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Why Canucks fans still hate Duncan Keith after all these years

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It takes a lot to piss off a crowd in Vancouver in a preseason game.

And yet, last Saturday, in a meaningless game with only 50% capacity allowed at Rogers Arena, Canucks fans were fully engaged whenever the No. 2 Edmonton Oilers hit the ice.

Duncan Keith was booed by shrewd fans who not only noticed the former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman playing for a new team, but couldn’t remember what he did to their team.

Usually, changing teams eases tension for hated players. This is certainly the case with Milan Lucic and Dustin Byfuglien.

We can only imagine what would have happened if Tyler Myers had run over Keith at Rogers Arena, instead of Rogers Place in Edmonton on Wednesday. Because the Canucks fans on Twitter were having fun.

“I had heard a bit about it. I know there’s a story there, ”Myers said this morning of his free kick on Keith, downplaying the importance of it. “It could have been anyone I was making the hit on, he’s just a guy who has a lot of history with the city.”

Why Canucks fans still hate Keith

If you weren’t paying close attention to the Canucks in 2012, then the reaction probably seems overdone.

But if you’re playing with a Sedin, Canucks fans won’t forget.

The Canucks-Blackhawks rivalry from 2009 to 2013 was the most intense rivalry in Canucks franchise history.

It all started with an online brawl on March 29, 2009, after Byfuglien led Roberto Luongo. He continued through three hotly contested playoffs in consecutive years.

But Byfuglien wasn’t booed every time he hit the puck in Vancouver. Ditto for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

That’s because what Keith did went beyond the usual rivalry. He delivered a low blow that led to the demise of the greatest era in Canucks history.

On March 21, 2012, Keith delivered an elbow to the head of Daniel Sedin. Reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Daniel scored 30 goals and was tied for 17th in NHL scorers with 67 points in 72 games at the time.

Daniel missed the next 12 games, including three playoff games, with a concussion. The Canucks have lost all three playoff games without Daniel in the lineup, including two games by one goal (minus an empty net in Game 1). The Canucks’ biggest problem in the series was their inability to score.

As back-to-back Presidents Trophy winners, the Canucks were Stanley Cup contenders. They went to the Stanley Cup final the year before. But without Daniel at full strength, they were ousted in the first round.

Keith was suspended for five games, but was available for the last two games of the regular season and the playoffs.

Maybe the Canucks would have lost that first-round streak to future Stanley Cup champions the LA Kings anyway, but falling without one of their best players because of a low blow didn’t appeal to anyone. .

Vancouver and Chicago haven’t met again that season, and the lockout that followed may have cooled things between the two teams. Either way, the Canucks never really looked for revenge for the blow.

Keith has done a disservice to make amends with Vancouver.

Many viewed her exchange with Team 1040 reporter Karen Thomson on April 22, 2013 as sexist. Keith pointed out that she was a woman, then basically told her that she didn’t know anything about hockey.

Keith later said he respected everyone’s work, pointing to a Chicago reporter he dealt with frequently and respected, and that this was just a case where he was a ‘sore loser’ .

The Canucks won their division in 2013, but make no mistake, it was the end of an era. They weren’t the juggernaut they were before, in part because Daniel Sedin was never the same player Thomas Drance illustrates below.

For what it’s worth, the Sedins seem overwhelmed. The night they took off their jerseys before a game against the Blackhawks, Henrik mentioned his appreciation for the rivalry before adding “even Duncan Keith”.

Canucks fans booed in response.

You can bet the Canucks fans will boo Keith again when the Oilers visit on October 30.

Is it petty? Probably. Ten years after the elbow, should Canucks fans let go? May be.

But you know what? That’s what’s great about sports. We need bad guys. We need passion.

And after a year and a half without fans at games, we’ve never needed it so much.

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