Vicious hits make Canucks Stanley Cup villains

Tue Jun 7, 2011 6:52pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

BOSTON (Reuters) - The Sedin twins Henrik and Daniel may be the smiling faces of Vancouver but not even their charm can stop the Canucks from being seen as one of the National Hockey League's's most hated teams.

For all the skill and flair demonstrated by the two Swedes, it is the Canucks' dark side that has the hockey world buzzing during the Stanley Cup finals.

Canucks Raffi Torres started the post-season by serving a suspension for a vicious hit and Aaron Rome saw his Stanley Cup abruptly ended on Tuesday when he was handed a record four game ban for a late blow to the head of Boston Bruins Nathan Horton.

In between, the Canucks have been accused of everything from biting fingers and excessive trash-talking to diving and embellishing hits.

"This team is so easy to hate its unbelievable," Edmonton Oilers Ryan Whitney told a Boston radio station ahead of the final with the Bruins.

"I'd say that 90 percent of the guys in the league want nothing to do with seeing them win."

Being cast as villains is an unfamiliar role for most Canucks but not one they shy away from as they close in on Vancouver's first ever Stanley Cup.

Leading the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the best-of-seven final, the Canucks have adopted a ruthless approach that has left them just two wins away from clinching the title and ending four decades of frustration.   Continued...