The opening night of the NHL playoffs is always filled with anticipation, excitement, some great hockey and some interesting talking points.

Wednesday night was no different, and Chris Lund did a great job breaking it all down for us here at Backhand Shelf as it unfolded.

While Chris was working hard recapping all of the exciting Game 1 action, something else caught my eye, and likely every eye in Canada.

Shots. Fired.

The immediate response to this tweet was incredible. Canucks fans were agitated, Kings fans were still on a high from their Game 1 win, and for the most part, Canadians outside of British Columbia responded with a resounding “Thank You!”

To be frank, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this tweet from the Kings’ official twitter feed. There’s nothing offensive about it, there’s nothing malicious about it and there’s nothing presumptuous about it, as it’s not like the tweet predicted a series win or something along those lines.

The fact is, a lot of non-Vancouverite Canadians and non-British Columbians can’t stand this Canucks team, from General Manager Mike Gillis to the insanely talented Sedins to Maxim Lapierre to little used (and apparent goon) Byron Bitz. It’s nothing against the City of Vancouver, which is beautiful, the people of Vancouver, who are great, or the entire picturesque province of B.C.

It’s just the team itself that is pretty much impossible to root for, and the large following of bandwagon fans that come with it.

So whether Canucks fans want to admit it or not, a large portion of Canada cheered when Dutin Penner scored the winner with 3:14 remaining in Game 1, and many Canadians expressed thanks. The Kings’ Social Media department just did the polite thing and acknowledged those thank yous.

And if you ask me, I’d rather have an official team twitter feed that is bold in its blatant homerism instead of intolerably corny.

Now here are your morning links:

  • You can find all of Chris’ post-game thoughts here, and can watch all of Wednesday’s most talked about plays here.
  • The Canucks have an identity crisis (CBC.ca).
  • Mike Babcock and the Red Wings aren’t saying much about Shea Weber’s ridiculously cheap shot on Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Free Press). If Weber isn’t suspended for this incident, then Brendan Shanahan and the NHL will have majorly dropped the ball. He cupped the back of Zetterberg’s head and guided it forcefully into the boards for God’s sake. If that’s not suspension worthy, what the hell is?
  • Babcock was saying lots about the Game 1 officiating in general though (Sporting News). What’s different?
  • After being cut on the forearm by a skate, Darren Helm needed surgery, and no one knows how long he’ll be out yet (The Detroit News). What horrible luck for Helm, who was playing his first game since March 17 after recovering from a sprained knee.
  • The Predators didn’t play their best hockey, but still got the W (On the Forecheck). One thing a lot of people are talking about after Game 1 is how great the Nashville crowd was. The Preds’ home-ice advantage is very underrated, and it looks like their fans have fully embraced going from underdog team to legitimate Cup contenders.
  • The Flyers were “scary good” in their Game 1 comeback against the Penguins (Philadelphia Inquirer). Did you see that blown offside call that led to a Flyers goal? I’d say the linesman was “scary bad.” For the Penguins, is there any worse way to begin a playoff series than blowing a 3-0 lead at home?
  • Is this Danny Briere’s time to shine? (Philadelphia Inquirer). With two goals on Wednesday night, Briere now has 98 points in 98 career playoff games. Not too bad.
  • Senators coach Paul MacLean knows he’ll be a factor against the Rangers (Ottawa Citizen).
  • Whatever “it” is, John Tortorella has seen it in the Rangers’ eyes. (The Journal News). Outside of the Canucks, I’d imagine the Rangers have as much pressure on them this Spring as anyone else. They finished first in the East, and whether deservedly or not, always face extra pressure playing in New York, in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd. They converted one of their NYC subway trains into a Rangers-centric vehicle, remember. I think a lot of people see the Rangers as overachievers this season, but I doubt Rangers fans and New Yorkers see it that way.
  • Patrice Bergeron might be the Bruins’ most important player heading into their series against the Capitals (CBS Sports).
  • With Brian Elliot injured, Jaroslav Halak is “obviously” the Blues’ starting goalie for Game 1 tonight.
  • Is Martin Havlat the key to the Sharks’ success? (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Jonathan Toews expects to play in Game 1 against the Coyotes (WGNtv.com). The Blackhawks are one of many unpredictable teams in this year’s playoffs. On one hand, I can see them losing to the Coyotes in five or six games, while I can just as easily see them winning the Western Conference. Neither would surprise me.
  • Dave Tippet says the Coyotes have been in playoff mode for weeks (AZCentral.com). To be fair though, you can say that about all three Pacific Division teams that made the playoffs, not to mention the Panthers and Capitals.

Comments (22)

  1. The mainstream press always tries to push the “Canada’s Team” thing, but that really doesn’t seem to carry any weight once you get east of the Rockies. Vancouver fans just carry around an air of entitlement that isn’t justified.

    • Dear Stephen,

      Please tell us who you cheer for so I can make gross generalisations about their fans.

      Sincerely,

      Jeff

      • The Kings. So, yeah, beat up on us for being the most pessimistic fanbase in the league. We’re used to it.

        At the same time… please tell your conspiracy-theory-spouting, make-the-Red-Wings-fans-look-fair-minded, overly-entitled fanbase to shut the hell up once in a while and only start spouting if and when you actually win something (and don’t get routed out of Game 7 on your home rink in the biggest game in franchise history like Napoleon from Russia).

        I’m surprised that Vancouver writers haven’t found a way to accuse the league office of being in the Kings’ pocket (again), because lord knows having a whole three more penalties is normally more than enough to throw up accusations of BIAS~! from Vancouver.

        • Wow.

          I make a tongue-in-cheek attempt to draw attention to the way that you paint all Canucks fans with the same giant brush and instead of thinking “hey, wait a minute, maybe they’re not all the same” you just do it some more. Perhaps you could follow things up by talking about how all Vancouver fans are rioters.

          I’m not going to try and defend anybody; I feel neither the responsibility nor the desire to take an apologist stance here. Neither am I going to make assumptions about all Kings fans based on your comments; that said, you’re not representing them well. Of course, I don’t know if that is something you care about.

          Jeff

    • Actually , no we don’t. Not all Vancouverites give a damn about these pretenders. Canadas team ? Bullshit.

  2. 1. Chara didn’t get anything for cupping the back of Pacioretty’s head and driving it into a turnbuckle while skating at a good clip.

    2. Before Briere’s missed offside, the officials didn’t call icing against the Penguins, which resulted in a Penguins’ goal. Draw your own conclusions.

  3. @ delta mike

    My conclusion is that you’re grasping at straws.
    Weber/Zetterberg not even close to Chara/Pacioretty.

    As for the blown calls, I can’t argue there. The officiating is so inconsistent I have a hard time identifying what constitutes a penalty anymore.

    • You’re right, they’re not.

      One guy takes a whack at the other’s head, and then, slams his head into the glass while they’re in one place. It’s more like when Mike Richards whacked Tim Connolly’s head into the glass in last year’s playoffs,

      On the other hand, while chasing down his target, Chara takes his hand off the end of his stick, puts it on the back of his head, and rams said-target’s head into the turnbuckle, which was made of seamless glass–the stuff with no give.

      The results: A concussion and two cracked neck vertebrae. He could have paralyzed him, left him brain-damaged, or even killed him.

      Zetterberg will probably have a garden-variety concussion, which is bad enough.

      I still think Weber should get a game or two, though.

  4. The refs blew an icing call that led to a Penguins goal in the 1st. So the official’s baffoonery went both ways.

  5. Blown icing call nowhere near close in scale of importance of a blown offside call on a breakaway. A breakaway is the most important time to get that call correct, and he got it wrong.

  6. Fair enough.

    However, if they make a mistake that results in a goal, I don’t object to the other team getting a chance to get that goal back.

  7. Very appropriate to use twitter to chirp the opposing fanbase

  8. I’m a lifelong Leafs fan. Pause. Go ahead. Bash away. We’re used to it. Actually we’re quite numb by now. I only mention this to point out that no one DESERVES a cup more than anyone else. Stop all this bitching and moaning in Vancouver. You’re like a kid who just got his first pay cheque and then found out about income tax. Grow up already, it’s a big bad world out there and sometimes you don’t win. Listen up cause I should know!

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