On behalf of Vancouver Canucks fans everywhere, can we take a moment to say a sincere “God bless Michael Ferland”? And not just because the Calgary Flames rookie took a good old-fashioned beatdown from Kevin Bieksa on Sunday night.
Ferkland—or whatever the hell his name is—has emerged as the story of the Canucks-Flames first-round Stanley Cup playoff matchup. The 23-year-old rookie arrived with zero fanfare in Game 1, hitting everything in sight, attempting to fight Derek Dorsett, and generally agitating the faithful in a way that made one wonder how he’s related to Brad Marchand.
By Game 2, Ferland was a one-man Canucks demolition unit, running goalie Eddie Lack, slashing Alex Burrows (which is probably why Burrows is now in the hospital), engaging in a line brawl, and lipping off the entire Vancouver bench after being tossed from the game.
The series was tied up 1-1 when things shifted back to Calgary. In a Game 3 Canucks thrashing, Ferland was named the second star, the winger playing the role of heat-seeking missile with the target being anyone wearing a Free Willy uniform. Bieksa (who was responsible for the “Ferkland—or whatever his name is” soundbite after Game 1) suddenly figured out exactly who Ferland was. By the end of the game, the pride of Grimsby, Ontario, was incensed enough to give Vancouver’s newest nemesis a good old-fashioned pounding, which unfortunately is what the Canucks took on the scoreboard.
Considering the bad blood in the series, all this sets up a scary scenario for tonight’s Game 4 matchup in Calgary. Given that Ferland seems on a mission to search and destroy, and that the Canucks don’t seem to have an answer for him, what the hell happens if he sets his sights on Vancouver stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin? The series will be over before you can say, “And Nathan LaFayette hits the post.”
And this is where we can say “God bless, Michael Ferland.” And not just because he has a good story, including being raised by a single mom in some buttnugget Manitoba town and his beating alcoholism after seeking guidance from Gino Odjick.
No, we’re saying “God bless, Michael Ferland” in the hopes that he’ll listen to his mom. After Game 3, the Flame sensation told the Calgary Herald newspaper that he’s been given instructions from up on high. More specifically, the woman who raised him.
In a postgame story headlined “Ferland plays role of super hero for Flames”, Cowtown’s overnight folk hero is quoted as saying his mom has told him to stay away from Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin because “she loves them.”
“They’re great players,” Ferland told the Herald. “I’m excited for the opportunity the coach has given me. Just like everyone, I’ve got to get my licks on them. My mom (Dianne) doesn’t want me hitting those two guys.”
Unfortunately, he adds: “But it’s my job.”
Which, on second thought, should leave every die-hard Canuck fan thinking “Michael Ferland? Fuck that fucking guy.” Even though we’d all love to see him in a Vancouver uniform every bit as much as we’d like to see Brad Marchand’s head on a stick.