It’s April and there is still NHL hockey being played daily but for the first time since Trevor Linden’s retirement was a Canucks storyline, the Canucks aren’t playing it. Hey! Trevor’s back! Dammit Trevor. This must be your fault.
If watching multiple games of Canucks hockey every week has been part of your schedule since October you might be feeling a little bit of a void. Here’s some great ways to fill it.
Canucks games normally start between noon and 2pm in Australia. You can get back to actually being productive in your workplace now.
That’s no fun? Here are some better ways.
Adopt a play off team or eight
Play off hockey is excellent hockey and if you love excellent hockey you should already be watching it. It has been really fun to watch the LA Kings lose 6-3 and 7-2 to the San Jose Sharks while thinking If the Canucks had just managed to get third in the Pacific, that could have been us being swept by the Sharks! Again!
It really helps you to feel good that our players are dancing badly at Coachella instead of playing hockey at this time of year.
The only bad thing about the playoffs is watching Dale Weise score in OT.
The next several weeks will be way more fun if you adopt a team to follow. I apply a list of filters to the 16 teams until I have a bunch left that I could probably be happy for, if I really tried hard.
- Not the Habs. Sorry Montreal, but if that cup is ever coming back to Canada I want it to be my team with it above their heads.
- No teams that haven’t won before. I know Columbus are the sentimental favourites with a lot of hockey fans but our little party of loser teams is quite small and I want to be the first one to leave it.
- Not Detroit or LA. In the circles I frequent online their fans are the most obnoxious. I want them to never feel joy again.
- Not the Rangers. We already know they won the coach trade, we don’t need more proof.
That leaves me with Colorado, Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, Boston, Tampa, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. That’s a solid 8 of 16. I’d knock out Boston if they didn’t have Iginla. I’m a sucker for the feel good old man cup winning story (see: Selanne, Teemu)
My number one adopted team was picked with my heart instead of my brain.
Follow the AIHL
“The NHL playoffs will be done by June,” I hear you say. “I want to watch hockey for all of winter!”
I meet Canadians all the time who don’t realise there is hockey locally but they and you are in luck. The Australian Ice Hockey League started its season last weekend and it runs until the end of August. By the time it wraps up, the NHL teams will be starting their prospect camps and you’ll have realised there is no such thing as a hockey off season. It’s such a good league even the hockey ruining ponies over at My Little Blackhawk are on board.
With eight teams in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra there is quality hockey being played near the majority of the Australian population. If you can’t make it to the games in person you can still watch them as this year at least half the teams are streaming their games online.
My favourite team are arguably the most fan friendly in the league. The Melbourne Mustangs are the most interactive on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and regularly post new content on their website. They just missed out on the finals last year but this year are looking stronger than ever. Get on board now so when they become Goodall Cup champions and everyone gets on the bandwagon you can say you were there first.
“I’m excited for my new life as a Mustangs fan but I really do miss Eddie Lack” you cry, because Eddie Lack is the best.
The best of the best except for the best who are still in the NHL playoffs will be at the IIHF World Championships in Belarus from 9-25 May. Eddie Lack will be there playing for Sweden which is a great excuse to watch this video.
He’s not going alone either as Alex Burrows, Jason Garrison and Kevin Bieksa will all be suiting up for Team Canada. Jannik Hansen and Nicklas Jensen are in the Danish team and Yannick Weber will be playing for Switzerland. That’s enough Canucks to get a fix, right?
UPDATE 24/4: Eddie Lack isn’t going anymore. You’re dead to me, Team Sweden.
Per Team Sweden, Eddie Lack will not be attending the Worlds. He will be tended to in Vancouver for maintenance before off-season training.
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) April 23, 2014
Adopt a short term view
Alongside watching the AIHL every weekend, bite sized NHL chunks are the key to getting through this long winter. After we get through the playoffs and the world champs, the 2014 NHL Entry Draft is one short month later, on June 27-28. Before then we should have news about a new GM, which will fill in a day or five. Comparing his drafting ability to the well documented fails of Mike Gillis will take up another five. After the draft you have to keep an eye on free agency as players can be gained and lost at any time, and the Young Stars tournament is not far behind that. Will my favourite prospect Hunter Shinkaruk make the team this year?
Breaking the Canucks off season into little snippets of NHL excitement and counting down to one at a time rather than counting down all 163 days to October is the key to survival, my friends. Stay strong.