retired on your own). 2. The Naslund slap shot. Quick - name the game which featured Jim Hughson’s now famous call, “Naslund rips one top shelf with the slap shot!” Trick question, it wasn’t Jim Hughson, it was John Shorthouse. Double trick question, it never happened. Once the owner of a wrist shot that rivaled the Joe Sakics of the league, Naslund has since arrived at the decision that a blind man gently lobbing blueberry muffins is as effective of a weapon as a Cold-War era Soviet laser beam. Agree to disagree, I suppose. Full marks to the captain for effort, but every time Naslund winds up for a slap shot, he looks about as comfortable as the patients of Dr. Jonathan Bananahands, Proctologist. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/11/nov1407_edm@van04_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>3. The ‘Lou’ chant. That’s right, fans - the finger is pointed directly at you on this last one. What started out as a means of letting the best goaltender in Canucks’ history that his efforts were being earnestly noted has snowballed into a unruly beast of the apocalypse, subsisting upon routine saves and the hearts of newborn puppies (think about that the next time your tongue curls back in your mouth in anticipation of a hearty ‘Lou’ after he stops a 60 foot backhand shot). I appreciate the sentiment and the enthusiasm, but maybe the ‘Lou’ chant should be treated like Christmas or showering - it’s more special because it doesn’t happen every day. </td></tr></table>
  5. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>I believe that this team can compete in (or as of now, for) the playoffs. After all, being a fan is largely composed of belief. The problem is, I don’t know that this team can compete. Since the trade deadline passed, the Canucks have scored as many goals in four games as the Washington Capitals tallied 18 minutes into the first period on Monday. In a city that cried out for more offense in the waning hours of the deadline, a series of duds from the forward group hasn’t gone over well. There are several hypotheses making the rounds on the call-in shows and the messageboards as to why the Canucks have gone into a slump at what arguably is the most important time of the season; trouble in the dressing room, players disheartened by a quiet deadline, and a simple lack of desire being chief among them. While all three are assumptions used as radio fodder, it is undeniable that as of right now, the team doesn’t appear to be gearing up for a long playoff run. It can be difficult, especially for the ardent fan, to accept anything less than the best from their team. When expectations are set as high as they were at the beginning of the season, losing can be outright unbearable. I’ll spare you my speculation as to why the Canucks are currently out of a playoff spot with less than 20 games to go, except to say that the plan that Dave Nonis set out with at the beginning of the year might have just been seriously derailed. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/121307_SJ02_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Before the season got underway, Nonis made a point of leaving himself some breathing room under the cap in an effort to avoid the pinch felt in the prior two campaigns. With an ownership group committed to spend to the cap (not to mention the ability to go over the cap limit due to injuries), Nonis obviously planned to be a buyer at the deadline. What the Canucks’ General Manager hadn’t planned on was a league-wide parity that would see only a handful of teams under the .500 mark. Of course, this is a fabricated parity, as 3-point games have allowed teams like the Edmonton Oilers (a group that would be outright awful in years’ past) to compete via the shootout point. Accordingly, teams that would otherwise be major sellers at the deadline stood still or, in some cases, even ventured a chance at loading up. The market for scorers consequently shrivelled, driving up prices for the few that remained in the process. As evidenced by the extraordinarily small number of trades completed in the months leading up to the deadline, one of two things is clear: team knew that prices skyrocket in late February, or more likely, the exorbitant returns that sellers had been seeking all year were finally met by desperate buyers. It’s the latter statement that makes the critical diatribes directed towards Nonis somewhat unfounded. This wasn’t a case of stalling throughout the season until prices were so high that the Canucks couldn’t afford to go shopping; this was an example of a reasonable General Manager who got shut out. Of course, the definition of “reasonable” in this case varies amongst fans. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/feb2508_nonis_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Don’t misinterpret, Dave Nonis definitely deserves his fair share of blame for the team’s anaemic offense. While concentrating on improving the defensive depth in the offseason turned out to be a prudent move, the inability to bring in a legitimate top-six forward via free-agency or otherwise might just prove to be this team’s downfall for the second year running. Perhaps this upcoming offseason will prove to be the best measuring stick for Nonis’ ability to build a team. With a couple of heavy contracts coming off of the books, there will be enough cap room to properly address the needs up front, while the backend remains virtually the same. In a season that has seen the Canucks come out on the wrong end of far too many one goal games, one player with a nose for the net could make all the difference. It might be a tough pill to swallow for Canuck fans, but maybe next year will be our year. Aren’t you tired of hearing that? </td></tr></table>
  6. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>It’s Friday night and I’m attempting to match my cousin stride for stride over ice-patched city streets. His gait sporadically breaks in out and of a race-walk as we march through the mudded remnants of what would be a grass boulevard, had it not been the middle of February. A curved roof appears through breaks in the mottled architectural horizon, then disappears behind a billboard advertising a discount motel chain. As we cross over one block East, we’re joined by dozens of people, all of whom seem to possess the same hurried shuffle as my cousin. Most of them are paired off, and almost all of them don the same coloured shirt: a crimson red broken up by strips of black and yellow. It’s 6:58 pm, and I’m headed towards the belly of the beast: Calgary’s Pengrowth Saddledome. I’m behind enemy lines, and here, for the first time, is my account of the events. Even though the Flames are taking on the Red Wings, I manage to manufacture some legitimate interest in the fact that the Canucks are currently deadlocked with Calgary in the standings. A familiar twinge of game-day anxiousness grows in my stomach as my cousin (an unfortunately die-hard Flames fan) and I enter a long, concrete corridor leading to the arena’s entrance. As we pass display cases featuring hay-infused tributes to Alberta’s agricultural industry, the wide arena concourse comes into view in the distance. Several differences are apparent, the most immediate of which is the fact that the concourse is lit like a nightclub. It’s dark enough that I’m somewhat spared the inevitable disdain for some of the clone-like gentleman that surround me, as it’s difficult to make out any definite shapes, let alone faces. In the reflective glow of the concession stands, it appears as they’re all roughly 21 years of age and, if I had to guess, named Ty (my apologies if your name is Ty - I’m sure you’re wonderful). <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/redwings/images/upload/2008/02/Untitled-20_thumb.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Each Ty sports a hat that is placed atop his head in a position so precarious that I fear even the fainted cross-wind might send the headwear careening down into the dim depths of the concourse, never to be seen again. Of course, it’s completely possible that the half-pound of hair gel streaked through their frosted tips is acting as some sort of adhesive agent, so the hats might actually be hurricane-proof. My favourite Ty is wearing a freshly-pressed Jim Vandermeer jersey. He might be a relative, or more likely a guy with more money than brains, but I quietly pray to any God who will listen that the newly-acquired depth defenseman doesn’t last the season with his new team, just so this one jersey is rendered completely ridiculous. As we navigate through the late-arriving crowd, there are several groups of people huddled around central figures wearing referees’ jerseys. My first pang of jealousy strikes when it’s revealed that the figure is pouring tall boys into plastic cups – the Saddledome has roaming beer vendors. My cousin locks eyes with one of the vendors in such a manner that I consider staging a quasi-intervention on the spot, but before I know it, he’s leading the way to our seats, beer in hand. If the Calgary arena wins points for its portable beer dispensers, it loses some for décor. With more road signs affixed to the walls than a Midwestern Fudrucker’s, the Saddledome comes off like that 46 year-old father of three who wears a backwards baseball hat and awkwardly attempts various hand gestures while listening to his Will Smith CD - trying hard to convey a particular attitude, but just falling short. As we approach our section, I spot a poster featuring Calgary Hitmen-alum Ryan Getzlaf beside a “Yield” sign and wonder if it went up before or after the Anaheim Ducks beat the Flames in their 2006 playoff series. My second inspiration of jealousy comes in the form of the Saddledome’s seats. Unlike the “cozy” (read: cramped) seating of GM Place, there’s plenty of leg room to accommodate my estimated nine foot frame (I may be off by a couple of inches). <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/flames/images/upload/2008/02/Untitled-4_thumb.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>As the puck drops to start the game, I take a moment to look around the arena in an effort to fully digest the atmosphere. Sitting behind me and to the left, I spot a couple of characters whom I immediately recognize as being “those guys” (for my avid reader(s?), a callback, of sorts). Minutes later, a call from behind, “Hey Filpulla (#51), get a real number!” Scattered laughter rises up over our section, evidently bathing our commentator in a mist of pride in a job well done - as minutes later, another witty barb shoots past me towards the ice, “Hey Franzen (#93), get a real number!” I stop counting after the fourth iteration. Well played, That Guy. Well played. The crowd is mostly silent for the better part of the first period, until Alex Tanguay banks one in off of Chris Osgood for the game’s first and only goal. A burst of flames shoot forth from what looks like a suitcase hanging over the ice, hitting me with a wave of heat so strong that it could probably warm my cousin’s beer to room temperature, provided that the flame was kept alit for at least an hour (that doesn’t seem so impressive now that I write it out). The game itself ends up not being quite as good as our first-intermission nachos (a tangy affair, with jalapeno peppers that offset the cheese in a rather cheeky manner), as the stand-in good guys go down in defeat (this is alleviated somewhat by a 4-1 drubbing by the real good guys the following night). As it is Kiprusoff’s first shutout in almost a year, I am deemed to be a good luck charm for the Flames, despite my most ardent of protests. The disappointment I usually experience from a Flames’ win is only magnified when I’m sitting but a mere few feet from the travesty; but really, that mattered little, as I got to watch and talk some hockey with someone who knows the sport even better than I. Thanks for the game, Noel. The Flames still suck. </td></tr></table>
  7. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>An Open Letter to the Hockey Gods. Hey there Hockey Gods, How’s it going up there? Pretty good, I’m sure. You live on a cloud as fluffy and soft as a kitten taped to a puppy, and if I understand correctly, you have limitless reserves of Philadelphia brand cream cheese spread. But listen, in all honesty, you guys have been bending the Canucks over for quite some time now. I admit, there have been some incidents that couldn’t be overlooked. When Bertuzzi taunted Minnesota Wild fans after the Canucks went up 3 games to 1 in their playoff series, you had to keep your Hockey God hand strong. You did what you had to do, no complaints here. On other occasions, however, not only have you displayed a bias against this team, but you’ve enacted it in such a way that I can only assume that you are deriving some sort of perverse gratification from the process. There is no better evidence of this perversion than the 1970 NHL entry draft. I completely accept that the Sabres won the wheel spin and the right to draft Gilbert Perrault. The Canucks were assigned numbers 1-6, the Sabres had 7-12, and the wheel landed on 11. It would have been nice to usher in the existence of the franchise with a draft pick who would eventually wind up in the Hall of Fame, but both teams had an equal shot, and the Canucks wound up with (the decidedly average) Dale Tallon. But did you really have to work your little hocus pocus so that it was announced that the wheel had landed on the number 1? I mean, who represents the number 11 by stacking the digits on top of one another, anyway? From that moment, it was clear that screwing with the Canucks and their fanbase would develop into a quaint little hockey heaven pastime. What’s so depraved about the whole thing is the fact that your game isn’t an all out attack like it is with the Columbus Blue Jackets - it’s a calculated routine of passive-aggression that claws at my heart, carving fresh wounds into scar tissue. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1108_PavelBure01_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Take Pavel Bure, for example. When Pat Quinn “found” a couple of lost gamesheets proving that Bure had indeed satisfied the requirements for NHL eligibility, you dropped a gift in the lap of the Canucks that the team had yet to receive - a bonafide NHL superstar. As Canuck fans were busy being dazzled by the Russian Rocket’s highlight reel goals, you set in motion a two-pronged plan to counteract the team’s sudden windfall of good fortune. The first assault would take place in Bure’s right knee. While devastating, Bure’s knee problems weren’t enough to satisfy the conditions of your twisted game. As if you were the screenwriters of a bad Saw sequel, the real twist came as a result of something unexpected and seemingly unrelated: orchestrating a trade for Nathan LaFayette in 1994. As the Canucks made their way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals (on the back of numerous electric performances by Bure), the final game wasn’t on Pavel’s stick in the waning moments of the third period, it was on LaFayette’s. Had the Cinderella story unfolded as it should, Bure would have buried the puck in the wide open net instead of LaFayette clanging it off the iron, producing an unholy ring that still hasn’t purged itself from my ear canal. If you had any semblance of justice that you are purported to have, the Canucks should be building on the success that the team achieved last season. In yet another hilarious twist, suffering through the bucket of depression that was the 05-06 season - in which the vaunted Canucks missed the playoffs by means of sheer laziness - was rewarded by giving the fans their second unequivocal superstar in team history: Roberto Luongo. But even the best goaltender in the game can’t win every game on his own. While the debilitating injuries to almost every defenseman on the team this season was an expected course of action on your part, it still hurts. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1008_Canucks-Blackhawks12_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/02/FEB1008_Canucks-Blackhawks12_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>As I was watching the overtime period of tonight’s Canucks-Blackhawks game, I was fully expecting you guys to enact your well-worn plan of quiet erosion. After Cam Barker’s flukey lob shot put the Blackhawks up 2-1 in a game they deserved to be losing, it seemed as though the trend would continue. But after Naslund netted a game-tying goal with Luongo on the bench, the Canucks ensured that they would at least walk away with the all-too-familiar single point. When Daniel Sedin missed on a penalty shot in the overtime session, it seemed as though the familiar refrain was inevitable; close, but no cigar. Back when Sidney Crosby failed to score on an overtime penalty shot against Roberto Luongo earlier this season, his Penguins still went on to win in the shootout. When the Canucks were afforded the same opportunity in Florida, Naslund failed to end it in overtime, and the Canucks went on to lose in the skills competition. But tonight’s shootout was different - Ryan Shannon, in his second game up from the minors, was like a gift from above. As opposed to the tentative approach that other Canuck shooters employ in the shootout, Shannon simply went in and pulled off a move that can only be described as ‘ballsy.’ The spin-o-rama, which he unsuccessfully tried to pull on Marty Turco last season, was just the ticket for a Canucks’ come from behind win tonight. In a league where a single point could mean the difference between a playoff spot and an early tee-time, having a shootout specialist is a must. Maybe it was just the first step in yet another complicated, vindictive scheme that you Hockey Gods have planned for this team; but for now, I’m just going to assume that someone up there is finally smiling down upon us. </td></tr></table>
  8. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Interview with the Man-Crier I’m going to keep this one short, but I thought I’d tell you about an exciting little week I had recently. Not only did I manage a personal high score on Dance Dance Revolution, but I had myself a little in-game interview with Mr. Scott Rintoul during the Canucks-Blues game last Wednesday. If you were at the game, you couldn’t have missed it - a strikingly handsome young man up on the jumbotron, eloquently and confidently addressing the crowd. I was on right after him. For those of you who might want a transcript of the interview, here you go: Rintoul: I’m here with Mike Macri, a blogger for Canucks.com. How’s it going tonight, Mike? Me: Bllarrahhgh. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues12_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues12_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a> Rintoul: O...K. So Mike, how did you get started writing your blog? Me: If I had to name one, probably Stone Phillips. Rintoul: (nervous laughter) I’m...not sure...uh, thanks, Mike. Me: Thanks, Murph. Now, in my defence, I had no idea that Dan Murphy’s nickname was Murph. I just assumed that’s how you generically wrapped up a Canucks-related interview. Actually, talking in front of a crowd isn’t all that nerve-wracking for me. Believe it or not, this wasn’t my first hockey-related media event. If you were watching TvTwelve’s seminal institution “Kidstuff” back in the fall of ’93, you might have noticed a particularly “gnarly” kid jammin’ in his rollerblades while attending a Vancouver Voodoo game. He was so cool, what with his Cross Colours jacket and backwards, purple jeans. If you pause the tape at the 00:32 second mark, you can see me standing behind him eating a Dilly Bar. What you didn’t see: me dropping my Dilly Bar moments later and crying into my mom’s shoulder-padded blouse while a crowd of people pointed and laughed. You know what? I’m glad the Voodoo folded.* <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues08_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues08_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Anyway, besides the interview, the game was a blast. First time I had ever seen the shootout live in person, and even though I’m not a huge fan of the extra point, it’s pretty damn exciting in person. Save for the $40 stomachache my friend and I received from a couple of White Spot chicken burgers (apparently we ordered them with extra white - big mistake), it was the kind of night that dreams and unicorns are made of. And isn’t that all a 25 year old man (and I mean “man” in the loosest possible sense of the word) can ask for? *Slightly off-topic, but totally true - I received a Vancouver Voodoo jersey for Christmas one year and still have it in my possession. If you don’t know what a Voodoo jersey looks like, search it out on Google. Now picture me wearing it to three of my cousin’s weddings. </td></tr></table>
  9. <table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>In case you’re wondering (and I’m pretty sure that you are), things are going pretty well with me right now. In addition to enjoying a delicious Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream (Mmm...taste the jazz!), I also recently signed a small endorsement contract with a soft drink manufacturer. In the interest of good taste (much like the good taste of a refreshing Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream - the cream lover’s choice), I won’t disclose the name of the manufacturer. But it’s not all lucrative endorsements and daiquiri mixers at the community center every second wednesday night of the month, either. The Canucks are mired in a little bit of a slump right now, and to be honest, it’s like a burning mass of black bile germinating inside of my chest, expanding into the recesses of my very essence. So give and take, I suppose. Although the wins might be in short supply right now, the team isn’t playing all that poorly. Unfortunately, such a trend seems to reinforce the persistent thought that when Roberto Luongo looks human, the Canucks are in trouble. Perhaps the team just needs to work through these difficulties, but there is always the possibility that a shakeup is in order. Dave Nonis has a couple of options heading down the stretch: stand relatively pat and hope that his goaltender bails the team out come playoffs, or make a splash at the deadline. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues13_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues13_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a> The first choice (by definition) involves making two small trades - one of which must involve Geoff Sanderson. The other trade will most likely be for a journeyman defenseman who hit his peak in 2002. Second-round draft picks are the currency of choice in these transactions, with the occasional third-rounder thrown in for seasoning. Given the success of Mason Raymond and Alex Edler (second and third-round picks, respectively), one shudders to think what Eric Weinrich et al. actually ended up costing the Canucks. Oh well, a few months of almost-competent, yellow-visored mediocrity is almost as good as a well-stacked stable of prospects, isn’t it? Nonis’ second option is one that hasn’t been seen around these parts in over a decade: a major deadline deal. This is rarely a prudent venture (see Nashville’s acquisition for Peter Forsberg and their subsequent playoff implosion last year); but occasionally, the timing is right. At the 1994 trade deadline, Pat Quinn dealt Petr Nedved to the St. Louis Blues for Jeff Brown, Martin Gelinas, and Nathan LaFayette. Granted, Nedved was a season-long holdout at the time, but for the purpose of illustrating my point, it still qualifies as a major deadline deal. Of course, the Canucks went on to the finals that year, with Brown and Gelinas each playing a significant role in the team’s success. LaFayette (and his affinity for missing wide open nets) on the other hand, is the bane of my existence to this day. However, the point remains, a major trade can occasionally propel a team into Stanley Cup contention. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues12_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/JAN2308_Canucks-Blues12_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>As of late, it’s rumoured that the Canucks are amongst the favourites to land Toronto Maple Leafs’ center Mats Sundin. Of course, this rumour seemed to originate from Al Strachan, so take it with an entire salt mine, but Sundin would surely provide the Canucks with a strong 1-2 punch down the middle. Names being thrown around in return include Ryan Kesler, Alex Edler, and Luc Bourdon. This is where Nonis has to tread carefully - as it’s a make-or-break kind of deal. The way I see it, a trade for Sundin can go one of three ways: Scenario 1: The Canucks deal Ryan Kesler and a first for Sundin. The team subsequently gets swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs before seeing Sundin re-sign with the Leafs in the offseason. The city of Vancouver proceeds to riot. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/images/upload/2008/01/sundin012308_480x285_leafs.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/images/upload/2008/01/sundin012308_120x90_leafs.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a> Scenario 2: Kesler and a first for Sundin. Hard-fought Conference Final defeat, with Sundin playing a major role. With apologies to the Canucks and the city, the big center decides to return to the Leafs. The city of Vancouver proceeds to riot, but with an undertone of respect for the situation. Scenario 3: Same trade. Cup win. The city of Vancouver proceeds to riot. Unfortunately for Nonis, he will inevitably cause the destruction of public and private property in deciding to deal for Sundin. However, if everything comes together in the right way at the right time, the Canucks can ensure that the tears from the pepper spray are mixed with tears of joy - the best combination for the true sports enthusiast. And what’s the best combination for a blogger with a mean thirst? It has to be the rich, smooth taste of caramel with everyone’s favourite calorie-free cola - Diet Pepsi Jazz Caramel Cream: now with 12% more Jazz! </td></tr></table>
  10. <table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Back in my highschool creative writing class, I used to think that a perfectly acceptable solution to writer’s block was to spin a delightfully witty yarn about a guy with writer’s block. Surely the clever deconstruction of the fourth wall would amuse my teacher into showering me with red-ink A ++’s. In retrospect, I like to think that my particular brand of meta-writing sailed right over my teacher’s head, as I ended up barely passing the class. Unfortunately, I’m fairly sure that no one here will be too interested in a ripping tale about a guy who can’t come up with anything to write about. After recently starting and giving up on several topics including the possibility of a monkey one day making the NHL, I began to think about a couple of unanswered questions that have been dogging me for a while now. Chief among them, has anyone ever actually won the Safeway Score & Win contest? Sure, I’ve seen the names announced after every Canuck goal scored on a Sportsnet broadcast, but I have yet to see a single one that I have recognized. Now, I don’t have anything that you might call “evidence,” but I’m starting to think that the Score & Win people (if they even exist...how deep does this go?) are making up names as they go along. Are they hoarding the prizes for themselves? I can’t say for sure, but I once saw a guy playing with a set of Jazz golf clubs, and he had those real shifty, suspicious eyes. I’ve been looking for the tape for a few years now, but I swear that there was once a winner named “Winnie McContest.” <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/11/mcdonalds_lineUp_contest_thumb.gif target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/11/mcdonalds_lineUp_contest_thumb.gif border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a> In a related topic, I’ve always wondered about how the winners of the McDonald’s Power Play contest felt about having their order announced over the radio. I mean, it’s not like they were buying Dostoevsky first editions - everyone knows that Randy Flagstone from Chilliwack recently enjoyed a buffet of sadness. I thought that in the interest of scholarly research, I’d enter the Power Play contest. Much to my surprise, my entry was not dependent upon the purchase of a McDonald’s burger. Instead, I was simply asked what my favourite McDonald’s product might be. Evidently, when John Shorthouse announces that Donna Hoffningle won with the purchase of a Big Mac stuffed with a McFishwich, the “purchase” in question is completely fabricated. Does McDonald’s, an almost omnipresent restaurant chain, really need to invent these transactions? Are they adding them to the “Billions Served” total? Just something to think about. If, for some unknown reason, you’re still reading this, you’re probably wondering when, or if, I might start talking about hockey in what, ostensibly, is a blog devoted to the subject. Well get your eyeballs prepped, because here it comes... <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/164_hrs_thumb.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/01/164_hrs_thumb.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>With the Winter Classic recently taking place in Buffalo, it reminded me of an idea that was being batted around a couple years ago in Vancouver. While no one would be dense enough to suggest that an outdoor game would be possible in the bucket of depression known as a Vancouver winter, there was talk about holding a game in the confines of BC Place. While I’m sure it would be a success of some magnitude, does anyone actually think that the move across the street would benefit the game in any way? I’m sure the fan in Buffalo sitting in Seat 7, Row 836, thought that the novelty of seeing professional hockey players on an outdoor rink was worth sitting 8.3 miles away from the action, but given the opportunity, he’d probably appreciate the chance to be able to positively identify that amorphous blob as being Sidney Crosby. Remove the atmosphere and, really, the “Winter” from the Winter Classic, and you’re left with a game at BC Place. While the increased capacity could definitely benefit the fans who aren’t normally able to get tickets to the always sold-out games at GM Place, I somehow doubt that the “magic” of seeing Crosby score a shootout goal in a snow storm could be properly recreated inside the concrete-grey BC Place. So I guess I managed to muddle through a little case of writer’s block after all. Just goes to show you, a little bit of ingenuity paired with some elbow grease goes a long way, both in blogging and in life. Consider this entry as an example of the triumph of the human spirit. You’re welcome. Next week: Hey, what would it be like if monkeys played in the NHL? </td></tr></table>
  11. <table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>I feel that sometimes it's difficult to establish any sort of meaningful connection with you, the reader. I mean sure, I've received several emails from people telling me that my words have touched them on an emotional level they never knew existed, but until I can personally reach out and touch every one of you, a part of me remains unfulfilled. Seeing as how Christmas is fast approaching, I thought I'd give you the best gift of all: a piece of me. Specifically, a brief, but totally-true tale of how the Canucks and I found each other. I'll be perfectly honest, hockey wasn't even on my radar until about 2001. Up until that point, basketball was my world. Like so many, I was swept up in what could only be described as a hurricane-coated tsunami sweeping through the city: Big Country Reeves and his Vancouver Grizzlies. In what English professors refer to as "foreshadowing," I was writing a Grizzlies blog before the term "blog" even existed. Granted, it was mostly in the form of entries in a journal I had entitled "Hopes and Dreams vol. 3," but the basic bone structure was there. I even had a haircut like Big Country - I had originally asked the student barber for my usual Caesar cut (extra spikes in the front), but due to a little bit of fate and the shaky hand of an angel named Cindi, the end result closely resembled the patchy coiffe of my hero. Basketball had captured my heart and two of my three kidneys. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/avalanche01_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/avalanche01_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a> But I digress. The first Canuck game I ever attended was entirely by accident. On April 18th, 2001, the Grizzlies played their final game before being moved to Memphis. As the team was out of town, I traveled down to GM Place to inquire as to whether it might be possible to purchase a piece - a brick, or perhaps even a seat - of the soon-to-be demolished arena (I had naturally assumed that the building would be torn down as it had been rendered useless). Much to my surprise, instead of finding bulldozers and men in construction helmets pointing at things, the arena was alive with excitement. The "Canucks" - an upstart ice-hockey team - were playing the Colorado "Avalanche" in game four of their first-round playoff series. After a rather chance encounter with a delightful gentleman who serendipitously happened to be selling a ticket to that very game, I was transported into a world of ice and magic. And despite my ardent proclamations in the past that nothing on ice would ever come close to the excitement and beauty of IceCapades Presents: Tron, the display I saw that night came dangerously close. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/avalanche02_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/12/avalanche02_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>I was swept off of my feet like a manly princess, as the ice-hockey stars below plied their craft on a sheet of ice that glistened glow-beams right into the part of my brain that responded favourably to shiny things. Pat Kavanagh, back to Drake Berehowsky, over to Jason Strudwick! Icing! It was breathtaking. The broken shards of my heart, lying cold and brittle on the floor of my heart cavity, were quickly being mended by the steady hands and infectious smile of Denis Pederson. I vividly recall writing in Hopes and Dreams vol. 7 that finding the Canucks had to be more than Scott La"chance" (I was going through a rather difficult phase in which name puns amused me to no end). It was kismet. As fan favourites like Pat Kavanagh and Greg Hawgood left for presumably greener pastures, new faces rose up and filled the void. Before long, the bald patches on my head had grown out, and the Grizzlies were nothing but a distant memory - like a relative you saw on a fairly regular basis until they moved to Memphis. The Canucks were, and remain, an all-consuming force in my life. Dr. Hand, my therapist, says that I project the team's successes and failures upon my own psyche, but since they're coming off of a 5-0 shutout of the Devils, I'm too happy to care. Merry Christmas everyone. </td></tr></table>
  12. <table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>I thought I’d switch things up a bit and not regale you with my thoughts on the weekly minutia. Instead, here are some of the best hits ever thrown by a Canuck. I’m sure that there are some good ones from the 70s and 80s, but they aren’t readily available in video form, and well, you might not be too interested in reading about something you could be seeing. So here they are, the top 8 hits available on YouTube in Canucks history (feel free to disagree, because I’m sure you will): <br><br> <b>8. Jan Bulis on Jack Johnson</b><br><br> This one has just as much to do with context as anything else. The much-heralded prospect Jack Johnson, playing in his first NHL game, carries the puck down the wing as the Kings' announcers resist throwing their panties down to ice level with every fibre in their being. Jan Bulis - who's biggest contact up until that point involved mounting a Dallas Star and holding on for dear life - welcomes the new kid to the big leagues. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value=" name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src=" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object><br><br> <b>7. Jarkko Ruutu on Byron Ritchie</b><br><br> Now that Ritchie's a Canuck, watching him get absolutely leveled by former 'Nuck Jarkko Ruutu might not be quite as much fun as it once was; but it's still pretty awesome. Extra credit for the glove that goes flying. General mathematics of hits: big hit + airborn equipment = fun for all. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value=" name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src=" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object><br><br> <b>6. Gino Odjick on Dominik Hasek</b><br><br> Hands up if you dislike Dominik Hasek. Now hands up if you like Gino Odjick. I think I have something you might like. The hit itself might not be of the bone-crunching variety, but watching Hasek tumble like a Romanian gymnast is a delight for the eyeballs. As an added bonus, the foreign play-by-play in the clip gives it an international flair. Enjoy. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jUlIOTlwDw&rel=1"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jUlIOTlwDw&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jUlIOTlwDw&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object><br><br> <b>5. Todd Bertuzzi on Barrett Jackman</b><br><br> Some new to the sport might not realize, but at one time, Todd Bertuzzi actually considered the body check to be a worthwhile activity. Here's some evidence. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value=" name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src=" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object><br><bR> <b>4. Todd Bertuzzi on Chris Chelios</b><br><br> This is a hit that not only satiates the rods and cones in your eyes, but also enters the ears and massages the cochlea. I had to get technical there, because there is no other way of properly describing the sensation of seeing - and hearing - a geriatric defenceman get pasted to the end boards. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value=" name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src=" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object><br><br> <b>3. Pavel Bure on Shane Churla</b><br><br> As Don Cherry described it, "this is the mother of all elbows." Bure, who had been targeted by the Dallas Stars in their '94 playoff series, decided to exact some revenge. Some very illegal revenge. Nothing against the Sedins, but can you imagine one of them sticking up for themselves in a manner such as this? Bure will be remembered for scoring goals, but Shane Churla will never forget that he also possessed a bit of a mean streak. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value=" name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src=" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object> <br><br> <b>2. Trevor Linden on Jeff Norton</b><br><br> It should be noted that, for the most part, when the glass shatters in an arena, it's usually due to a very precise strike rather than the pure force of a check or a shot. Regardless of such "science," it's still totally awesome when it happens, as evidenced by Linden's hit on Jeff Norton. I'm sure the photographer in the front row wasn't expecting a shower of glass and sweaty athletes - but that's just what Linden bestowed upon him. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQEEAKcEoEA&rel=1"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQEEAKcEoEA&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQEEAKcEoEA&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object> <br><br> <b>1. Mike Peca on Teemu Selanne</b><br><br> Up until the Canucks-Jackets telecast last week, this hit managed to remain somewhat forgotten in Canucks' history. Mike Peca wasn't a Canuck for very long, but it was pretty evident that he would turn into the type of player he eventually came to be. A hit so devastating that both players suffered serious injuries, Peca broke his jaw and was out for a considerable period of time. Selanne's admiration of his own passes would never be the same. <br><br> <object width="325" height="255"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wclnrrir0T0&rel=1"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wclnrrir0T0&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wclnrrir0T0&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="325" height="255"></embed></object> </td></tr></table>
  13. <table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>So everything’s rosy again in Vancouver. Sure, we’re still only 3 points up on last place in the conference, but we’re only 3 points shy of fifth. We might be in the gutter, but we’re staring at the stars. Speaking of stars, if you become one playing hockey in Van-couver, it might be wise to do everything in your power to remain a Canuck. The follow-ing five players, all of whom played in Vancouver in 2005-06, failed to heed such ad-vice: <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/photos/mugs/thumb/8459444.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Todd Bertuzzi Then: A bruising power forward who could put the puck in the net, check an opponent through the end boards, and grow a beard that was thick but touchably soft - all before the end of the first period. While never quite returning to the dominating form he exhib-ited in 2002-03, he put up a respectable 71 points in his final season in Vancouver. Now: Apparently Todd decided to go as Eric Lindros for Hallowe’en and forgot to take his costume off. Currently sidelined with a concussion, Bertuzzi has suffered a variety of ailments, ranging from back to neck to the aforementioned concussion problems. Since being traded to Florida, he’s amassed a total of 13 points in 22 games played. He’s also currently getting paid $4 million by the Ducks. Counting last year, Todd has earned roughly $300,000 for every game he has played. To be fair though, he tried, in like, al-most half of them. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/photos/mugs/thumb/8460516.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Dan Cloutier Then: A dominating, firecracker of a goaltender who had the ability to single-handedly win games for his team. OK, maybe not, but he was...pretty good. Sometimes. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I really liked the guy while he was in Van-couver. He wasn’t in the company of the greats, but he put up some decent numbers while he was here. Three consecutive 30 win seasons, and a GAA of 2.27 in his best year is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, any guy who once pummeled Tommy Salo into sub-mission is alright in my books. Now: He’s...alive? I think? His bio says he’s playing for the King’s AHL farm team, the Manchester Monarchs. No word on how he’s doing, but according to Photoshop Maga-zine, Manchester now ranks as the nation’s top producer of images featuring large beach balls situated behind goaltenders. Oh, he’s also getting paid $3.1 million. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/photos/mugs/thumb/8460492.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Ed Jovanovski Then: Known as “Jovo-Cop,” he patrolled the Canuck blueline like no one else could. He could score, hit, and occasionally happen upon a defensive play or two in his own zone. In 2002-03, he tallied 46 points in 67 games, and was a +19 to boot. When he was on his game, he possessed the ability to carry his team on his back. Now: Jovo-Cop was asked to turn in his gun and badge. But not for being a loose can-non. It’s because he is...not...good at hockey. Yes, Jovo-MallSecurityGuard has also experienced the all-too-predictable fall after leaving Vancouver. Now in his second sea-son in Phoenix, Ed is a -10 through 16 games played. He also decided to pack a sou-venir from Vancouver when he departed for the desert: a penchant for abdominal inju-ries. I tried to tell him that a snowglobe would be more appropriate, but no, Eddie wanted to be a big boy and pack his own bag. The Coyotes are also paying him $7 mil-lion per. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/photos/mugs/thumb/8459156.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Anson Carter Then: The “other brother,” Anson was a nice complement to the Sedins. Carter racked up 33 goals with the twins, all but two of which were scored less than 3 inches from the goal line. After bouncing around from team to team prior to landing in Vancouver, Anson had found a comfortable place to play out the next few years of his career. All that was required for him to cash in on a nice little raise was to realize that the twins made him, not the other way around... Now: ...woops. Instead of signing whatever Nonis put in front of him, Carter’s camp felt that it was a prudent business move to play hardball and wait for the offers to roll in. I mean, surely, a 33 goal scorer would be a rare commodity on the free market, right? However, what Carter and co. hadn't counted on was that general managers around the league would have a temporary moment of clarity and recognize what Carter had re-fused to: no twins, no goals. After finally landing in Carolina, Anson managed only a third of the tallies he had scored in his lone season in Vancouver. He is now the leading scorer for the (Toronto Maple Leafs) some team in Switzerland. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/photos/mugs/thumb/8467913.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Alex Auld Then: Fresh off of an team MVP season in 2005-06, Alex appeared to be ready to han-dle the starter’s role in Vancouver, a task that many had failed to accomplish in the past. Posting 33 wins, a goals against south of 3, and a save percentage north of .900, Auld posted decent numbers for a sub-decent team. In the summer of 2006, he could often be overheard uttering his newly-coined catchphrase, “everything’s coming up Alex!” That is, until it all came crashing down on the 23rd of June. While many Canuck fans equate that day with Christmas (it was, after all, the day the saviour was born in Van-couver), Alex might rate it up there with receiving a prostate exam while being audited. Now: Being traded for Luongo was the beginning of the spiral into oblivion for Auld. Af-ter losing his starting role in Florida to a 78 year old Ed Belfour, Alex resurfaced as the seventh-string goalie in Phoenix, a team known for its mediocre goaltending. Recent highlights for Alex include his trip to the Grand Canyon, learning to speak French, and perfecting his impression of one those Tiny Tot goaltenders who play at intermission as he let in Jeremy Roenick’s 500th career goal. Let this stand as a warning to any current Canuck who is thinking of testing the market once his contract is up: unspeakable horrors lie ahead (of course, you will be compen-sated handsomely). </td></tr></table>
  14. <table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Being a Canuck fan really is a special thing. It's a club that sees every member endure a rite of initiation. Invariably, that initiation is one of disappointment. I'm sure that there are plenty of people that might say that they started following the team when the West Coast Express was at their peak; others might say it was Roberto Luongo's arrival. However, it is the true Canuck fan that comes back after having their heart broken. My own induction came in 1994, as the Canucks reached the Stanley Cup Finals, only to...actually, my mind has completely erased game seven from its memory bank, but people tell me that they didn't manage to win. Now, many would argue that the '94 playoff represents the pinnacle of hockey in this city. All I know is that pinnacles shouldn't make an eleven year old kid stain his dinosaur-themed bed spread with salty tears. And I had been eating Salt'n'Vinegar chips that night, so those tears were extra salty. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/07/jul2607_morrison13_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/07/jul2607_morrison13_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Relatively recent members (those who began watching the team in the WCE era) might site their induction point as game seven of the 02-03 Western Conference semi-finals against the Minnesota Wild. Up 2-1 going into the third, the Wild scored three unanswered to take a series in which they were down 3 games to 1. According to some, the 07-08 season might just be the next galvanizing disappointment. Admittedly, things haven't gotten off to the best start. Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa are both facing lengthy time on the injured reserve, and the team is once again having troubles putting the puck in the net. Mix in the fact that Roberto Luongo has yet to find the elite form he established last season, and you're bound to have some rough outings. Of course, as I'm writing this, the Canucks have just put forth their (arguably) most complete effort of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Avalanche, so it's tough to get a good read on where the team stands. But I think it's fairly obvious that the team isn't exactly foreshadowing a deep run in the playoffs; and on some level, there's something comforting about that. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/11/nov0307_avs13_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/11/nov0307_avs13_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>I recently had a conversation with a friend about what it would be like if the Canucks went all the way one of these seasons. I had a hard time imagining my reaction, but for some reason, I envisioned that I might feel a loss of identity (I fully realize that I just associated my identity with losing, but I can't think of a convincing argument to dissuade such a correlation). Now don't get me wrong, I would love nothing more than to see the team I have spent countless hours watching win the Stanley Cup. But I imagine that such an event might be comparable to a father giving away his daughter on her wedding day; it's a bittersweet confrontation of joy and loss. It's a feeling that Anaheim Ducks fans couldn't understand. It's all early success and delightful family comedies starring Emilio Estevez in Southern California. There was a time when Boston Red Sox fans might find solace in an empathetic head-nod from a Canuck fan, but that elephant got up and left the room in 2004, and recently returned only to leave a peanuty heap of dung on the carpet. Indeed, The Confederation Of Frustrated Fans Enduring Ennui (COFFEE) is dwindling by the year (don't you love forced acronyms?). There will probably come a day when the Canucks win the Cup, but until then, the official fan club (and I’m not referring to C-Force) will be initiating new members, broken hearts and all. </td></tr></table>
  15. <table border=0 align=center width=90%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>A lot of you* have sent in letters asking me what being a blogger is like, so I thought I’d indulge your curiosities with a behind-the-scenes look into my life. Last Wednesday, I kept a diary as I went about my day. Some of it is pretty normal stuff, some of it will blow. your. mind. So enjoy the unabridged record of my life on Wednesday, October 10th. 4:30 am: It’s early, but I like to start my day off with squat thrusts and chopping wood. The burn in my thighs is deep, but I feel alive. Only fifteen hours until the Canucks take on the Flyers. It’s going to be a good day. 5:45 am: A light breakfast consisting of a grapefruit quarter and a dozen raw eggs. 6:00 am: I dictate my day’s schedule to Lupé, my personal assistant. We argue briefly about the socio-political vendetta of land reforms in Sri Lanka, but Lupé’s inability to speak English greatly impedes this conversation. Thirteen and one-half hours until puck drop. 6:30 am: I retire to my den to watch Saved By the Bell. Jesse Spano’s addiction to caffeine pills is especially troubling.<a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1007_canuckvsflyer04_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1007_canuckvsflyer04_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a> 3:30 pm: It seems I fell asleep while watching SBTB. Downside: the children at the orphanage went without Uncle Mikey’s Story Time and Vitamin Bonanza. Upside: Only four hours until game time. 4:00 pm: Preparation for tonight’s game has begun. I travel downtown to my bank branch and withdraw $12.95 (plus an allowance for applicable taxes) in order to purchase the game on pay-per-view. PPV games are always a little more exciting, because it feels like a small form of gambling. What if they play poorly? Oh, the waste of $12.95 plus applicable taxes! However, I’m pretty confident that this will be money well invested. 6:45 pm: More squat thrusts. 7:30 pm: Game time. The atmosphere in my den is electric. This should make up for the time last time the Flyers were in town, when my friend Andrew and I had box seats on New Year’s Eve, only to watch Simon Gagne score the game-winning goal with less than three seconds left on the clock. Yes, revenge will be my candy. Sweet, sweet revenge candy. 7:52 pm: Jeff Carter scores. All right boys, chins up! Let’s get it back quick! 7:53 pm: R.J. Umberger nets one. Why did it have to be Umberger? Okay, no big deal. A little quick for my liking, but we’re only down 2-0. <a href=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1007_canuckvsflyer08_b.jpg target=_blank><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/10/oct1007_canuckvsflyer08_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>7:57 pm: Shannon! You know, I had a good feeling about this guy. Couple goals already...looks like we’ve solved our problems up front! This guy isn’t getting sent down any time soon. 2-1 Flyers. ‘Nucks are on the comeback trail. 8:04 pm: Damn. 8:07 pm: Oh God No!!! 8:16 pm: End of the first. Down 4-1. Uphill, but totally doable. Totally. 8:33 pm: Start of the second. Here we go, boys! 8:34 pm: Are you kidding me?!?! 8:35 pm: I make a frantic phone call to Shaw explaining that my PPV order didn’t go through properly. The gentleman on the other end calmly explains that he is aware that I am lying. He also persuades me to subscribe to Showcase Diva. I am fuming. 9:28 pm: Finish watching Desperate Housewives on Showcase Diva. That Edie is a maneater! Watch out guys, this cat’s got claws! 9:29 pm: Flip back to the game. Seems as though we’re on a 5 on 3 powerplay (wonder what happened?). Well, it’s 7-2, but maybe we can build a little confidence going forw...whoa, bad pass by Shann...damn. 8-2. 9:30 pm: Put on my sweats, get out a pint of chunky monkey, and relax with my new-found friends from Wisteria Lane. Oh Showcase Diva, such sweet comfort in times of despair. Hey, a Blossom marathon is coming up next! Things are looking up. *Not that many.** **Nobody. </td></tr></table>