Superstitions demystified

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Welcome to Friday the 13th. Oh, is that a black cat looking over your shoulder? Ha, gotcha!

Superstitious Vancouver Canucks' fans might want to rethink their number-based claim that this will be the season for a Stanley Cup parade.

The Canucks have played for the Stanley Cup twice in 12-season intervals and 2007 is 12 seasons since the magical spring of 1994. But it's actually 13 years since 1994. You can't forget how the millionaire players and billionaire team owners couldn't agree on a labour deal so 2005's Stanley Cup playoffs were cancelled.

The Canucks' broken 12-year Cup encounter cycle was actually tied to the Chinese zodiac.

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, it was the year of the dog when the Stanley Cup was on the ice at Pacific Coliseum on Oct. 9, 1970 before Vancouver's first NHL game.

The Stanley Cup was awarded at the Rink on Renfrew on May 16, 1982 when the New York Islanders swept the championship in the next year of the dog. And it was there in a subsequent year of the dog on June 11, 1994, ready to reward the New York Rangers until Vancouver's Game 6 comeback forced a seventh game in Manhattan.

GM Place is just a few rink lengths away from Chinatown, but the Canucks were in the doghouse when they missed last year's playoffs, during, yes, the year of the dog.

It's now the year of the boar. Time to start a new tradition.

So who's the best Canuck to wear No. 13?

There isn't much choice. It's the least popular sweater number between 1 and 36, which means Canadian hockey players are generally triskaidekaphobic. Only three players, all imports, have worn the number: Artem Chubarov, Lars Lindgren and Sergei Nemchinov.

Swedish blueliner Lindgren was part of the Cinderella 1982 Cup-finalist Canucks, so he gets the nod as the luckiest 13 in Canuckville.

Today's Canucks (and their opponents from Dallas) have no No. 13s in this series. The Canucks do, however, have a powerful No. 13 on their side. It's NBA MVP Steve Nash. The Phoenix Suns' guard from Victoria often appears in a recorded greeting on GM Place's video scoreboard, encouraging Canucks' fans to get loud.


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