When last we saw the Vancouver Canucks against the Blackhawks some six weeks ago, they were a gutless collection of whining, cheap-shot artists whose best quality was their ability to do their hair while driving to the rink -- not to mention hair-pulling after they got there.
However, we must confess that with the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals, there's been a change.
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Oh, yeah, they're still a gutless collection of whining, cheap-shot artists whose best quality is their ability to do their hair while driving to the rink -- not to mention hair-pulling after they get there.
But now they've added biting and kicking. What's next, purse throwing?
The Vancouver Canucks have been the best team in hockey all season, and for much of the season they've been a disgrace to the game.
It begins with their coach, Alain Vigneault, who allows headhunting tactics that can end careers and ruin lives, and there are many solid choices for the dirtiest Vancouver player.
But foremost in mind right now is Vancouver's Aaron Rome, who ended Nathan Horton's season Monday night with a filthy hit that targeted Horton's head.
The hit was late, Rome left his feet, and if his intent was to hospitalize, Rome accomplished his goal.
Shockingly, the NHL got it right and has suspended Rome for the rest of the series, the longest suspension in Finals history and an appropriate punishment.
A surprise that it occurred? Not at all. Check out YouTube and you'll find Vigneault right there for you as a player, jumping Al Secord and trying to sucker punch him before Secord planted Vigneault.
Hawks fans undoubtedly remember Kevin Bieksa in the first round running away from John Scott and then jumping noted tough guy Viktor Stalberg.
There was Raffi Torres attempting to end Brent Seabrook's career, and being unwilling to stand and answer for it when Scott wanted to have a meeting with him.
(The despicable Torres has continued his style throughout the playoffs and leaves his feet on nearly every hit as he tries for headshots with no respect for a player's career.)
There was Ryan Kessler jumping and slamming Patrick Kane's head into the glass, and Alex Edler's vicious elbow to Troy Brouwer's head.
And, of course, who can forget Dan Hamhuis hitting Dave Bolland in the head, with Bolland just having returned from a concussion.
Hawks fans know Alex Burrows too well from his infamous hair-pulling incident, and now the legend has grown a bit with him biting the finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron.
"Typical, pulling hair and biting people. Sort of like a little girl,'' Bolland said last week. "Stuff like that isn't meant for hockey. So some of those things have to be taken care of.''
But that's what the Vancouver Canucks are all about. There's the constant diving, slashing behind the play and refusal to drop their sticks.
In a word -- all together now -- gutless.
Yet, even after Roberto Luongo soiled himself in an 8-1 loss Monday, the Canucks are up 2-1 in the Finals and they're the much faster and more skilled team.
It would be nearly impossible for them to choke away a 2-0 series lead with home ice, so they'll probably win the Stanley Cup and have themselves a big party.
Perhaps then they'll be willing to drop their sticks.
But if they do win it, they will be thought of around hockey as a less than honorable champ -- the antithesis of Jonathan Toews and the Hawks a year ago.
The Canucks' names on the Stanley Cup will only bring disgrace to the title, and tarnish the greatest trophy in sports.
They have blood on their hands and dirt on their reputations.
Win or lose, that will be the lasting legacy of these Vancouver Canucks.
And not even the Stanley Cup can wash that away.
•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM.