|For current sports news on this topic, see
2008–09 Vancouver Canucks season
|Home Arena||General Motors Place|
|City||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Colours||Royal Blue, Kelly Green and White|
|Media||Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
Team 1040 (1040 AM)
|Owner(s)||Canucks Sports and Entertainment|
|General Manager||Mike Gillis|
|Head Coach||Alain Vigneault|
|Minor League Affiliates||Manitoba Moose (AHL)
Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL)
|Conference Championships||2 (1982, 1994)|
|Division Championships||5 (1975, 1992, 1993, 2004, 2007)|
The Vancouver Canucks are a professional ice hockey team based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. They play at the 18,630 capacity General Motors Place. They are members of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Canucks joined the league in 1970 as an expansion team along with the Buffalo Sabres. In its 38-year NHL history, the team has advanced twice to the Stanley Cup Finals but were defeated both times by New York teams: the Islanders in 1982, and the Rangers in 1994.
The Canucks started the tradition of "Towel Power". During the 1982 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Canucks were playing the Chicago Blackhawks when Vancouver coach Roger Neilson, fed up with the performance of the officials in the game, placed a white towel on the end of a hockey stick and held it up in mock of surrender (white flag).
In the 2006 off-season, the re-building of the Canucks continued just three days after Alain Vigneault's hiring, when Dave Nonis completed a blockbuster trade with the Florida Panthers, trading Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld for superstar goaltender Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round draft pick (Sergei Shirokov) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Luongo later signed a long-term 4-year, $27-million deal with the Canucks, tying him with Chicago Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin as the highest paid goaltender in the NHL and showing the Canucks' clear intention of making Luongo a franchise goalie.
Vancouver has a rich hockey tradition. Professional hockey has been played in the city almost continuously since 1911. The city's first professional team, the Vancouver Millionaires, played for the Stanley Cup five times, winning the prized trophy in 1915. It was also home to one of the first artificial ice arenas in North America. After the Millionaires disbanded in 1924, Vancouver was a top minor league city for many years, most notably by the Vancouver Canucks, who played from 1945 to 1970 in the Pacific Coast Hockey League and Western Hockey League.
With the NHL's westward expansion, it was a foregone conclusion that big-league hockey would return to Vancouver. In fact, the city was so certain of success that it broke ground for a modern arena, the Pacific Coliseum, in 1967. However, when a Vancouver group led by WHL Canucks owner and former Vancouver mayor Fred Hume made a bid for one of the six teams due to join the league in 1967, it was so sloppily prepared that their application was turned down.
However, three years later, another Vancouver group made a much better presentation, and was awarded an expansion franchise for the price of six million dollars (four million dollars more than it would have cost in 1967). The new team assumed the Canucks name, and joined the league along with the Buffalo Sabres for the 1970-71 season.
In defiance of all geographic reality, the Canucks were placed in the powerful East Division for their first four seasons, and although they had a few capable players such as ex-Ranger center Orland Kurtenbach, defencemen Dale Tallon, Jocelyn Guevremont, and winger Dennis Ververgaert, the team failed to make the playoffs during these early years. Realignment in the 1975 season placed the Canucks in the new Smythe Division, and they responded with their first winning record, finishing first in the division. However, their first playoff series had them square off with the dynastic Montreal Canadiens; the team was made short work of. They would have a winning season and make the playoffs the season following, but slip back into losing ways the next two seasons thereafter. During these years, star players included slick playmaker Andre Boudrias, who finished first in team scoring four out of the franchise's first five seasons (and finished second by a single point in the other), forward Don Lever, and Dennis Kearns, to this day the leading scoring defenceman in franchise history.
After the team's winning season in 1976, Vancouver would not have another winning team for another sixteen seasons. For most of that time, however, they were much more competitive than their record indicated; they only missed the playoffs six times.
After a dozen years of unremarkable play, the Canucks finally made an impact in the post-season of 1982. After finishing three games under .500 over the course of the regular season, Vancouver flew through the Campbell Conference playoffs, going 11-2 in games against the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Black Hawks. It should be noted that despite having a losing record, Vancouver had home ice advantage in the first series, having finished second in the Smythe division that season, behind only the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers. The Canucks also had home ice advantage during the second round series against the Los Angeles Kings, after the Kings' unbelievable upset of those same Oilers during the first round
The Campbell Conference champion Canucks became the Cinderella story of the 1982 playoffs as they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history. In doing so, they became the first team from Western Canada to play for the Stanley Cup in 56 years. However, they were promptly swept in four games by the heavily favoured defending champion New York Islanders, disappointingly losing the final game on home ice. That season would prove to be the last one in which Vancouver proved victorious in a playoff series until 1992.
After their improbable Stanley Cup run, the Canucks slipped back into mediocrity for the rest of the 1980s, making the playoffs only four times for the rest of the decade. For most of the second half of the 1980s, they had to fight the Los Angeles Kings for the final playoff spot in the Smythe Division. Whenever they did make the playoffs, they were promptly ousted by the dominant Edmonton Oilers (in 1986) or now-powerful Calgary Flames (in 1983, 1984 and 1989). Due to the way the playoffs were structured, the Canucks faced the certainty of having to get past either the Oilers, Flames, or both to get to the Conference Finals.
Notable players during the 1980s included diminutive, though long-serving captain, Stan Smyl, who retired the franchise leader in most scoring categories, Swedish imports Thomas Gradin and Patrik Sundstrom, penalty minute king Tiger Williams, who led the NHL in penalty minutes during two of his seasons with the Canucks, hardrock defenceman Harold Snepsts, one of the most popular players in franchise history, and high-scoring right winger Tony Tanti.
Following the acquisition of Pat Quinn as general manager in 1988, the Canucks rose to prominence in the early 1990s. This rise to power came roughly around the time the Oilers and Flames began to sink in the standings. Unlike the league's other Canadian teams, the Canucks thrived in the new environment created by the rise in player salaries. Led by players such as new captain Trevor Linden, goalie Kirk McLean, and high-scoring sensation Pavel Bure (The Russian Rocket), the Canucks won two consecutive regular season division titles, in 1992 and 1993, though they would be eliminated by the Oilers and Kings during the playoffs, in that order.
In 1994 the Canucks made their second trip to the Finals, entering the playoffs as the seventh seed in the newly renamed Western Conference. The club had what could be characterized as an off-year during the regular season, but resumed their form during the playoffs. Drawing a first-round matchup with the rival Calgary Flames, the Canucks were victorious in an incredible seven-game series. After trailing the series three games to one, Geoff Courtnall and Trevor Linden won Games 5 and 6 for Vancouver in overtime. Again forcing overtime in Game 7, goaltender Kirk McLean made "The Save", a defining moment in team history, stacking pads on the goal line to stop a near-perfect setup by Theoren Fleury and Robert Reichel, saving the Canucks from elimination. Pavel Bure scored the series-winning goal on a breakaway in the second overtime. Following the massive upset, the Canucks went on to defeat both the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs in five games before meeting the Presidents' Trophy-winning New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals. Vancouver achieved victory in Game 1 by a score of 3-2 in overtime, largely in part to a 52-save performance by goaltender McLean. After losing Games 2, 3, and 4, the Canucks won Games 5 and 6 to force a seventh game at Madison Square Garden. Despite a frenzied effort by team captain Linden, who scored two goals (one on a shorthanded breakaway), the Rangers would prevail with a score of 3-2, a loss made more disappointing due to Nathan LaFayette and Martin Gelinas hitting the Ranger goalpost in the dying minutes of the game. The loss was followed by a riot in downtown Vancouver by disappointed fans, many of whom had likely been drinking heavily. Following the riots, the Canucks held a rally at BC Place attended by 40,000 fans, who congratulated the team for their effort.
After the 1994 playoff run, Vancouver continued to be a force for the next two seasons. Expectations were high and the team would soon move into its new arena, General Motors Place. Head coach Quinn stepped down to focus on his duties as a general manager, and was replaced by assistant Rick Ley, who was later succeeded by Tom Renney. Russ Courtnall and Alexander Mogilny were acquired via trade from the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres, respectively, in an effort to further improve offence; Russ was reuinted with his brother Geoff, and Alexander was reunited with his former CSKA Moscow linemate, Pavel Bure. However, the team was swept in the second round by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1995 and defeated in the first round by the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche in 1996, a season in which Bure suffered a season-ending injury early on. During the 1996-97 season, Bure suffered another season-ending injury, and despite strong performances by players such as Martin Gelinas and Mogilny, the Canucks missed the playoffs.
In the 1997 off-season, the Canucks made a big splash and signed free agent Mark Messier to a lucrative three-year deal. Also during the off-season was a change upstairs; GM Pat Quinn was fired and replaced with a management committee. Renney was fired and Mike Keenan assumed coaching and general manager duties; when given the latter power, he split up the core of the 1994 team, even trading away fan-favorite and until then, career-Canuck, Trevor Linden to the New York Islanders; this trade would net the Canucks future impact player Todd Bertuzzi. Later on in the season, Brian Burke assumed the duty of general manager, after a stint as NHL vice-president.
Suffering their worst season of the decade in 1998-99, Keenan was fired midway through and replaced with Marc Crawford (who had won the Stanley Cup with the 1996 Colorado Avalanche). Pavel Bure, unhappy with playing in Vancouver, held out for the season, and was dealt to the Florida Panthers in a blockbuster deal which landed the Canucks blue-chip defenceman Ed Jovanovski. The Canucks missed the post-season again, but the payoff for the dreadful season was the chance to draft future stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin second and third overall in the Entry Draft that year.
During the 1999-00 season, expectations were low for the Canucks. However, they surprised all by fighting for a playoff spot during the entire season, only dropping out of the hunt on the second to last game. Several players showed signs of the superstars they would become, notably, Todd Bertuzzi and Markus Naslund. Alexander Mogilny was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Denis Pederson and future offensive stalwart, Brendan Morrison. At season's end, Messier would leave to return to the Rangers, and Naslund was selected to be the new captain of the team.
Under new general manager Burke and new coach Crawford, the Canucks had once again become a playoff contender. The team held their training camp in Stockholm in 2000, and participated against Swedish and Finnish teams in the NHL Challenge. These years were the heyday of the "West Coast Express" line, which consisted of high-scoring left-winger Markus Naslund, centre Brendan Morrison and power-forward right wing Todd Bertuzzi. The rebuilt Canucks team returned to the playoffs in 2001 (capturing the eighth and final position on the last day of the season), appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Being the eighth seed, the weaker Canucks drew the powerful, first-place Colorado Avalanche as opponents; the Avs dominated the Canucks in the absence of Naslund, who had suffered a broken leg during the season. The following season saw the return of exiled captain Trevor Linden, and another matchup with the top seed in the West, this time the Detroit Red Wings. This series was highlighed by a surprising 2-0 series lead taken by Vancouver, which was erased, following a weak goal allowed by netminder Dan Cloutier from centre ice on Niklas Lidstrom. Detroit would win four straight games en route to a Stanley Cup championship. 2003 saw personal highs in the Canucks organization; Naslund finished the season with 104 points, enough for second-highest in the league. Bertuzzi finished fifth with 97. In goal, Cloutier posted a franchise record 7 shutouts. Winning a playoff series for the first time in eight years against the St. Louis Blues, a 3-1 series lead against the upstart Minnesota Wild would crumble away as the Wild won three straight, completing their second upset of the playoffs. In 2004, Todd Bertuzzi would damage, some say irreparably, his reputation when he attacked Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche and was convicted of assault in a British Columbia court. His early exit from the season that year, and an injury to Dan Cloutier during the playoffs, resulted in Vancouver's first round loss to the Calgary Flames, who would go on to compete in the Stanley Cup Finals.
It was Brian Burke who coined the phrase "Goalie Graveyard", when referring to the Canucks' long-standing history of having troubles between the pipes. Before the lockout of 2004-05, Burke did not have his contract renewed by the Canucks and was replaced by Dave Nonis, who had been assistant general manager and Director of Hockey Operations. Burke was hired by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
The 2005-06 season began with much promise; some hockey analysts picked the Canucks as Stanley Cup favourites. Under new general manager Nonis, free agent activity in the summer prior to the 2005-06 season saw players such as Anson Carter and Richard Park arrive in Vancouver. However, the team failed to meet expectations and completed the regular season in a disappointing 9th place in their Conference — narrowly missing a playoff position to the Edmonton Oilers; this caused debate about the effect of the point awarded for an overtime or shootout loss, recently instituted by the NHL. The season was characterized by under-achieving play, most notably in the first line of Naslund, Bertuzzi, and Morrison, which was expected to produce higher point totals under the new league rules. Morrison had a career-high 84 penalty minutes. Meanwhile, his wingers, Bertuzzi and Naslund, had a combined -37 in Plus/Minus Rating. Vancouver's highest-scoring line was the second line of Carter and the Sedin twins.
On April 25, 2006, the Canucks fired Crawford; he was hired by the Los Angeles Kings. Alain Vigneault, who had just coached Vancouver's AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, to a 102-point season, was hired as his replacement on June 20, 2006. The re-building of the Canucks continued just three days after Vigneault's hiring, when Nonis completed a blockbuster trade with the Florida Panthers, trading Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan Allen and Alex Auld for Roberto Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round draft pick (Sergei Shirokov) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Florida fan-favourite Luongo initially claimed to be "surprised" with being traded. He later signed a long-term 4-year, $27-million deal with the Canucks, which includes a no-trade clause after the first year, tying him the Chicago Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin as the highest paid goaltender in the NHL and showing the Canucks' clear intention of making Luongo a franchise goalie. With the acquisition of Luongo, previous starting goaltender Dan Cloutier was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings on July 5, 2006.
On September 12, 2006, the Philadelphia Flyers offered restricted free agent Ryan Kesler a one-year, $1.9 million dollar contract, forcing the Canucks to either match the offer or lose his rights. Kesler, the Canucks' first-round draft pick in 2003, scored 10 goals and had 13 assists in 82 games for the Canucks in 2005-06. The offer was considered high for a young player with relatively low stats, and Bobby Clarke, the now ex-general manager of the Flyers, received criticism for the move. The offer was matched on September 14, 2006. The offer made by the Flyers was the first offer sheet extended to a restricted free agent in eight years, and the first following the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
On April 7, 2007, the Canucks won the Northwest Division title for the second time in three seasons with an overtime win over the San Jose Sharks. The win also gave goalie Roberto Luongo his 47th of the season, tying him for the previous single-season win record with Bernie Parent, which had been eclipsed during the same season by New Jersey Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.
The Canucks opened the 2007 playoffs with a quadruple-overtime win against their first-round opponents, the Dallas Stars. The game was the longest in club history and the sixth longest in league history. Also in this game, the Canucks set a record for shots against, allowing 76. In seven games, the Canucks prevailed despite a lack of goal-scoring; Stars goalie Marty Turco recorded three shutouts in the series, becoming the only goalie to earn three shutouts in a losing effort.
Advancing to the second round, the team was defeated by the Stanley Cup-winning Anaheim Ducks in five games.
Following the playoffs, coach Vigneault received the Jack Adams Award for his efforts in the Canucks' 49-win season.
The 2007-2008 season did not begin especially well, with key injuries beginning from training camp. Defensemen Sami Salo and Lukas Krajicek were both injured in October, while Kevin Bieksa was severely cut by the skate blade of Vernon Fiddler of the Nashville Predators on November 1st. Captain Markus Naslund, whose production had been declining in the years since the days of the West Coast Express, went on a hot streak in November, and the team as a whole did well that month, which was dubbed "A November to Remember." In fact, with a 9-2-2 record, the Canucks had compiled the best record in the league during the month of November.
December saw defenseman Aaron Miller record his first goal in nearly four years in a 5-0 shutout win against the New Jersey Devils as the Canucks went on a home winning streak. January and February did not turn out well for the injury-riddled team, which lost ironman Brendan Morrison to wrist surgery until March, as well as defencemen Mattias Ohlund and Willie Mitchell for some time to concussion and back problems, respectively.
The trade deadline saw only one change for the team, with agitating left-winger Matt Cooke being traded to the Washington Capitals for left-winger Matt Pettinger. During the nine-game divisional stretch to close the season, the Canucks were again without Ohlund, who had suffered bone chips in his knee; as well, they lost promising rookie forward Mason Raymond to an MCL sprain and Morrison, again, to an ACL tear.
Coming up short in these crucial games, the Canucks missed the playoffs for the second time in three years, coming up three points short. The final game of the season, played on home ice, saw the possibly-retiring Trevor Linden hailed as the first star of the game and given a standing ovation on a 7-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.
On May 29, 2008, the Vancouver Canucks lost a promising young prospect in 2005 10th overall draft pick, defenseman Luc Bourdon who died in a motorcycle crash near his hometown of Shippigan, New Brunswick.
From 1988 to 1997, the Vancouver Canucks were owned by shrewd local businessman and philanthropist Arthur Griffiths, who had inherited the ownership from his father, Frank. However, he was forced to sell his majority interest in the Canucks after overextending his resources trying to build a new arena, General Motors Place. As a result, he sold his majority share to American billionaire, John McCaw.
On November 17, 2004, the Aquilini Investment Group, headed by Francesco Aquilini, purchased a 50% share in Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, (the owners of both the Canucks franchise and General Motors Place) from John McCaw. Prior to the sale, Aquilini and two business partners, Tom Gaglardi and Ryan Beedie, had negotiated with Orca Bay for several months without concluding an agreement. In January 2005, Gaglardi and Beedie filed a lawsuit against Aquilini and Orca Bay, alleging that Aquilini and Orca Bay had acted in bad faith in concluding a deal using information obtained from their joint offer.
In May 2007, Gaglardi and Beedie's civil lawsuit over Aquilini's purchase reached the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The court ruled for Aquilini, on 10 January, 2008. The court held that there was no legal partnership between Aquilini, Beedie, and Gaglardi, and that McCaw was free to sell the team to anyone he wished. 
The team has gone through thirteen different logo and jersey changes in its history.
The team's first NHL jerseys, worn from the inaugural season of 1970-71 (modified for the 1972-73 season) until the end of the 1977-78 season, featured a blue rink-shaped rectangle with a hockey stick in it forming the letter "C", designed by North Vancouver artist, Joe Borovich. A modified version of this logo is still in use, as a shoulder patch on the team's current jerseys.
In 1978, aiming for a more aggressive image, the organization asked a San Francisco design agency, Beyl & Boyd, to design new outfits. These new outfits consisted of a huge yellow, red-orange, and black striped "V" coming down from the shoulders (suggesting "victory", according to its designers). It is generally considered to be one of the worst uniforms in NHL history (hockey writer Stephen Cole referred to it looking like 'a punch in the eye').
The "Flying V" theme was abandoned in 1985, to feature the team's emblem on the front rather than the "V" (the emblem had previously been worn only on the arms). The logo consisted of the word "Canucks" in a diagonal slant as part the blade of a skate. The logo, with its laser-like design, was sometimes referred to as the "Star Wars" logo, the "waffle iron", the "plate of spaghetti", and most commonly, the "Flying Skate". The yellow home jerseys were scrapped in 1989 in favor of more conventional white ones, and the triangular shoulder stripes which adorned the post-"V" jerseys were discarded as well. The new incarnation was worn from 1989-92, when a subtle change was made — and went largely unnoticed for the rest of the jersey's lifespan. The orange was changed to red, and the deep "gold" colour was changed to a much brighter yellow, reportedly because jersey-maker CCM no longer produced the required hues. In 1996, an alternate jersey was introduced, retaining the "Flying Skate" logo, but using a salmon colour graduating to black near the bottom.
In 1997 the Canucks unveiled a new logo, in which a Haida-style orca (killer whale) breaking out of a patch of ice forms a stylized "C". The logo has been much-maligned, accused of being a blatant reference to their parent company, Orca Bay (now Canucks Sports and Entertainment). At the time, general manager Pat Quinn discussed wanting to have a West Coast colour scheme, and overall West Coast themes in the logo; the colour scheme included blue, red, and silver. Beginning in 2001, an alternate jersey was utilized, with contrasting shoulder patches and a blue-to-maroon graduated colour in the body. In 2006 these gradient-coloured alternate jerseys were officially replaced with the popular, royal blue "Stick-in-Rink" uniforms from the 1970s.
Little more than halfway through the 2006-07 season, the Canucks announced that they would be changing their jerseys once again. While a report in February 2007 suggested the new scheme would be revealed on August 1, 2007, the new jersey was actually unveiled prior to training camp, on August 29, 2007. It featured the same orca design present on their previous jerseys, but the colour scheme was updated to their "retro" colours of royal blue and kelly green. Additionally, the word "Vancouver" was added to the chest area above the orca. This move was seen as a way to connect the NHL Canucks team to that of the WHL team, whose members wore uniforms with the word "Canucks" along the top in a similar arched design. The actual jerseys themselves were changed to the Rbk Edge design, along with all other teams in the NHL. The introduction was largely greeted with disappointment from fans and sports commentators, who criticized the uniforms for looking like a "copy and paste" of those from the past. The Vancouver Sun described the new look as "decidedly unpopular." 
After a relationship with CKNW stretching since the Canucks joined the NHL in 1970, the Canucks entered into a new radio broadcast deal in 2006 with The Team 1040 -- an AM sports/talk station. John Shorthouse continues to call the play-by-play, as he has since 1999. He is joined with colour commentary by Tom Larscheid, who has been with the broadcasts since 1977. The games air on 14 stations across British Columbia. In addition to national TV broadcasts on Hockey Night in Canada and on TSN, the Canucks also have arrangements with Rogers Sportsnet Pacific to air 47 games (as of 2007-08 season). Additional games air on pay-per-view. Jim Hughson is currently the main TV broadcaster for the Canucks on both HNIC and Rogers Sportsnet. On Friday, May 25, 2007, the Canucks and Sportsnet signed a multi-year contract that will keep the channel as the club's primary broadcaster. Under the agreement, Sportsnet Pacific will air 47 games in the 2007-08 NHL season and beginning this year select games will be broadcasted in High-definition television for the first time ever.
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Canucks. For the full season-by-season history, see Vancouver Canucks seasons
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Records as of April 6, 2008.
|2002–03||82||45||23||13||1||104||264||208||1178||2nd, Northwest||Lost in Conference Semifinals, 3–4 (Wild)|
|2003–04||82||43||24||10||5||101||235||194||1274||1st, Northwest||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Flames)|
|2004–05||Season cancelled due to 2004–05 NHL lockout|
|2005–06||82||42||32||—||8||92||256||255||1477||4th, Northwest||Out of playoffs|
|2006–07||82||49||26||—||7||105||222||201||—||1st, Northwest||Lost in Conference Semifinals, 1–4 (Ducks)|
|2007–08||82||39||33||—||10||88||213||215||—||5th, Northwest||Out of playoffs|
Template:Vancouver Canucks roster
Note: This list currently includes the NHL captains only.
Hall of Famers:
For full list, see List of Vancouver Canucks draft picks
These are the last ten first-round draft picks for the Vancouver Canucks.
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game; * = current Canucks player
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