The Canucks’ new front line, Thatcher Demko’s admission price and JT Miller’s death clinic – The Athletic

The annual Saturday 4 p.m. home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs always holds special meaning for Canucks fans. It’s the classic West Coast vs. East Coast rivalry, reinforced by the perception that hockey coverage is far too specific to Toronto.

Nothing illustrates this better than the early start of the game itself. Honestly, 4 p.m. starts on weekends aren’t even that bad — it leaves plenty of time to celebrate after the Canucks beat the Leafs — but the fact that it’s done to appease Toronto fans in the goal of a normal start time on the East Coast is driving Vancouver crazy. That frustration makes nights like Saturday’s 3-2 home win over the Leafs sweeter.

It’s actually quite hilarious to imagine the optics. Leafs fans start early, head to Rogers Arena after paying huge premiums for tickets, and desperately try to spark “Go Leafs Go” chants, only to see their team get utterly slammed by Thatcher Demko.

It’s a punch in the wallet first, then in the gut. And that’s one of the Vancouver Leafs fans Leafs fans are used to at this point – Toronto has lost 14 of its last 16 games to the Canucks at Rogers Arena.

I call that a pretty equal refund.

Is it petty for fans to care so much about a regular season game in mid-February? Probably. But if the Maple Leafs want to demand early departure and invade the Vancouver arena, they should expect nothing less when they lose.

Richard L. Militello