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05-09-2013, 07:46 AM
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Sutherland has definitely made himself an issue. I don't think it is because he is dishonest but because he has illustrated an absolute lack of judgment in many situations. Really you have to feel some pity for the NHL refs. They get no direction, no leadership and are mostly doing their best in the chaotic situation the League has created. The real target should be Bettman and the clearly incompetent Shanahan.

Far as the angst and repeated accusations toward the Canucks much of it results from the regional rivalries that exist in Canada and the rivalry that has come to exist b/w the Canucks and some of the major media sites in the U.S. Moreover, many in even the local media seemingly have little emotional connection to the team or outright dislike the Canucks. They have been all too willing to support criticisms of the team giving the criticism more credibility.

An example of the kind of regional dislikes is our own attitude toward places like Toronto. For example, how many of us actually want to see the major Toronto teams lose. How many take a quiet pleasure out of seeing Blue Jays lose, or the Leafs?. How many can't stand getting the Toronto media hype pushed down our throats?

And its works both ways. How do Calgary fans react when they go to a game and have half the place is rooting for the Canucks and boasting about their team and then the Canucks, over the last while, going on to win? Or the people in Edmonton? Naturally they get pi**ed off. Thus, they look for a way to discredit the team. According to some I have met, the same thing happened when the Oilers were good. Gretzky was a whiner and a bit of cheat. Messier was dirty. And the whole team was obnoxiously arrogant. And the refs definitely favoured them.

I would say that most Canadians don't want any other Canadian teams having much success because with that go the bragging rights. Therfore, they were all too willing to jump on any bandwagon that put down the Canucks. The Canucks didn't win because they were good but because they were crooked and used diving to win. This got repeated continuously by fans and press people from other places in Canada. It more or less came to a head with the CBC attacks on Burrows. This illustrated the carte blanche the media had to go after the Canucks.

Beyond this the Canucks got on the bad side of huge media places like Chicago and Boston. The American media jumped all over diving accusations to build up support for the American team. And the NHL certainly had no problem in this because building up hockey support in the US has always be priority #1. And certainly it had little problem in putting the black hats on people like Burrows and Kesler. Even the Sedins, two of the most honest players in the League, were somehow disreputable players. Whole team was in fact.

Ultimately the Canucks have been on the wrong end of regional antagonism that besets the country and on the wrong end of a powerful and often unfair media that can shape perceptions. The Canucks have not dived or feigned injury any more than any other team and its ludicrous to suggest it. But once a perception gets locked in, it is hugely difficult to change it. And the local media which you might think would fight back against this, especially people like Botchford (perhaps looking to get back to Toronto) and the radio guys have been all to ready to cement the accusations made against the team.

If in the end, if this has effected the refs and the calls on the team that is very difficult for us, as fans, to accept but there are lot more unfair things in the world. Maybe, it does us some good to understand how people, who suffer under biased stereotyping, feel when they get the bad end of other people's perceptions. Far as the local sports media go, I think we generally recognize how badly we are served by them.

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