How Passionate are Canucks Fans?

In a poll conducted Tuesday by Team 1040 Radio, 40 per cent of Vancouver Canucks fans polled said they would give up sex for a year if the team won the Stanley Cup.

Actor AJ Buckley cheers during Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Canucks and Blackhawks

The poll was a crossover from a recent English poll that suggested that 12 per cent of soccer fans would give up sex for a year if the Three Lions won the World Cup.  Neither of the polls indicated the percentages as broken down by gender, but I assume it’s safe to say that the majority would be male.  Regardless, the number is quite impressive when you think about what’s at stake.  Personally, having followed the Canucks faithfully for 28 years, and hoped, laughed and cried along with them every step of the way, I still don’t know that I would wager a year without sex.  I don’t think my fiance would appreciate me placing that kind of bet either.  It kind of makes me wonder if they’re engaging in the same activity…

Canucks fans at GM Place show their support during Game 3 of the semifinals (All photos courtesy of Yardbarker)

The beauty of polls like this is that no one will be held responsible to carry out the parameters of the wager.  With that in mind, let’s follow through on my promise to take a look at the personnel that will (or will not) help Vancouver reach the Holy Grail.

Fans jested (coach) Vigneault should have let Demitra wear his Slovakian uniform during games to improve his performance

Pavol Demitra:

Age: 35

Cap Hit: $4,000,000

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Stats (Games, Goals, Assists, Total points)

28 games      3-13-16    +3 rating

Playoffs:  11 games,  2-4-6    +2 rating

Pavol Demitra turned out to be another Canuck Free Agent experiment  gone awry.  Based on The Province (newspaper) reader response, it’s easy to see that fans are quite unhappy with the return on investment for the streaky Slovak.  Paul from Vancouver wrote: “Don’t answer the $4 -million call from the dreadful Demitra Experiment”.  At least with Mats Sundin, there was a certain level of commitment and grit that was displayed for the monumental amount of cash he received.  But Demitra never really hit his stride in Vancouver, save for the two week period of the Olympics in which he led the tournament for points.  Elvis sightings will be more frequent than Demitra sightings in Vancouver after July 1st, I can assure you of that.

Kyle Wellwood is congratulated by teammates after a second period goal in Game 1

Some Canucks fans have given Kyle the nickname "Charlie Brown" for his interesting facial expressions

Kyle Wellwood:

Age:  27

Cap Hit:  $1,200,000

Status:  Unrestricted Free Agent

Reg. Season:  75 games, 14-11-25   +6 rating

Playoffs:  12 games,  2-5-7   -1 rating

Wellwood showed he knows when to turn up the compete level.  CBC Analyst Jim Hughson commented a couple of times about Wellwood’s speed in the playoffs.  For two years running, the diminutive center has saved his best hockey for the playoffs, and gave the Canucks an additional dimension on their checking line.  With excellent stick-handling abilities, and good vision on the ice, the Canucks will probably make an offer in the same ballpark as the previous one.  The only question is whether he’ll accept or not; may get a longer look from other clubs, which could push his value up somewhat.

Ryan Johnson is stopped by Antti Niemi in Game 5 at the United Center in Chicago

Foot injuries caught up to one of the NHL's bravest shot-blockers, right into the playoffs

Ryan Johnson:

Age: 33

Cap Hit:  $1,150,000

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

Reg. Season: 58 games,  1-4-5    -4 rating

Playoffs: 4 games,  0-0-0    -2 rating

Having played playoff hockey myself while suffering from a serious injury, my heart really went out to Johnson this post-season.  He was listed as a late May return from his broken foot, but managed 4 games with the Canucks in Round 2.  Probably motivated by the Canucks lack of success on the penalty kill, it was obvious Johnson returned too early.  The Thunder Bay, Ont. product had a tough time being reinserted smack in the middle of the playoffs.  But nobody questions his heart, and though he’s not a shoe-in, one would think the Canucks will try to get him back in the fold for similar money.

Alexandre Bolduc, Class VI Unrestricted Free Agent

Tanner Glass, 25, Restricted Free Agent

In the next Canuck Way installment, we’ll continue our investigation into what the team may look like for the 2010/11 season.  Of particular note, I’ll take stock of the Willie Mitchell situation and potential complications in re-signing Mason Raymond, who is coming off his breakout season.

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Tags: 2010 NHL Playoffs Alexandre Bolduc Chicago Blackhawks Kyle Wellwood Mason Raymond Pavol Demitra Ryan Johnson Tanner Glass Vancouver Canucks Willie Mitchell

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