Vancouver Canucks fans riot after Game 7 loss; Mayor calls it ‘extremely disappointing’

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Unfortunately, the parallels between today’s Vancouver Canucks and the 1994 edition extend beyond a Game 7 defeat all the way toward a violent reaction.

Vancouver authorities were optimistic that Canucks fans wouldn’t riot whether the team won or lost in Game 7 tonight, but it doesn’t look like they got their wish. While it’s unclear how severe the rioting was at this time, it seems like some Canucks fans reacted to their team’s 4-0 loss in a way that continues a sad pattern from 1994. Seventeen years later, they expressed their anger regarding tonight’s defeat by rioting.

The Associated Press captured a scene in which “parked cars were set on fire, others were tipped over and people threw beer bottles at giant television screens.” (You can view some “raw video” of the scene in this YouTube clip. CTV also has a dispiriting feed of the violence.)

Again, it’s unclear at this time how bad the damage was and how many people were injured. The New York Times archives reveals that 200 people were injured during the 1994 riots, but hopefully that situation was more severe than tonight’s ugly incidents. Hopefully no one was seriously hurt during this extremely negative reaction, but it’s a sad moment whenever such a thing happens.

We’ll keep an eye out for updates regarding these regrettable riot-like acts with the hope that we’ve already seen the worst. Perhaps some day fans can find a better way to release their (likely alcohol-fueled) emotions, whether their teams win or lose.

Update: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson released this statement.

“It is extremely disappointing to see the situation in downtown Vancouver turn violent after tonight’s Stanley Cup game. Vancouver is a world-class city and it is embarrassing and shameful to see the type of violence and disorder we’ve seen tonight.

The vast majority of people who were in the downtown tonight were there to enjoy the game in a peaceful and respectful manner. It is unfortunate that a small number of people intent on criminal activity have turned pockets of the downtown into areas involving destruction of property and confrontations with police.

The Vancouver Police and Vancouver Fire Department are doing an exceptional job under challenging circumstances to maintain control of the situation and keep people safe, and emergency crews are working tirelessly to assist those who were injured.

The priority is public safety and ensuring that people can leave the downtown area to make their way home without further incident. Transit is operating at full capacity.

I urge the public to remain calm and to stay away from central downtown in order to assist police in restoring safety to our streets.”

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.

Tortorella was irate after Roman Polak boarded Oliver Bjorkstrand

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John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.

Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.

First, take a look at the hit:

Next, behold Tortorella’s anger:

Again, Columbus couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities, so that didn’t make things any better.

Right now, the Maple Leafs lead the Blue Jackets 3-2. If Toronto ends up winning, this will stand as one of the game’s pivotal moments.

It’s far from the only exciting moment, however, with these goals and big hits also standing out.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Update: OK, so Nylander’s really stealing the show. This is stupendous.