The makings of the Wild-Canucks rivalry

  • Updated: November 20, 2007 - 5:50 PM

Many events have led to the feud that exists between the Wild and Vancouver Canucks. A few moments in history:

Dec. 22, 2001: Wild wins 2-1. The outcome: The Wild's Jason Marshall suffered a broken nose and Vancouver's Matt Cooke needed stitches after one fight. Vancouver's Jason Strudwick suffered a possible concussion in another. Minnesota's Jim Dowd and Andrew Brunette were cut with high sticks. Wild tough guys Matt Johnson and Sylvain Blouin left Vancouver players in fetal positions after particularly hostile checks.

March 2, 2002: Canucks roll 6-3. The outcome: Vancouver players were taking runs at Wild winger Marian Gaborik with the game long decided. Someone had to be "held accountable," Johnson said. Johnson punched at Mattias Ohlund as the two skated past each other, triggering a fight between Johnson and Brent Sopel. Johnson drew a fighting major and a match (ejection) penalty for attempt to injure and subsequent suspension.

Dec. 7, 2002: Wild wins 4-2. The outcome: Marian Gaborik is floored by Cooke as he celebrates his hat trick. Marshall elbows Ed Jovanovski and Jovanovski later checks Marshall head-first into the boards.

April 27, 2003: Wild evens the best-of-seven playoff series with a 3-2 victory in Vancouver. The outcome: Rivalries truly can't accelerate without the playoffs. After the final horn of Game 2, Wild defenseman Brad Brown and Todd Bertuzzi clawed at one another for several minutes. Vancouver antagonist Matt Cooke slashed Johnson in the foot. And some unruly fans threw cups of beer on Wild coach Jacques Lemaire. "I guess they don't like to lose," Lemaire said afterward.

May 8, 2003: Jubilation after Game 7, a 4-2 Wild victory over Vancouver; Wild advances to the Western Conference finals. The outcome: The fun continued when, after trailing 3-1 in the series, the Wild reeled off three consecutive victories to advance. Said Vancouver's Trent Klatt: "The hardest part for me -- nothing against Minnesota -- is that this wasn't Detroit, this wasn't Dallas. We were up 3-1 and lost three straight. We should have won this series."

Sept. 18, 2003: Canucks win 1-0 in preseason game. The outcome: Johnson picked up where he left off in the waning seconds of the second period and leveled Ohlund with a slash across the hands, then a punch from behind the glass. Asked about the incident afterward, Bertuzzi said: "What do you think this is, tennis? This is hockey, man. It's a contact sport. Things are going to happen like that."

Nov. 8, 2003: Vancouver wins 4-3. The outcome: Wild players were irate that Canucks agitator Jarkko Ruutu fought nonpugilist Sergei Zholtok in his first game back from an injury. After, the Wild got even angrier that Ruutu claimed Zholtok, who had been in one NHL fight, actually asked him "to go." Said Brunette: "We don't like them, and they don't like us."

Feb. 19, 2004: Wild wins 6-2. The outcome: Johnson earns a five-game suspension for slashing Cooke, while Cooke gets two games off for a spear.

Feb. 12, 2006: Canucks with 3-2 in OT. The outcome: Brian Rolston, bent over and bleeding profusely from his right ear after a nasty high-stick, was subtly slashed by Alex Burrows as he skated by after the whistle. Rolston was incensed, saying, "What's he been in the league six games, five games, one game?"

March 30, 2006: Canucks win 2-1. The outcome: Burrows was assessed a misconduct after faking like he was going fire a shot at Wes Walz as time expired but instead flipped it at him. In the game Walz tangled in a heated, corner-to-corner battle with Naslund, Brent Burns flattened Ruutu and Nick Schultz creamed Josh Green and Bertuzzi with mammoth checks. Bertuzzi yelled at Schultz, "I'll take your head off." Green yelled, "He will, he will," Schultz said, laughing.

Nov. 16, 2007: Canucks win 6-2. The outcome: After the game got out of hand, thing got chippy. Tired of being run all night, Gaborik elbowed Ryan Kesler. Pierre-Marc Bouchard got into a punching match with Burrows. Derek Boogaard got into a wrestling match with Willie Mitchell. And Ohlund, reacting to a Mikko Koivu elbow, broke Koivu's fibula with a two-handed slash. The game ended with Stephane Veilleux shooting a puck at Mike Weaver, then threatening the Canucks bench.

MICHAEL RUSSO

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