Grading Each Great Canucks Rivalries

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Canucks Rivalries
Image VIA theprovince.com

Over the years the Canucks have had some spicy rivalries, and more still to come. All the Canucks rivalries have been built through playoff heartbreak for Vancouver, or fierce matchups. Some ended in pain and misery. Others faded away without much notice, and one imparticular made fans feel on top of the world.

Canucks vs Bruins

The Canucks and Bruins rivalry was short-lived, especially for the Bruins. It all started back in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, a series that still makes Canucks fans cringe. From the Bruins throwing the Sedins around like rag dolls to Johnny Boychuk breaking Mason Raymond back on what most fans still believe was a dirty hit. The Bruins took their lone matchup in the playoffs causing Canucks fans to burn down the city of Vancouver. Hometown boy Milan Lucic added fuel to the fire when he brought the cup back to Vancouver for his day with the cup. While their rivalry was in full swing, a couple of classless fans decided to take things too far. In December 2013 one fan decided it would be a good idea to attack Lucic at a club in downtown Vancouver, and in February 2012 another fan decided to spray paint profanity directed at Lucic on the wall of the church his family attended. The rivalry has simmered over the years due to lack of interactions and the Canucks losing aggression towards Boston. If the rivalry lasted longer, and the Bruins had hated the Canucks more, the grade would be higher.  

Grade: C+

Canucks vs Maple Leafs

Many will argue that the Canucks and Maple Leafs aren’t rivals. But this is more than hockey, this is Vancouver vs Toronto. The cities will forever argue who’s the best city in Canada and the only thing people can compare is the hockey teams. The teams meet twice a year and when the Leafs roll into town their fans take over the Rogers Arena. The rivalry is never too exciting on the ice but there is usually something going on off the ice. In 2017 local country star Dallas Smith and Leafs super fan “Dart Guy” made a bet on a Canucks and Leafs game. The Canucks would win the game resulting in “Dart Guy” having to show up to Rogers Arena to watch his Leafs play with a Canucks jersey and his face painted blue and green. Although this isn’t a true rivalry it will be around for years to come, no matter what state either teams are in.

Grade: C-

Canucks vs Flames

The Flames could be the Canucks fiercest rival. But like the other teams, the Canucks aren’t the Flames rivals as they have their province nemesis Oilers. Although, the Canucks and Flames have had their moments. In early 2014 the teams went toe to toe in a line brawl to start of the game and Canucks hot-headed coach at the time John Tortorella took things to an extreme by trying to get into the Flames dressing room during the first intermission. Going back even further to the early to mid-2000s Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf would wreak havoc on ice beating up Canucks players whenever he had the chance. The Flames also soured a long time Canuck Trevor Linden’s final game in Vancouver, beating the Canucks 7-1. The rivalry has slowed down due to both teams not being very competitive lately, but the flame is bound to ignite in the future with the Flames having instigator Matthew Tkachuk on their side.

Grade: B+

Canucks vs Blackhawks

Vancouver vs Chicago was one of the fiercest rivalries in the NHL while it was going on. Fans were into it and the players showed pure hatred on the ice. The modern-day Blackhawks vs Canucks rivalry stems from three consecutive playoff matchups, during the first two meetings Chicago would rip out Canucks’ fans hearts. But in 2011 Alexandre Burrows would do what was seemingly impossible and “Slay the dragon” in overtime of game 7. Although the rivalry seemed to ignite in 2009 when then Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien would run goalie Roberto Luongo. Like most Canucks rivalries this one has run its course, but back in its day, it was nothing less than exciting.

Grade: A

Canucks vs Seattle

Although Seattle doesn’t even have a team name yet, they will have a team come 2021. With the geographical proximity, the two teams are destined for a rivalry. It’ll all start with who Seattle takes from Vancouver in the expansion draft. Then when they meet for the first time in the ice it will be electric. This could turn out to be one of the Canucks” greatest rivalries. For now, fans will just have to wait and imagine what the battle of Peace Arch will be like.

Grade: Undetermined

Canucks vs Draft Lottery

Vancouver is one of the few teams left without being rewarded with the first overall pick in the lottery. They are the oldest team without the honor. Aside from never winning the lottery since the turn of the century, they haven’t had the best luck in the lottery, it seems every year they are eligible they drop down instead of moving up. This rivalry is still in full swing, but Canucks fans would love to see it end sooner than later.

Grade: B

The Canucks have had some entertaining rivalries. They have some short-lived rivalries and some that are still smoldering. As the years go on some new ones will come. And hopefully, some of the ones in the past will rekindle. But now the fans have to sit back and wait for a true Canucks rival.


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