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In The Press

Saturday, 28.04.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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In The Press
The best thing about the Canucks defeating the Ducks on a Friday night is there won't be an overload of negative press to have to suffer through on Saturday morning.

The Vancouver Sun will have their weekend edition, but at least the beat reporters won't be able to focus on trying to destroy the spirit of Canuck Nation like they did after the Canucks dropped game one on Wednesday night.

Most scribes from The Vancouver Sun and The Province, and almost every other talking head on television broadcasts from across the country said you could stick a fork in the Canucks - they were done like dinner against a supposedly quicker, bigger and more talented Ducks squad.

Thanks to the mainstream media, the pulse of this city during the last two days has been nothing short of listless and lethargic. Thank goodness the Canucks were on the road in Anaheim and didn't have to read what the rest of us were exposed to.

That's assuming the Canucks players read the hometown papers at all. I know if I was a player, the only use I'd have for the local papers is for housebreaking my piddly puppy.

"Our guys really got fired up by everything that was being said about the big, bad Ducks and how they were going to stomp all over us," said head coach Alain Vigneault after Friday night's 2-1 OT victory. "Nobody gave us a chance because we have a depleted line-up."

Being a newspaper beat reporter covering a local sports team must be a difficult gig because maintaining a fresh positive spin doesn't sell copies nearly as well as dragging the Canucks through the dirt does.

Can you imagine if the Sun or Province wrote about how the Canucks were blown out in game one, but still managed to generate more scoring chances against the Ducks in one game than they did in one week versus the stingy Dallas Stars?

Or how the Canucks were still riding the emotional wave of their game seven victory over Dallas less than 48 hours earlier but have no fear, the hometown boys will regain their focus and get back to playing Canucks hockey in game two?

It would never happen. At least the Canuck players and coaches realized what the media didn't.

"After the first game, we said to ourselves there's opportunity there', we just have to find them and make plays," said Trevor Linden, who assisted on the OT game winner. "It was nice to get it done tonight. We came out of game seven and we didn't seem to have the edge to carry us through.

"Their speed kind of overwhelmed us a little bit and we were much better at that tonight - we handled it better. We understood just what it's going to take."

I'm not sure why, but it's much easier to be a defeatist and write the Canucks off than it is to instill optimism in a hockey crazed city. I know it's not the job of beat reporters to lift the spirits of Canucks fans - but I'm pretty sure their job isn't to crush spirits either.

"We knew that we could play better," said Vigneault of the game one loss. "There was a lot of talk that we were overmatched and they were a much better team than we were. It seemed that after that first game the series was already over with."

Based on the negative reporting in this series, it's no wonder some players say they don't bother reading the papers. It's tough enough trying to win a seven game series on the ice.