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A lot of heart

by Jen Rollins / Vancouver Canucks
With Friday the 13th and a nightmare back-to-back road swing in the rearview mirror, the Canucks return to Vancouver just in time for Cupid’s favourite holiday. February has been good to the boys in blue so far and a string of wins has the Canucks on the right side of the line for a playoff spot.

Much of the success of late has come as a result of hard work and the heart to back it up. Playing the role of comeback kids, the Canucks have shown heart erasing multiple goal deficits twice this month.

“Everyone in this room has been playing good hockey,” says Canucks winger Taylor Pyatt. “They play with a lot of heart and passion. We’ve got a great team.”

The lumbering forward included. Pyatt’s six hits against St. Louis February 10 led all skaters and helped the Canucks in a bid to come from behind for a crucial win. He finished that game with an assist and a plus-2 but perhaps more importantly demonstrated he and his teammates had the heart to come up big when it counted the most.

Appropriately, all that heart has emerged in a big way just in time for Valentine’s Day. When they’re not busy laying it all on the line on-ice though, the Canucks take time out with a special someone—especially on the rare occasion where a day-off coincides with Cupid’s favourite holiday. For Canucks enforcer, Darcy Hordichuk, February 14 is more than just another day on the calendar.

“My wife and I have a tradition. Usually we go out for fondue at the Melting Pot...So maybe we’ll go to a fondue place and I’ll start it out by giving her some flowers. I like to give 11 red roses and one white one just to let her know how special she is,” says the Canucks tough guy.

Chocolate and flowers seemed to be the running theme throughout the line-up. But it wasn’t always that way. Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood, who has shown a penchant for being on the mark as he leads the League in shot percentage, took a different approach to romance in his youth.

“You know what, I think in high school when I was younger I always did something silly. I’d make a poster for a girl or a couple girls. I’d make a collage for somebody and then I’d give it to the girl in front of everybody so she’d be embarrassed. But those days have gone by and I don’t think I’ve done anything too romantic since I was younger. I think I used to take a comical approach to it but now I think I’m a little more personal about it,” says Wellwood.

Just like on-ice, each member of the Canucks admitted to their own approach to Valentine’s Day. For speedster Mason Raymond, his approach to the holiday mirrored his fleet footed antics on-ice.

“I’m one of those last minute guys, I guess,” admitted Raymond. The newlywed was singled out as being one of the most romantic on the team, but was quick to shift attention to a Canucks forward who never shies away from showing heart.

“The most romantic? Probably Burr [Alex Burrows] I’d have to say. It seems hard to believe, I know, but he pulls a lot of stuff out of his hat. He keeps [his girlfriend] Nancy very happy,” says Raymond.

Recently playing in a more offensive role with Canucks leading scorers, Henrik and Daniel Sedin, February has shown the love to the feisty forward. Burrows scored two huge goals for the Canucks in early February, including a late game-winner shorthanded to end a losing skid and top the Carolina Hurricanes.

Pyatt attributed Burrows’ romantic ways to his French background, and didn’t exclude another Quebec native from the stereotyping.

“The most romantic guy on the team is probably one of the French guys—Alex Burrows or Steve Bernier,” says Pyatt.

While Burrows is known for mincing words with the opposition and Bernier never shies away from delivering a big hit, the pair takes a different approach when it comes to their leading ladies.

“You get no choice in our lives—being away always. [Being romantic] is something that you need to do every day because if you don’t do it, it won’t work...I think it’s a better idea to [be romantic] more than just once a year,” says Bernier.

But for now, with a day off and a string of wins under their belts, the Canucks and their leading ladies will take a rare opportunity to celebrate the annual holiday. Even if it’s just a one-time showing.

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On the road again 
Darcy Hordichuk blog

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