The Calgary Flames are looking more and more like the Vancouver Canucks these days.
It started in free agency. It became clear that the Canucks weren’t going to be able to re-sign their team MVP, Jacob Markstrom, but it was still stunning when he signed with the Flames, a hated Pacific Division rival.
But the Flames were far from finished filching free agents from the Canucks’ roster. They signed Chris Tanev, one of just two players the Canucks still had remaining from the 2011 playoff run. Seeing a lifelong Canuck holding up a Flames jersey felt so wrong.
Then the Flames added Louis Domingue, who only played in one game for the Canucks, but made some marvellous baked goods for the boys in the playoff bubble. Then they nabbed the versatile Josh Leivo, gambling on him recovering from a tough knee injury with a bargain-basement $875,000 contract.
Signing two former Canucks could be a coincidence — after all, Markstrom and Tanev were two of the biggest names in free agency. Signing four? That’s starting to look intentional.
Then the Flames released their Reverse Retro jersey, a throwback to the flame-snorting horse head affectionately named “Blasty” by their fanbase. Flames fans seem excited to bring back this jersey; I rated the jersey “merely okay.”
But there is something strangely familiar about the Flames’ Reverse Retro jersey: the black, red, and yellow colour scheme; the thin red-over-yellow stripes; the nostalgic logo that is, in retrospect, an overly-busy mess. Wait, that’s it! These are just the Canucks’ 90’s skate jerseys, you scoundrels!
The resemblance is uncanny, particularly when seen as a whole with the pants and socks. The stripes even come down in a V-shape at the front and on the sleeves, invoking another retro Canucks look.
It seems the Flames are not satisfied with just being the Canuucks’ rival. They want to become the Canucks. Who knows, if Travis Green doesn’t get a contract extension soon, they might end up stealing the Canucks’ head coach too.
At this point, they might as well stop messing around and unveil their new logo.
What else can the Flames steal from the Canucks? Where does it end?
Will they steal allowing an opposing rookie to score his first career NHL goal? Making an opposing third-string goaltender look like Dominik Hasek? Collapsing back defensively to defend a one-goal lead for 40 minutes?
What about pain, sadness, and suffering, experienced collectively so everyone can wallow in the same sorrow? Are the Flames going to swipe that from the Canucks?
Are they going to take John Shorthouse’s sublime play-by-play? John Garrett talking about ketchup? Dan Murphy’s hair?
Giving up the first goal of the game a few minutes in and having the team Twitter account sadly tweet out the score in all lowercase letters?
Will they steal getting a Costco hotdog and poutine before the game? Complaining about 4 PM starts when facing the Toronto Maple Leafs? Hating Mark Messier?
Actually, the Flames probably already have that last one from their rivalry with the Edmonton Oilers, so let me adjust it: hating Mark Messier with the fire of a thousand suns?
What about hating the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins? Will the Flames pilfer that too?
Will they steal losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final?
Rioting after losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final?
Making fun of ourselves for rioting after losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final so much that it ceases to have any effect when anyone else tries to make fun of Vancouver for rioting?
How about never picking first overall at the NHL Entry Draft? Retiring too many jersey numbers? Doing the wave during the third period in a tie game? Will they steal those cherished traditions from the Canucks?
Will they start defending the Sedins as being two of the toughest players in hockey given how much abuse they took without complaint? Are they going to steal claiming to be there in-person at Pavel Bure’s first game?
I mean, when does it stop? How much more can the Flames take from the Canucks before we say enough is enough?
It’s time to draw the line. The looting of the Canucks by the Flames must cease immediately or there will be repercussions. The Canucks will have to steal one of the Flames’ cherished traditions...like...um...
Okay, drawing a blank here. Maybe the Flames really do need the help. Maybe we can share hating Mark Messier and we can let the Flames take away never picking first overall. That seems fair.
A tap of the stick to everyone who helped me out with this article by responding on Twitter.