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Wacky, weird and bizarre

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

That’s one of the questions Canucks forward Mason Raymond faced during 2011 Stanley Cup Final Pre-Series Media Availability Tuesday at Rogers Arena.

Standing on a new-look 100-level concourse, complete with black curtains and carpet, podiums galore and 25 large black and white cloth banners featuring iconic Stanley Cup memories on the walls, Raymond laughed and responded “Colorado Blue Spruce” to the bizarre inquiry.

“Why did I pick that, I have no idea why,” Raymond said afterward. “It has strong branches, good needles and a good base – I have no idea, that’s the weirdest question I’ve ever heard.”

And that’s the weirdest answer I’ve ever heard.

Media availability was all about getting to know the Canucks and with upwards of 300 media from throughout North America representing print, online, video and radio in attendance, strange questions were the norm.

The hour-long session featured two groups of Canucks, 13 in the first and 11 in the second. Ten of the 24 players were given individual podiums, complete with a classic wooden movie director chair, nameplate, microphone, a variety of hydration (Aquafina water, lemon lime and cool blue Gatorade) and a massive Stanley Cup Final 2011 banner as a backdrop.

The podium worthy players included Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Higgins, Alex Edler, Christian Ehrhoff and Daniel and Henrik Sedin, while the others shared tables; Keith Ballard with Jeff Tambellini, Victor Oreskovich with Cody Hodgson, Andrew Alberts with Cory Schneider, Mason Raymond with Maxim LaPierre, Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen, Sami Salo and Aaron Rome, Tanner Glass and Chris Tanev.

“Who is that?” a short bald man in a windbreaker asked me, staring at Tanev. “He doesn’t have a nameplate…”

No, Tanev didn’t have a nameplate, but at least he had a chair.

Alex Bolduc didn’t have a nameplate, a table or a chair and he also didn’t have a care in the world about it.

“Some guy just asked me if I’m excited to be playing in the Stanley Cup Final,” said Bolduc. “I mean come on, d’uh, of course I am!”

It was a smorgasbord of questions for the Canucks, like playing 20 questions with a sibling in the back seat of the family car on the way to your grandparent’s house, but on a slightly bigger scale.

Ryan Kesler, swarmed like he was giving out free RK17 swag, was asked 20 questions in a mere two minutes and 17 seconds – thank goodness for all the hydration.

Kesler was asked the routine stuff and he was lucky because across from him Cody Hodgson and Victor Oreskovich were not only sharing a table, they were sharing an awkward moment.

The first question of the day Oreskovich faced went as follows: “In what city would you find the best puck bunnies?” to which he replied, “There are beautiful women everywhere.”

No wonder the ladies love Oreo.

The same reporter then asked Oreskovich and Hodgson, who both spent time with the Manitoba Moose this season, about their experiences in Winnipeg.

“So Cody, tell me about the porn industry in Winnipeg.”

Hodgson was as shocked being asked that as you are reading it.

“What about you Victor, did you get a sense Winnipeg really has a vibrant adult market?”

Again, no comment.

The questions were almost as absurd as the mandated blue Canucks hoodies the players were forced to wear, the ones warm enough they could be part of the welcome kit when you visit Nunavut.

By three questions in, the players were sweating like under oath in the trial of the century.

The first thing Jannik Hansen did when he made his way out of the media area and past the four-person NHL Network panel, which was filming live all day, was rip off his hoodie as if preparing to drop the gloves.

And that’s exactly what the Canucks and Boston Bruins will do Wednesday when the fight for the Stanley Cup begins.

Any questions?

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