It's Not You Vancouver...


May this day be celebrated every year...or not

At one point, it could be argued that the Wild's biggest rival was Vancouver. Fans would point to the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals, Todd Bertuzzi, Mattias Ohlund's two-handed slash of Mikko Koivu and Derek Boogaard's "Pinky and the Brain Twins" comment as to there being love lost between the two teams. For once, the Wild were not known as that team who replaced the North Stars. Some thought it felt nice to be hated, even if our team was number three on the list by Canucks fan. And sometimes it was nice to overlook the fact that there are a lot of Vancouver fans on the internet.

So with that said, it's nice to finally put down the whole "Vancouver is our hated rival" talk. I've never been a fan of it personally. Yes the two teams had a stretch of time where they did like one another and yes, they are still division rivals, but that doesn't make the teams rivals. Rivalries are built one of three ways. First, rivalries are built upon repeated playoff match-ups. This was made easier in the old divisional playoff days where teams were more likely to meet, but there are still cases of this happening today (the most notable example being Detroit-Colorado during the late 90s and early 00s while Vancouver-Chicago the last two seasons is another one). Minnesota-Vancouver was at its hottest after the 2003 playoffs, but they haven't met since.

Second, rivalries are based upon geography. It's easy to be competitive and feel hate towards those who are nearby. Plenty of Minnesotans have this towards our neighbors to the East. Unfortunately for the Wild, this doesn't help anyone out in the NHL. The Twin Cities is fairly isolated from other metro areas to begin with and the Wild play in a division with teams that are a time zone or two away. In fact, St. Paul is closer to Miami than it is to Vancouver. With the Canucks fanbase also having nationalistic and geographical beef with their Alberta neighbors, it's easy to say that this is not applicable.

Finally, rivalries are based upon is history. Teams can go years without facing each other but if there is history between the two the hatred can be rekindled. The Wild don't really have that either although to be fair it's hard for a ten-year old team to have any sort of history. The closest they would get is with the last team who called the Twin Cities home and that has pretty much died since the two don't play in the same division or have met in a meaningful game.

So it's pretty easy to see Minnesota-Vancouver is not a rivalry as it does not meet any of the three factors. If anything, the "rivalry" was there for a season and Wild fans made it one-way after the Lockout due to having no other option. But thankfully as of Tuesday's game, any talk of a rivalry is dead. And this is coming from a team who had a player punch a Wild fan earlier in the season. Remember that?

Take a look at the above play. A star player dove and pretty much made an ass out of himself. In a rivalry, that's a play which gets analyzed, taken out of context and bashed. Would Washington and Pittsburgh fans let a play like that go if Ovechkin or Crosby dove? How about Montreal and Boston fans? No. It'd be discussion fodder for years. So did anyone bring that play up in their postgame reports? No and no. It wasn't even discussed by the Wild fans on HF Boards. The only time I saw it brought up was at Gone Puck Wild and that portrayed it as a joke more than anything. This play didn't matter in the grand scheme of things and neither does the Vancouver Canucks to the general fanbase. So with no repeated playoff matchups, geography or history, it's safe to say that it's not you Vancouver; Wild fans don't see the Canucks as anything special either.

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