1976–77 Vancouver Canucks season

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1976–77 Vancouver Canucks
Division 4th Norris
Conference 8th Campbell
1976–77 record 25–42–13
Home record 13–21–6
Road record 12–21–7
Goals for 235
Goals against 294
Team information
General Manager Phil Maloney
Coach Phil Maloney (9–23–3)
Orland Kurtenbach (16–19–10)
Captain Chris Oddleifson
Alternate captains Don Lever
Dennis Kearns
Arena Pacific Coliseum
Average attendance 15,547
Team leaders
Goals Rick Blight (28)
Assists Dennis Kearns (55)
Points Rick Blight (68)
Penalties in minutes Harold Snepsts (149)
Wins Cesare Maniago (17)
Goals against average Cesare Maniago (3.36)

The 1976–77 Vancouver Canucks season was the team's seventh in the NHL. The Canucks failed to reach the playoffs. Phil Maloney, the teams general manager and head coach, was replaced mid-season as head coach by Orland Kurtenbach, the first captain of the Canucks.

Off-season[edit]

The Canucks made a complete change in the goal department for the 1976–77 season. On August 23, disgruntled Gary Smith was traded to Minnesota for veteran Cesare Maniago. Born and raised in Trail, Maniago became the first home-grown British Columbian to be a Canucks regular. In September, Ken Lockett signed as a free-agent with San Diego of the World Hockey Association. The back-up job was inherited by Curt Ridley. Both goalies would see plenty of rubber. The retirement of Andre Boudrias meant that the captaincy was available and Chris Oddleifson filled the vacancy.

Regular season[edit]

Sophomore right-winger Rick Blight scored four goals in a 9–5 loss in Pittsburgh on opening night and continued to lead the team in scoring throughout the season, finishing with 68 points. The loss was a sign of things to come, as the Canucks won only five of their first 24 games. After a 5–4 home loss to Montreal on December 20, Phil Maloney decided that he needed more time to concentrate on his General Manager duties and called up ex-Canuck captain Orland Kurtenbach from Tulsa of the Central League to coach the remainder of the season. He started off with a 3–2 win in Los Angeles before winning only one of his next eight.

In the middle of that streak was a game that did not count but garnered considerable attention. The Canucks hosted the Soviet club Spartak Moscow on December 28 at the Pacific Coliseum.  Rick Blight scored twice and Curt Ridley picked up a shutout as the Canucks won 2–0 before a jubilant full house. On January 25 there was another special event at the Coliseum—the NHL All-Star Game. Harold Snepsts represented the Canucks in the mid-season classic, which was won 4–3 by the Wales Conference.

But the team stumbled along until March, perhaps partly due to the infrequent play of rugged defenseman Mike Robitaille, who was having back problems. Then in a February 11 game against Pittsburgh, which the Canucks won 3–2, Robitaille came out of the penalty box and was blind-sided by Penguins tough-guy Dennis Owchar. Robitaille suffered a spinal injury and never played again. He later sued the Canucks for forcing him to play hurt, misdiagnosing his injuries, and making slanderous comments about him (calling him a “head case” and a hypochondriac) and was awarded $540,000 by the Supreme Court of B.C. in 1978.

With 17 games to play, there seemed to be no hope of salvaging the season, as the Canucks trailed Chicago for the third and final Smythe Division playoff spot by 15 points. But Vancouver went 8–3–6, which included a 10-game unbeaten streak (5–0–5). Chicago, meanwhile, took a nose dive and went 3–13–1 to finish up. The Canucks won both key meetings with the Black Hawks during that stretch. Unfortunately, they had to come from too far behind and a 6–3 home loss to Colorado in game number 79 eliminated them from playoff contention. They then won 6–3 over Minnesota in the finale to finish with 63 points, causing them to miss the final playoff spot to the Hawks on a tiebreaker (26–25 in wins).

Besides Blight's fine season, Dennis Kearns upped his franchise record for defensemen to 55 assists and set a new record with 60 points. But Kearns was also often the victim of the Coliseum boo-birds for his apparent lack of physical play and a tendency to make bad gambles. In any event, it was apparent that the modest success of the previous couple of seasons had gone for naught and that it was once again back to the drawing board.

Final standings[edit]

Smythe Division
GP W L T GF GA PTS
St. Louis Blues 80 32 39 9 239 276 73
Minnesota North Stars 80 23 39 18 240 310 64
Chicago Black Hawks 80 26 43 11 240 298 63
Vancouver Canucks 80 25 42 13 235 294 63
Colorado Rockies 80 20 46 14 226 307 54

[1]Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

Note: Teams that qualified for the playoffs are highlighted in bold.

Schedule and results[edit]

No. R Date Score Opponent Record
1 L October 6, 1976 5–9 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1976–77) 0–1–0
2 L October 9, 1976 0–3 @ Montreal Canadiens (1976–77) 0–2–0
3 L October 10, 1976 1–5 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1976–77) 0–3–0
4 W October 13, 1976 4–1 Washington Capitals (1976–77) 1–3–0
5 L October 16, 1976 3–6 St. Louis Blues (1976–77) 1–4–0
6 L October 19, 1976 1–6 @ New York Islanders (1976–77) 1–5–0
7 L October 20, 1976 0–4 @ Buffalo Sabres (1976–77) 1–6–0
8 W October 22, 1976 5–3 @ Atlanta Flames (1976–77) 2–6–0
9 W October 24, 1976 5–4 @ New York Rangers (1976–77) 3–6–0
10 L October 26, 1976 2–5 @ St. Louis Blues (1976–77) 3–7–0
11 W October 28, 1976 3–1 Cleveland Barons (1976–77) 4–7–0
12 T October 30, 1976 3–3 Atlanta Flames (1976–77) 4–7–1
13 L November 1, 1976 2–3 New York Islanders (1976–77) 4–8–1
14 L November 3, 1976 1–6 New York Rangers (1976–77) 4–9–1
15 W November 5, 1976 4–1 Los Angeles Kings (1976–77) 5–9–1
16 L November 7, 1976 1–3 @ Boston Bruins (1976–77) 5–10–1
17 L November 9, 1976 2–4 @ Washington Capitals (1976–77) 5–11–1
18 L November 11, 1976 4–6 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1976–77) 5–12–1
19 L November 13, 1976 0–3 Toronto Maple Leafs (1976–77) 5–13–1
20 L November 17, 1976 2–3 Buffalo Sabres (1976–77) 5–14–1
21 L November 19, 1976 4–6 New York Islanders (1976–77) 5–15–1
22 L November 22, 1976 2–3 New York Rangers (1976–77) 5–16–1
23 T November 24, 1976 4–4 @ Buffalo Sabres (1976–77) 5–16–2
24 L November 25, 1976 2–4 @ Boston Bruins (1976–77) 5–17–2
25 W November 27, 1976 4–3 Chicago Black Hawks (1976–77) 6–17–2
26 L December 1, 1976 2–5 Detroit Red Wings (1976–77) 6–18–2
27 L December 3, 1976 2–3 @ Colorado Rockies (1976–77) 6–19–2
28 W December 5, 1976 4–2 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1976–77) 7–19–2
29 L December 7, 1976 3–4 @ Washington Capitals (1976–77) 7–20–2
30 W December 8, 1976 4–3 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1976–77) 8–20–2
31 T December 11, 1976 4–4 Colorado Rockies (1976–77) 8–20–3
32 L December 14, 1976 3–6 Buffalo Sabres (1976–77) 8–21–3
33 L December 16, 1976 3–7 @ Detroit Red Wings (1976–77) 8–22–3
34 W December 18, 1976 3–1 @ Minnesota North Stars (1976–77) 9–22–3
35 L December 20, 1976 4–5 Montreal Canadiens (1976–77) 9–23–3
36 W December 22, 1976 3–2 @ Los Angeles Kings (1976–77) 10–23–3
37 L December 23, 1976 2–4 St. Louis Blues (1976–77) 10–24–3
38 L December 27, 1976 1–5 Philadelphia Flyers (1976–77) 10–25–3
39 L December 29, 1976 1–8 Boston Bruins (1976–77) 10–26–3
40 W January 1, 1977 5–1 @ New York Islanders (1976–77) 11–26–3
41 L January 2, 1977 3–5 @ New York Rangers (1976–77) 11–27–3
42 T January 4, 1977 2–2 @ Pittsburgh Penguins (1976–77) 11–27–4
43 L January 5, 1977 1–4 @ Atlanta Flames (1976–77) 11–28–4
44 L January 7, 1977 4–8 @ Cleveland Barons (1976–77) 11–29–4
45 W January 8, 1977 5–2 @ St. Louis Blues (1976–77) 12–29–4
46 W January 12, 1977 5–3 Minnesota North Stars (1976–77) 13–29–4
47 L January 15, 1977 2–4 Cleveland Barons (1976–77) 13–30–4
48 L January 19, 1977 0–3 Pittsburgh Penguins (1976–77) 13–31–4
49 L January 21, 1977 1–3 Toronto Maple Leafs (1976–77) 13–32–4
50 W January 23, 1977 6–2 New York Rangers (1976–77) 14–32–4
51 T January 27, 1977 1–1 Chicago Black Hawks (1976–77) 14–32–5
52 W January 29, 1977 4–3 Minnesota North Stars (1976–77) 15–32–5
53 L February 3, 1977 4–6 Montreal Canadiens (1976–77) 15–33–5
54 T February 5, 1977 5–5 @ Minnesota North Stars (1976–77) 15–33–6
55 L February 6, 1977 2–3 @ Detroit Red Wings (1976–77) 15–34–6
56 L February 9, 1977 0–6 @ Montreal Canadiens (1976–77) 15–35–6
57 W February 11, 1977 3–2 Pittsburgh Penguins (1976–77) 16–35–6
58 L February 14, 1977 1–2 New York Islanders (1976–77) 16–36–6
59 L February 16, 1977 3–7 Boston Bruins (1976–77) 16–37–6
60 W February 19, 1977 5–1 Atlanta Flames (1976–77) 17–37–6
61 L February 21, 1977 0–4 St. Louis Blues (1976–77) 17–38–6
62 T February 24, 1977 2–2 @ Los Angeles Kings (1976–77) 17–38–7
63 L February 26, 1977 0–3 @ Minnesota North Stars (1976–77) 17–39–7
64 W February 27, 1977 4–3 @ Chicago Black Hawks (1976–77) 18–39–7
65 W March 2, 1977 2–1 @ Atlanta Flames (1976–77) 19–39–7
66 L March 3, 1977 2–5 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1976–77) 19–40–7
67 T March 5, 1977 4–4 @ Toronto Maple Leafs (1976–77) 19–40–8
68 W March 9, 1977 5–2 Washington Capitals (1976–77) 20–40–8
69 W March 10, 1977 5–0 Chicago Black Hawks (1976–77) 21–40–8
70 T March 12, 1977 2–2 Colorado Rockies (1976–77) 21–40–9
71 W March 13, 1977 6–2 @ Colorado Rockies (1976–77) 22–40–9
72 W March 15, 1977 7–1 Detroit Red Wings (1976–77) 23–40–9
73 T March 19, 1977 4–4 @ St. Louis Blues (1976–77) 23–40–10
74 W March 20, 1977 4–1 @ Colorado Rockies (1976–77) 24–40–10
75 T March 22, 1977 4–4 Philadelphia Flyers (1976–77) 24–40–11
76 T March 25, 1977 4–4 @ Cleveland Barons (1976–77) 24–40–12
77 L March 26, 1977 3–9 @ Philadelphia Flyers (1976–77) 24–41–12
78 T March 29, 1977 3–3 Los Angeles Kings (1976–77) 24–41–13
79 L April 1, 1977 3–6 Colorado Rockies (1976–77) 24–42–13
80 W April 3, 1977 6–3 Minnesota North Stars (1976–77) 25–42–13

Playoffs[edit]

Player statistics[edit]

Awards and records[edit]

Transactions[edit]

Roster[edit]

Draft picks[edit]

Vancouver's picks at the 1976 NHL Entry Draft. The draft was at the NHL office in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Round # Player Nationality College/Junior/Club Team (League)
2 26 Bob Manno (D)  Canada St. Catharines Black Hawks (OHA)
3 44 Rob Flockhart (LW)  Canada Kamloops Chiefs (WCHL)
4 62 Elmer Ray (LW)  Canada Calgary Centennials (WCHL)
5 80 Rick Durston (LW)  Canada Victoria Cougars (WCHL)
6 98 Rob Tudor (C)  Canada Regina Pats (WCHL)
7 114 Brad Rhiness (C)  Canada Kingston Canadians (OHA)
8 122 Stu Ostlund (C)  Canada Michigan Tech Huskies (NCAA)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dinger, Ralph, ed. (2011). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2012. Dan Diamond & Associates. p. 151. ISBN 9781894801225.