The Vancouver Canucks: Grudges & Hard Feelings and the 2011 NHL Playoffs.

The attractive thing about the Oilers not making it to the playoffs (and in fact coming in dead-last in the NHL) has three perks: 1) Oilers fans are constantly ridiculed, constantly out of the playoffs, and we knew going into February even, that we weren’t going to make it, thus creating less heartache in mid-April; 2) we got the first-round draft pick for next year (hell yeah); and 3) the Oilers have a fine, upstanding legacy that we can always look at; the team has changed but the brand name has remained consistantly a force to be reckoned with, and that’s something nobody can take away from us.

The Calgary Flames were also disappointingly ousted towards the end of the regular season and so the Western Canadian “hope” for the Stanley Cup rests with the big guns of the 2010-11 regular season, the oh-so-smug and slick Vancouver Canucks. I’m sure Vancouverites are stoked with the news that their mediocre team has finally managed to snap up some of the league’s best players and made it to the top.

I however, am not so stoked about this. In fact, I hate the Vancouver Canucks; I hate everything they stand for. I see the kelly green and royal blue combo depicted anywhere, even in a non-hockey related context, and my blood boils. Any Vancouver Canucks fan would say that as an Oilers fan, I’m “living in the past” and I can’t “fault someone for being good” and I should stop being so jealous….

Jealous? No, I’m not jealous. I’m not jealous of a team that happens to make good choices with their draft picks and knows how to temporarily build an “empire”. Any NHL organization can do that eventually if given the opportunity. Think about it: the Blackhawks, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Washington and perhaps one day soon, even Edmonton… with the right draft picks and good timing, teams rise, new and upcoming players steal the crowns of the older and less agile ex-superstars, and the cycle begins again. Sure… Vancouver might be on top now, but they won’t always be. Edmonton was on top once, and look where we are now. Vancouver’s time to rise is now, but the fall will come, just as it does with every team. Jealous? Oh no… that is certainly not why I hate the Vancouver Canucks.

I hate the Vancouver Canucks because I hold grudges. Maybe this is crazy. Maybe it is seriously problematic. Maybe it makes me a crazy person who cannot decompartmentalize or disassociate, and maybe it makes me a poor sport. However, I never claimed to be a good sport in my own life, as most people don’t when the chips don’t fall their way. I’m a terrible whiner and I do not believe in the notion of “forgive and forget”.

What I associate with the Vancouver Canucks, is someone from one of my past encarnations who ripped my internal organs – all of them – out of my chest, ground them up into a powder, and mailed each microscopic granule back to me individually for the better part of two years. When I see the blue and green and that Goddamn smiling whale, what I think of are the following: heartlessness, my own stupidity, deep-rooted and unforgiveable anger, and my own destruction of self. Yes, all these extremely melodramatic emotions are indeed manifested by an NHL hockey team. For this reason, whether the Canucks have a great season, or whether they have a poor season — whether they never ever win a cup or whether (GOD GOD GOD GOD FORBID) this is their Stanley Cup year… I shall hate them forever; I shall never succumb to their stupid organization, their lousy smug attitude, the fucking Sedins and that pissant high-maintanence diva Roberto Luongo. So much so, that I may have even sabotaged my own playoff fantasy hockey draft contest picks because I chose neither of the Sedins; no Canuck shall have a place on my fantasy team. I chose Ovechkin.

Hard feelings are difficult to shake, and the shape those hard feelings takes comes in many forms; one can end up hating a band, a restaurant, an article of clothing, just based on the fact that they’re a spurned lover or have developed some other sort of personal aversion. Similarly, I also hate the San Jose Sharks for similar reasons; negative connotations based on the love of that team by people that have made unwelcome intrusions on my good memories in one of my former lives.

Thus, sorry Vancouver – there will be no waving of the white towels from me.