Exile On Main Street (And Pender, And Cambie, And Hastings....)

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For those of you who don't know, I live in Vancouver. What does that mean? It means it's raining right now (this will be true at any time for the next six months). It means Starbucks outnumber bars about 45 to 1. It means one city of two million people where both daily papers are owned by CanWest and differ only in the number of syllables they use to say that homeless people, drug addicts, and the mentally ill should be chained to a garbage barge and sunk in the Georgia Strait. It means the Georgia Straight, an "alternative" newspaper devoted to multipage spreads on condo decoration and yoga trends. I know this blog is supposed to be devoted to the centre of the bad sportswriting universe, but as long as I am exiled here, far away from the land of the Buds, Labatt 50, and lakes that are warm enough to swim in, you can indulge me from time to time.

Worst of all, Vancouver means the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks? I hear you say. Who cares? Indeed. That was my attitude before I came out here. You know, cute team, floundered around, Harold Snepts, never won anything, change their uniforms every laundry day. The Canucks. What you don't know is the combination of hockey ignorance (Sedins are first-liners), mindless boosterism (tons of people still love Bertuzzi) and an irrational hatred of the Leafs that means you have to take crap about 1967 from fans of a franchise that have never won anything. This is like Dane Cook ragging on Gene Hackman's acting career. I mean, he hasn't won Best Actor since 1971! What a loser!

Ugh. I'd managed to forget about most of this all summer, but made the mistake of listening to local drivetime jackholes Pratt and Taylor on the way home from work today. The lads were all jiggered up about Vancouver's sterling record in a bunch of games that don't count (here's a hint guys: Pittsburgh went 1-7 last year), frothing mad about the Star's prediction of a dead-last Canucks finish.

Particular ire was directed at a shot taken at franchise saviour Kyle Wellwood. "They just went on Google for five minutes and saw the picture of him with the beer belly and went with that."  Yeah, or maybe they caught his own coach calling him out in training camp for showing up out of shape again. Either way.
Anyways, Pratt, Taylor, and the other guy in the booth passed around the one brain they share and decided that this was yet another example of the Toronto media having their knives out for the Canucks. Another chapter in the storied rivalry that reaches back through playing each other once a year (maybe) for the last decade and a half, to the 1994 conference finals, to that time in 1988 when Al Secord boarded Tony Tanti, or something. People in Vancouver honestly believe there is some sort of bitter feud going on here. Here's a quick memo for the next Canucks fans who wants to razz me over a beer. Here are the teams that Leafs fans hate:

1. Montreal Canadiens
2. Ottawa Senators
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
345. Cleveland Crusaders
346. Belleville Bulls
347. Cracovia Krakow
348. Vancouver Canucks
349. Miller Chev-Olds Midnight Marauders

Look, it's not Toronto's fault the Canucks have no local rivals. Do an exhibition game with the Seatle Thunderbirds, maybe that'll get something going.

But the cherry on the failure cake was when the chuckleheads asked "Where'd they pick the Leafs"? "Oh, Stanley Cup, no doubt." Important point here: these guys wear Canucks shirts on the air. Can you imagine McCown in a Leafs shirt? You'd have to knock him out and staple it to his chest. But, yes, ho ho, the legendary suck up Toronto media. Why just today, the very same Star giftwrapped this love letter to the team and the fans:


Fuck, I don't know if it's harder living there or here.


LeafFanInVan said:

Amen brutha..

Let us not forget having to suffer through sportsnet broadcasts with that mustachioed clown John Garratt and his rampant homerism. Interestingly, it seems the only thing that takes precedence for his Canucks-tinted-glasses is his loyalty to his goalie brethren.

Canucks fans are ill-informed, fickle idiots. The benefit of living here as a Leaf fan is that by and large the other Leaf fans you encounter are thoughtful and knowledgeable. We don't have to endure the embarrassment of being identified with the hordes of mouthbreathing, semi-retarded, blindingly intoxicated Leaf fans that presumably must exist in a market as huge as Toronto.

So what's your prediction on when the media here sours on Wellwood? Once the media sours on him, by default the fans are sour too because all they know about the team is what they read in the Province..

paulf said:

Do an exhibition game with the Seatle Thunderbirds.

They'd better hurry. The T-Birds are moving to Kent partway through next season. Which leaves Key Arena with one tenant: the WNBA Storm.

Yeah, I live here. Nobody knows what a puck is. Save me.

Kim Jorn said:

I love that Total Pratt and Failure can't even comprehend that the Toronto mittenstringers aren't total homers. Say what you will about Cox, Simmons, Berger and the rest, at least they aren't waving pom-poms.

The Vancouver sports media makes the US media in the lead-up to the Iraq War, Fox News at the Republican convention, and Vince McMahon doing colour on a Hogan match in 1988 look like rational and reasonable commentary and coverage.

I don't miss it one bit.

loser domi said:

This is like Dane Cook ragging on Gene Hackman's acting career. I mean, he hasn't won Best Actor since 1971! What a loser!

+10. You guys rock

349. Miller Chev-Olds Midnight Marauders

I don't know. Those guys had that old junior washup that always slashes the back of your legs. I think we can switch them with the Canucks.

goddtill said:

I would predict that Wellwood gets raked over the coals once Vigneault starts healthy scratching him in November, but the Steve Sullivan Corollary means he'll probably score 70 points.

Paul, I feel your pain. Seattle is truly a horrific sports town right now. Safeco's a nice park, though.

Karina said:

I, too, have to face the Canucks fans as I live in Vancouver.

Pratt and Taylor are just unbelievable. My husband used to drive me to work in the morning and force me to listen to them (he's a Canucks fan... yeah, I know) and really, the hate that they have for the City of Toronto seems to be the only thing that is stronger than their blind love of the Canucks.

I think it'll take them the first month of the season to sour on Wellwood. He'll get up and be a man for a few preseason games, but I think that he'll start coasting and be pushed around physically more now, and the first time he coughs up the puck in front of their God, Luongo, he'll be crucified.

And the next time someone brings up 1994, I swear I'm gonna cut their head off. It's unbelievable how they hang on to their game 7 loss as if it was a cup win, and somehow that makes their franchise more successful than the Leafs.

Godd Till said:

I didn't realize so many Blocheads were sharing the pain out here on the West Coast! Stay strong, brothers and sisters.

Karina, remember that this is a franchise that venerates Stan Smyl and Trevor Linden as all time greats. They have a very flexible definition of success.

LeafFanInVan said:

I don't listen to the sports radio in town here (to spare myself the pain) and I'm guessing Taylor is the same doofus on Sportsnet? The one who does the "funny" voices and recycles the same tired, tired, lame, tired, lame, tired, weak jokes night after night?

Singlehandedly drove me to never ever watch sportsnet outside of game times. Awful! I seem to recall his schtick way back on CKVU (now CityTv here) and being irritated by it back then. Possibly one of the reasons this west coast native forsake the canucks at an early age too.

Godd Till said:

Well, at least Taylor's made one contribution to society besides propping up Aqua Net's share price.

Another reason Connected is unwatchable out here - the typical lineup is:

Western Conference
gasbags talking about Canucks more
Danish Team Handball
Eastern Conference highlights
Leafs highlights
more Canucks
the end

Steve said:

To be fair, it's not just Vancouver fans who're like that: Calgary fans are equally bad, and they're equally convinced there's a sinister, mass conspiracy at work in Southern Ontario designed to destroy any part of Canada west of Owen Sound. On a related note, last year I stood up in a crowded Vancouver sports bar before a Canucks game and bellowed "STANLEY'S COMING HOME!!!" after the Leafs won the early game in overtime. That was a great day; thanks for helping the memories flood back!

Godd Till said:

Amazing, Steve, well played.

Is there a bar in Vancouver where Leafs fans get together to watch games? There are certainly enough of us, and I'd love a chance to break out my Felix the Cat jersey in public.

Karina said:

Hah, good job, Steve.

I can't match that, but 2 years ago when the Canucks were in the playoffs and Robson St. was flooded 'cause they won a series, I headed out there in my Eastern Conference all-star jersey (only because of the lack of a decent women's leafs jersey) and it caused quite a stir.

And Godd, that Trevor Linden is considered an all-time great here is why it made me retch when they made that ludicrous offer to Sundin. If he signed here, he'd automatically become the best player in franchise history. And they don't deserve that... they need to be stuck with their Lindens and Smyls.

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This page contains a single entry by Godd Till published on October 6, 2008 8:37 PM.

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