Who should Vancouver hockey fans cheer for in the playoffs?

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      The Vancouver Canucks missed the playoffs for the third time in a row this year. And while that's certainly disappointing, it can’t exactly come unexpected. The last few years have prepared Vancouverites for the well-worn tradition of choosing another team to cheer for in the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

      But, if you don’t yet have a horse in the race, here’s a handy ranking of the NHL’s playoff teams and why (or why not) Vancouverites should cheer for them.

      16. L.A. Kings

      Players from B.C.: None

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: If you’re the curmudgeon type, you want the Kings to put the expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights in their place. And maybe you feel a bit of goodwill towards Anze Kopitar, who has had a terrific season after many left him for dead last year.

      Why you shouldn’t: They’ve won enough over the past while, with two cups in the last five years. Plus, it was a lot more fun to celebrate their demise as a franchise before their resurgence this season.

      15. Boston Bruins

      Players from B.C.: One (Danton Heinen, Langley)

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: OK, this is admittedly a tough sell. The best reason to cheer for the Bruins is that the team is pretty damn exciting. And no matter how much you may hate Brad Marchand, his antics are undeniably entertaining.

      Why you shouldn’t: 2011. Enough said, moving on.

      14. Toronto Maple Leafs

      Players from B.C.: One (Morgan Reilly, Vancouver)

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: They’re young, fast and exciting. And hey, they’re playing the Bruins in the first round, so pick your poison.

      Why you shouldn’t: Because the team, the media that follows it around, and its fans are the cause of more lost souls than the Bermuda Triangle.

      13. Minnesota Wild

      Players from B.C.: None

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: Kind of a cool colour scheme, we guess?

      Why you shouldn’t: While the stats show that the Canucks’ old Northwest Division foe doesn’t play the same boring hockey they became known for in the early 2000s, but they certainly aren’t exciting. Seriously dude? The Wild? Surely you can do better than that.

      12. Anaheim Ducks

      Players from B.C.: One (Derek Grant, Abbotsford)

      Former Canucks: Three (Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Miller)

      Why you should: Here’s where it starts to get interesting for Canucks fans. The Ducks have three former Canucks on their roster, and whatever you think of Kesler, it’s hard not to have mostly fond memories of Bieksa and Miller.

      Why you shouldn’t: Here’s a scenario: Ryan Kesler gets the cup, takes it around the ice a few times and is completely validated in requesting a trade out of Vancouver. In fact, getting out of Vancouver may have been the best thing that ever happened to him.

      No thanks.

      11. Pittsburgh Penguins

      Players from B.C.: Two (Tristan Jarry, Surrey; Justin Schultz, Kelowna)

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: No team has won three Stanley Cups in a row since the New York Islanders of the 1980s. It’s almost impossible to do these days, and because many fans now despise them due to their excellence, there’s room on the bandwagon.

      Why you shouldn’t: It’s inherently hard to cheer for such a favourite, and it’s not made easier by the lack of backbone the organization showed recently. Besides, you already irrationally hate one of Sidney Crosby or Phil Kessel. Might as well lean into it.

      10. Columbus Blue Jackets

      Players from B.C.: None

      Former Canucks: One (Thomas Vanek)

      Why you should: Scrappy underdogs, the Blue Jackets are one of the league’s best-kept secrets. By picking them, you could prove to be a hockey sage in the eyes of your friends.

      Why you shouldn’t: Canucks fans won’t soon forget The Torts Year, when John Tortorella ran the team into the ground. Seeing the former coach succeed elsewhere is both confounding and annoying.

      9. Colorado Avalanche

      Players from B.C.: Three (Tyson Barrie, Victoria; Andrew Hammond, Surrey; Alexander Kerfoot, Vancouver)

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: Perhaps the biggest underdog of the playoffs, the Avalanche were by far the worst team in the league last year and rebounded this season despite trading one of their best players in Matt Duchene. It’s an encouraging story for Canucks fans, who wouldn’t mind a miracle turnaround anytime now.

      Why you shouldn’t: Rivalries die hard, and it’s hard to forget the days of being dominated by the Avs in the late 90s and early 2000s. This is a trip to watch.

      8. New Jersey Devils

      Players from B.C.: None

      Former Canucks: Two (Michael Grabner, Corey Schneider)

      Why you should: Another massive underdog and another “started from the bottom” success story that came to fruition this season. So, if Brock Boeser can just have an insane season like Taylor Hall and Nathan MacKinnon, the Canucks should be good, right?

      Why you shouldn’t: It’s hard throwing all your chips on a team that’s virtually guaranteed to lose in the first round.

      7. Philadelphia Flyers

      Players from B.C.: Two (Brandon Manning, Prince George; Jordan Weal, North Vancouver)

      Former Canucks: One (Dale Weise)

      Why you should: Storylines are just delicious in the playoffs, and wouldn’t it be fitting if Pittsburgh’s run came to an end at the hands of their Pennsylvania rival?

      Why you shouldn’t: It’s a likeable team, but always remember that Philadelphia jumped 11 spots at last year’s draft lottery to pick second (ahead of the Canucks, who actually finished second last). The Flyers picked Nolan Patrick, who has contributed 30 points to the team’s cause this season.

      Also, Philly fans already won the Super Bowl earlier this year. They don’t need this.

      6. Tampa Bay Lightning

      Players from B.C.: None

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: If you’re going to ride the bandwagon on any team, why not make it the Lightning, who are one of the league’s best and irresistibly fun to watch?

      Why you shouldn’t: Taking the obvious favourite is a bit lame. They spent the entire season dominating the rest of the league, so it’s not exactly a sexy pick.

      5. Washington Capitals

      Players from B.C.: One (Brett Connolly)

      Former Canucks: None

      Why you should: C’mon. You have to feel for the Capitals, who are the epitome of regular season success without an ounce of playoff luck. When Alex Ovechkin calls it a career, do you really want a bunch of losers to claim that he isn’t one of the best of all time because “he never won it?” You don’t want that. No one wants that.

      Why you shouldn’t: C’mon. The Caps aren’t doing it. We don’t believe in curses, but actually yes we do and Washington is fully cursed.

      San Jose Sharks on Twitter

      4. San Jose Sharks

      Players from B.C.: Three (Brenden Dillon, New Westminster; Martin Jones, North Vancouver; Evander Kane, Vancouver)

      Former Canucks: One (Jannik Hansen)

      Why you should: The Capitals of the west, the Sharks are in a similar boat. It’s hard not to cheer for San Jose to win one for Joe Thornton and the boys. Plus, this is the playoffs, and the Sharks can beard it with the best of them. Even when they get ripped out.

      Why you shouldn’t: Do you cheer for Evander Kane in his first-ever NHL playoff run? He’s a Vancouver native, a former Giant and will be a ton of fun to watch as he gets to the big dance for the first time in his career. But, umm, nah.

      3. Nashville Predators

      Players from B.C.: Four (Ryan Johansen, Vancouver; Matt Irwin, Victoria; Colton Sissons, North Vancouver; Kyle Turris, New Westminster)

      Former Canucks: Two (Nick Bonino, Yannick Weber)

      Why you should: One of the league’s best teams, the Predators are fun to watch, and it’d be nice to see them get back to the Cup Final after falling to the Penguins last year. Plus, P.K. Subban is an absolute delight and it would be fun to watch him lift the Cup after being deemed a “distraction” in Montreal.

      Why you shouldn’t: Last year was probably the time to bandwagon this team. Besides, all of Canada is going to be rooting against them in the second round when they (most likely) play the Jets.

      2. Vegas Golden Knights

      Players from B.C.: Two (Brad Hunt, Maple Ridge; Shea Theodore, Langley)

      Former Canucks: One (Luca Sbisa)

      Why you should: No one knows what to do with this team, but they just keep winning. In other words, they are the perfect bandwagon club. Jump on, and enjoy a bunch of other teams’ castoffs working their assess off to prove everyone wrong.

      Why you shouldn’t: Is it a little frustrating to see a team start in 2017 and automatically be one of the league’s frontrunners? Why yes, yes it is.

      1. Winnipeg Jets

      Players from B.C.: One (Nic Petan, Delta)

      Former Canucks: One (Shawn Matthias)

      Why you should: Yep. The number one team Vancouverites (and really all of Canada) should be supporting is the Jets. They are fast, skilled and massive, which makes for incredibly exciting playoff hockey. Plus, they haven’t been around long enough to piss fans of other teams off. We’d have a hard time endorsing other Canadian teams like the Flames or the Oilers (look where we put the Leafs, after all), but the Jets make it easy. Go Jets go.

      Why you shouldn’t: Because you are a sad person and are still hoping the Canucks will be the first Canadian team to lift the cup in 25 years. Don’t hold your breath.

      Follow Nathan Caddell on Twitter

      More

      Comments