Welcome to Our Game Vancouver Canucks 40th celebration Vancouver Canucks

BC’s Biggest Family Reunion now has a countdown...

Canucks.com writer Derek Jory has begun to celebrate 40 years of the game we love and Vancouver Canucks hockey with a countdown of his Top 40 Moments in franchise history.

Top Moments 40-31 - Top Moments 30-21 - Top Moments 20-11 - Top Moments 10-1

Check Canucks.com every day from now until the first game of the 2010-11 season on October 9th, exactly 40 days away, as we reveal another classic Canucks moment that has helped shape this franchise into what it is today.

#10 - The forgotten goal

April 26, 1994

And the award for the most overlooked, underappreciated goal in Vancouver Canucks history goes to…(drum roll)…Geoff Courtnall! The remaining top 10 moments in franchise history are filled with a fair share of goods from Vancouver’s magical run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1994, but there’s no run, no memories, no nothing without Courtnall. After the Canucks thumped the Calgary Flames 5-0 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-finals, they lost three straight games as the Flames took a grip on the series. In a must-win Game 5 in Calgary, Pavel Bure and Wes Walz traded goals in regulation before Kirk McLean and Mike Vernon went save-for-save forcing overtime. In the extra session, there was no Bure brilliance or luster from Linden, it was Courtnall who ripped a shot from the left wing that eluded Vernon for the game-winner, the first of three consecutive OT wins by the Canucks.

#9 - Sedin shoots down Stars

April 11, 2007

The only thing better than Roberto Luongo’s 72 saves was Henrik Sedin’s golden goal. In Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-Final, Luongo stood on his head, but it would have been for not without Henrik finding the back of the net at 18:06 of the fourth overtime. Hank tipped in a pass from Daniel Sedin to end it after 136:50 minutes of total play, five hours and 21 minutes after the puck dropped to open the game and at roughly 12:31 a.m. PT Thursday morning. The longest game in Canucks history and the sixth longest playoff game in NHL history ended with the Canucks swarming Henrik and fans at GM Place in a white towel frenzy. Personally, I know my eyes were heavy as sandbags by the time this game finally came to a winning conclusion and that’s from just sitting on the couch. For Henrik, the one actually giving it his all on the ice, fatigue didn’t play a part at all. "Personally, I felt better the longer the game went," said Henrik. "I got my legs going in the fifth and sixth period." Thank goodness he did.

#8 - Bure's Calder campaign

June 16, 1992

The Russian Rocket came to Vancouver as an unknown, but after his rookie season in 1991-92, it was clear the Canucks had selected one of the best draft steals in NHL history. Bure, chosen in the sixth round, 113th overall in 1989, had an immediate impact with the Canucks scoring 34 goals and collecting 60 points to edge out Nicklas Lidstrom and Tony Amonte for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s best rookie. Bure became the 56th recipient of the Calder joining the likes of Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Luc Robitaille. Naturally, Pavelmania ensued in Vancouver and rightfully so, no player before him or since has electrified Canucks fans the way Bure did right from the beginning (see moment #17). Bure currently sits in seventh on the Canucks all-time scoring list with 254 goals and 224 assists for 478 points in 428 games played.

#7 - Draft day magic

June 26, 1999

"No one is leaving Boston with both Sedins except me.” Former Canucks general manager Brian Burke couldn’t have made a bolder statement heading into the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He stood behind his word as two months of wheeling and dealing came to a dramatic and franchise altering conclusion with Vancouver drafting both second and third taking Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Here’s how one of the biggest draft day moves ever went down (the Canucks went in holding the 3rd pick): first Vancouver sent Bryan McCabe and a 2000 first-round pick to Chicago for the 4th overall pick; then the 4th pick and a pair of third-rounders went to Tampa Bay for the 1st overall selection; next that 1st pick went to Atlanta for the 2nd pick under the condition the Thrashers wouldn’t take a Sedin. According to Burke, the whole thing came together about 15 minutes before the draft started; who knows where Vancouver would be had it not.

#6 - Towel power

April 29, 1982

With the Canucks trailing 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of the 1982 Western Conference Final – in what was a poorly officiated game at best – coach Roger Neilson had seen enough. He placed a white towel on the end of a hockey stick to signify a white flag and he held it high for all to see. A few players did the same and Neilson was ejected from the game. When the Canucks returned to Vancouver for Game 3, it was clear a tradition had been born as fans waived white towels in support of their beloved Canucks. Vancouver swept the next three games to win the series, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history. To this day Canucks fans use towel power as a means to pump up the home team and this tradition has been copied throughout the NHL, somewhat unsuccessfully in some cases (see Anaheim's Fowl Towels).

#5 - Greg Adams! Greg Adams!

May 24, 1994

There is no call without the moment, but there really is no moment without the call. With the Canucks leading the Toronto Maple Leafs three games to one in the 1993-94 Western Conference Final, Game 5 was deadlocked at 3-3 in the second overtime when Greg Adams became a household name. The sparkling play-by-play from Jim Robson said it all: “Back at the line to Babych, long shot, Potvin had trouble with it…Adams shoots, SCORES! GREG ADAMS! GREG ADAMS! ADAMS GETS THE WINNER 14 SECONDS INTO THE SECOND OVERTIME! THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS ARE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP FINAL!" To quote another legendary Canucks radio personality, Tom Larscheid, “You’re talking about instantaneous explosion of jubilation happening at the Pacific Coliseum.” During the ’94 run Adams’ nickname was GUS, as in “goals under stress,” and none was bigger than this.

#4 - Art & Hart for Hank

April 11 & June 23, 2010

The greatest individual season by a Vancouver Canuck played out in front of our eyes last year as Henrik Sedin defied the odds, silenced critics and established himself as one of the best players in the NHL. In his ninth season with the Canucks, Henrik was lights out to the tune of 29 goals, 83 assists and 112 points – all three career-highs and the latter two franchise bests. It took a four-point outing against Calgary in the finale game to secure the title and edge out Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin by three points and right up until it was 100 per cent official, naysayers still doubted he would become the first Vancouver player to ever win the Art Ross. Then the unthinkable happened and even Canucks fans couldn’t believe what they were hearing from presenter Guy Lafleur at the 2010 NHL Awards: “And the Hart Memorial Trophy goes to…Henrik Sedin.” No freaking way. What a year for Henrik.

#3 - The Save

April 30, 1994

It’s unquestionably the greatest save in Vancouver Canucks history and a strong argument can be made that the ‘Save of the Century’ is the greatest save in NHL history - or that it at least deserves consideration as such. At the 8:17 mark of the first overtime in Game 7 of the 1994 Western Conference Quarter-finals, Kirk McLean took breath-taking to a whole new level. The play started with Calgary breaking into the Vancouver zone on a 3-on-1 with Theoren Fleury leading the rush down the right wing. With Canucks defender Jyrki Lumme scrambling to cover all three Flames he wasn't unable to take away a pass from Fleury to Robert Reichel, who had snuck in from the left side. Reichel finished the tape-to-tape bang-bang play with a hard one-timer into a seemingly open net. How McLean stopped it, I still don’t understand. Captain Kirk sprang across the crease swinging his pads into the black hole to his right to kick the puck out with his foot. It was a toe-save so unbelievable the red light went on and many Flames fans momentarily celebrated the win. Instead, overtime continued allowing Pavel Bure to do what he did best.

#2 - Forcing Game 7

June 11, 1994

The greatest game ever played at the Pacific Coliseum came on a night that then Canucks owner Arthur Griffiths said he'll will never forget. He’s certainly not alone there. Vancouver took the first game of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, but then dropped three straight by a combined score of 12-4. Manhattan had the parade planned for Game 5, but the Canucks slugged out a convincing 6-3 win to live another day. Looking to force a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 for just the second time since 1971 and tenth time in the 55-year history of the best-of-seven format, Vancouver pounced on New York for 14 shots and a 1-0 lead after the first. The Canucks held a 2-1 advantage going into a frantic third frame and with time winding down Geoff Courtnall scored to ice the game, although play continued and the Rangers scored to cut the lead to 3-2. Upon review Courtnall’s shot was deemed a goal and the Canucks had a 4-1 win putting them one victory from hoisting the Stanley Cup. After the game an estimated 60,000 people filled the downtown core to celebrate what remains the biggest win in franchise history.

#1 - Comeback complete

April 30, 1994

The most startling comeback in Canucks franchise history ended with the biggest and most memorable goal of Pavel Bure’s career. Two minutes and 20 seconds into the second overtime against the Calgary Flames in Game 7 of the 1994 Western Conference Quarter-finals, Bure got behind Zarley Zalapski and took a blue line to blue line pass from Jeff Brown to put him in alone on Mike Vernon. Bure rocketed in at top speed faking to his backhand before pulling the puck forehand and around Vernon’s outstretched right pad for the series-clenching goal. Into the air went Bure’s stick and gloves as he was met with hysterically jubilant teammates. This win completed the triple overtime hat trick for Vancouver as Geoff Courtnall and Trevor Linden scored OT winners in Games 5 & 6 to force Game 7; Vancouver became the tenth team since 1987 to win a series when trailing 3-1. This victory was just the start of the magical run to the Stanley Cup Final, a run that unfortunately ended in disappointment, but a run that was ultimately built on courage and strength, pillars that continue to define this franchise into its 40th anniversary season.