(Ed. Note: As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. Gone but not forgotten, we've asked for these losers to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here is Matt from Battle of Alberta, fondly recalling the Vancouver Canucks.)
Friends... relatives... web-related acquaintances...
We are gathered here today to mark the passing of the 2008/2009 Vancouver Canucks. Let us pause for a moment of silence, to reflect on what might have been. But mostly to allow GM Place staff to clear debris tossed by petulant fans.
The Canucks are gone, and all we are left with is questions. Why did it happen so suddenly? Should we have seen it coming? Why is it impossible to find a single hockey fan, outside of British Columbia, that feels the slightest bit of warmth towards them?
Will their passing hit loved ones particularly hard, given the uncertainty it creates going forward? The Sedin Crania, surely their two best skaters, will either be gone, or their return will prohibit the acquisition of much else.
And speaking of that: What will become of Bobby Lou? If he enters the final season of his contract without an extension in place, he'll be the subject of media harassment and annoyance that will far surpass the eye-glazing Sundin/Leafs/NTC saga of Winter 2007/08.
Friendless, greenhorn GM Mike Gillis will be overseeing the autopsy, and thus far in his short career, has mostly resisted external pressure to do something for its own sake. Will he have the sack to keep holding out, especially given that his tubby predecessor took a bullet for sitting on his thumb? In fact, are we sure he knows what he's doing at all, or was the patience actually first-day jitters, and now he's going to start dealing like Doug MacLean?
And the second is that they have an average-ish defense corps all being paid like they're indispensable. Kevin Bieksa(notes) is a poor man's Roman Hamrlik(notes); Alex Edler is a poor man's Michal Roszival; Matthias Ohlund is a poor man's 2004 Matthias Ohlund; and Willie Mitchell(notes) is basically Rob Scuderi(notes), but with a long history of playing in front of good goalies.
Actually, would putting Willie Mitchell on the next one-way flight to the Reggie Cleveland Hall of Fame entice Roberto Luongo(notes) to re-sign? Surely I'm not the only one who's noticed that for every ten times Louie ends up underneath an opposing forward, eight are the result of Willie Mitchell sending a message with a hard crosscheck (message = "Here, have a free tumble onto my All-Star goalie.")
Does Ryan Kesler(notes) win some kind of Smartest Man in Hockey award for his pre-G6 quote: "We can't have the mindset going into the game that we want to have a 6-5 game because that's not our style."
So many questions, and frankly, the answers can wait for another day.
For now, please join me in dancing on the grave of the 2008/2009 Vancouver Canucks. Just watch out for those chai lattes being launched from the upper bowl.
- Willie Mitchell