Vancouver looks to win their first Stanley Cup since 1915

While the Vancouver Canucks have been unlucky in their search for a Stanley Cup since the team joined the NHL in 1970, a drought of 40 years now, the city of Vancouver has been suffering a bit longer. While the Canucks have trotted out names like Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Roberto Luongo this year and names like Pavel Bure, Kirk McLean, and Trevor Linden during the 1990s, it was guys like Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, Lloyd Cook, and Barney Stanley who brought Vancouver the Stanley Cup for the first and only time it’s been in the city.

Not familiar with those names? Well why not? That Vancouver team did beat the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup after all. No, not the Senators as you know them now, but the legendary Senators of the early 1900s. In this case Taylor, Cook, and Stanley did the job way back in 1915 as members of the Vancouver Millionaires.

Canadiens blog Habs Eyes On The Prize has a killer run down of that 1915 Millionaires team that brought the City of Vancouver their first and only Stanley Cup to date. While the exploits of Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler could become the things of legend by the time the finals are over this year, they’d rather not fade into distant memory the way the Millionaires did.

The Millionaires, curiously named because the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) team owned in part by Lester Patrick (of Patrick Division fame) was paying out players in large sums for the day between $3,500 and $5,200 to play hockey. In those early days of the Stanley Cup it was contested between the champion of the PCHA and the National Hockey Association (NHA). In this case in 1915, the Ottawa Senators defeated the Montreal Wanderers in a two game series (winner determined by who scored the most goals) for the right to face the Vancouver Millionaires.

In those finals, things went really well for Vancouver in spite of the curious rules.

The best of five series was set to be played on five consecutive nights from March 22 to March 26 at Denman Arena in Vancouver. Odd numbered games would be played under PCHA rules, allowing for six players and a rover, whereas games 2 and 4 would feature the six per side NHA rules.

Before 7,000 excited fans, the Millionaires won the first game of the series by a 6-2 score. In the second game, with six men per side, Ottawa jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Vancouver pounced back, winning 8-3. Game 3 was even more lopsided, as Barney Stanley of the Millionaires scored a hat trick in the middle frame, to pace Vancouver to a 12-3 thumping of the Senators, and a claim on Vancouver’s first Stanley Cup. The 26 goals scored by Vancouver would set a Stanley Cup final record for the time.

While it’s no longer played that way nor is the game played the same way, fans in Vancouver are hoping the Canucks have some of that Millionaires spirit to them in these Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins.

(Millionaires photo thanks to Ice Hockey Wiki)

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    Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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    Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

    The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

    Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

    “We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

    Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

    “I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

    Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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    OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

    The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

    Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

    The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

    Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.