Dickens Alive On Wet Coast


It was exactly 150 years ago that a little Victorian writer named Dickens penned Great Expectations and if you were on the Vancouver Canuck brain trust it would be wise to hand out the classic novel to every player right now early in the 2010-11 season.

Before their 5-1 win at home last Sunday against Carolina, the atmosphere around Canuckville was as dark and gloomy as a Dickensian novel. You see, the Canucks were predicted by nearly every NHL ‘expert’ to not only win the western division but also favored to win the Stanley Cup (Vegas line 7-1, just behind Washington 5-1 and Pittsburgh 6-1 but ahead of Chicago 8-1 (the reigning champs) and Detroit 8-1 (perennial Cup favorites).

Carrying  a 2-2-1 record (after losing two straight games in California last week), the fans were restless and making pointed inquiries …

-“Why is Luongo playing all the games?” (a grand 4 in total) The consensus after the spring playoff autopsy was that a tired and injured goalie is a liability and that the long-awaited stand-in (Cory Schneider, the Boston College alum) absolutely must play 15-20 games this season…he played and noticeably well in the Sunday 5-1 win in Vancouver.

-“Why are the stars not scoring?” Henrik Sedin has 0 goals (with 7 assists however); Ryan Kesler finally scored his first Sunday against the Hurricanes; Mason Raymond finally scored Sunday (two actually in the same aforementioned win)…

-“Andrew Alberts is our only defenceman besides Christian Erhoff to score a goal!” The much-maligned Mr. Alberts, a journeyman NHL’er, born and raised in Minnesota, was the scorn of some Rogers Arena boobirds during the spring playoffs where he was ‘exposed’ as not being mobile enough to keep up with the speedy Black Hawk forwards. Alberts must have felt like single-digiting his critics Sunday when he looked mobile enough to score the opening goal of the game.

Last week, six games into the season, the team was 2-3-1, not exactly a disaster, especially when compared to the ones the young orphan Pip faced marching through bleak 19th century England in Great Expectations. Now they are on a heady four-game winning streak  on Nov. 3. Maybe the Canucks should provide the first 1,000 or so fans with the Dickens’ masterpiece before their next home game Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings. Old Charles himself could have counseled Canuck supporters that any successful journey must have its’ ‘pipfalls’ to watch out for.

Cono Spitale


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