Are you over it yet?
It’s been almost a week since the Canucks completely blew, ahem, I mean lost to a hungry and youthful Calgary Flames squad. Don’t worry Canuck fans, even if the team has disappointed you in their last three first round series, there could always be someone else to cheer for.
This is the best time of year to watch NHL hockey even if your favourite team hasn’t made it through to the final eight. Whether you’re supporting some local B.C. talent, putting your hopes in for a Canadian team to lift the cup, or seeing an old rival meet the same fate as the Canucks, there are still plenty of reasons to watch hockey this time of year.
Here are three teams that Canuck fans should cheer for the rest of the way.
Although they almost blew a 3-0 series lead to the Ottawa Senators, Montreal managed to climb aboard the Carey Price express and now find themselves in a second round matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Price had an MVP worthy season in Montreal and he is carrying similar numbers through one round of playoff hockey. The native of Anahim Lake, B.C., is putting the team on his back right now, and will face another tough test against the team who led the league in goals during the regular season.
Aside from Price’s play on the ice, he is a respectable person from his actions off the ice as well. Price and his wife, Angela, became First Nations ambassadors for the Breakfast Club of Canada. It led to the trip of a lifetime for Anahim Lake native Trent Leon.
Another reason for Canucks fans to hop on the Canadiens bandwagon is because of Dale Weise. The gritty winger was under-utilized during his time in Vancouver, but the fans love him in Montreal. He was voted the team’s unsung hero during their annual team awards, and has already stepped up during the playoffs with a big overtime goal in game three.
Canuck fans should smile if they see these two players lift a cup over their head. Besides, who doesn’t want to see how the always calm Price will react if he actually wins the cup.
The Capitals make the gruelling trip from Long Island to Manhattan to take on the New York Rangers in round two. Alex Ovechkin and company are going to have to find another gear to take down the top team in the Eastern Conference.
Evgeny Kuznetzov stole the show during game seven, but they will need other depth players from their roster to chip in if they plan on competing in this series.
They might get some help from Vancouver native Troy Brouwer. He had a slow start in round one, registering only two assists, but his plethora of playoff experience could come in handy if the Caps go on a run. His 71 postseason games are second on the team only to Brooks Orpik.
Burnaby native Karl Alzner has also been a bright spot on the Caps roster, and registered two goals in their first round matchup. He has quietly rounded out into a solid top four defencemen, and will have to continue his solid play in this series.
The Capitals are the only playoff team left with two B.C. natives. Aside from that, I don’t think there is a Canucks fan out there who wants to see the Rangers lift the Cup again. Cue the Mark Messier nightmares.
Although the Flames defeated the Canucks, the rivalry is just being renewed. Up until this season, watching games between the Canucks and Flames was like watching an older brother beat up his younger brother, over and over again. With Calgary’s rise back to prominence, that shouldn’t be the case any longer.
Canuck fans shouldn’t have any vile feelings towards the Flames after round one because Calgary was simply the better team. They outworked the Canucks and were the hungrier team in the series. Any hard feelings from Canucks fans should be directed towards the Canucks for blowing a three goal lead in game six. They deserved to lose after that.
Bitterness aside, the Flames are the Cinderella story of the NHL this season. Hartley has led their young guns to the second round despite no one giving them a chance. Now they get a chance to play the Anaheim Ducks in yet another matchup where everyone is counting them out.
You have to give a hand to Calgary while their magical run continues. From a Canucks point of view, would you really rather see Ryan Kesler lifting the cup over his head?