Canucks and Beyond
I haven’t written much about the Canucks since the end of the playoffs, mostly because it was so BRUTAL to reflect on. But I’ve never wavered on my opinion that it was a great season and a great run. And as a fan (after a week or so of highly intensive therapy) I’ve been hugely grateful for how far we went. Better to suffer in mid-June than mid-April, right?
I owe a large and belated swath of ‘thank yous’ to the thoughtful people who sent condolences by email and tweets (god, it’s like a funeral in so many ways!), empathizing for our team’s loss (or maybe just feeling sorry for me, their token “Canucks fan” friend).
Whatever it was, it made for a lovely epilogue on the season, and I’m grateful to everyone who had a few nice words to say about my favourite team.
Going to the Stanley Cup Finals was an epic experience as a hockey blogger, and I loved it. Full props to the Bruins and their fans for their amazing accomplishment—but to all the Canucks fans out there, we had a few minutes of fun, didn’t we?
Q. Alain, did you feel good about tonight the way the game started?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Yeah, I thought, you know, our guys were ready to play. But you know what, at the end of the day, I’m not going to analyze this game right now. Everybody is disappointed. Our players gave it their best shot. At the end of the day, you’ve got to give credit to where credit is due. Boston played a real strong game.
They have great goaltending and they were able to score a couple of tough goals around our net and they deserved to win.
Sometime tonight, a whole lot of people will be celebrating and a whole lot of others will be feeling pretty crappy. But what we can all agree on, I hope, is that it would be great to enjoy a fantastic hockey game before that final buzzer. A roller-coaster series like this one deserves to end with an epic game.
Whatever team you’re rooting for, enjoy the ride. (And… Go Canucks!)
P.S. I wrote a post before this series about all the reasons I’d celebrate winning a Stanley Cup. One of those reasons was in the memory of Luc Bourdon. So I’ll let Tom Cochrane end this post with his tribute to Bourdon nearly three years ago:
“We talked on the bench during Game 5 about how energized our crowd was. [...] But we’ve been talking about how during the whole Final that the building’s been rocking. Game 5 was just non-stop noise and every single play, bump and hit got a great reaction. We were really impressed with the fans and how they delivered in that game and we’re going to need that and more tonight.”
—Canucks backup Corey Schneider in his blog today
Having attended that game 5, I can attest to the crowd’s ‘presence’ (if that’s the right word?) in that game. The entire experience and atmosphere was electric in a way I’d never experienced in the past, never having attended a Stanley Cup Final before.
Unfortunately I won’t be attending the game tonight, but I trust the 19,000 Canucks fans who will be in the building and the 100,000-ish on the streets will make enough noise to blow the roof off Vancouver tonight.
Q. How does this compare with the gold medal final in terms of what you’ve talked about, this process, 82 games, and how this is a different stage? Can you compare them?
RYAN KESLER: It’s tough, you know, we played 82 games before we got in the playoffs, the Olympics were two weeks and it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. The game itself, you know, has some similarities, but it’s tough to compare the two.
Q. Can you enjoy the moment? They were talking about trying to enjoy the day, but obviously you’re nervous, but just soaking it in?
RYAN KESLER: It’s all about enjoying the day. Every day you don’t wake up playin’ for the Cup, Game 7. You know, it’s awesome.
Q. Alain, you said yesterday that Alex Edler is fine, is he good to go tonight?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Good to go.
Q. Coach, can you talk about the insertion of Jeff Tambellini, Game 7 in his hometown, a dream scenario, especially for him tonight?
COACH VIGNEAULT: Without a doubt, for Jeff to come in at this point. He has had some experience in this series, but he hasn’t played regular. But he’s going to get an opportunity here tonight to play the seventh game to win the Stanley Cup.
I’m sure he’s excited. He knows about their history in B.C., the history of the Canucks. I’m sure he’s going to be real good tonight.
From what Mike Gillis said tonight, Mason Raymond has at least five months of recovery in front of him. Gillis as much as described the injury as a “broken back” in his press conference, and the horror of this whole situation will certainly go down in the history books as a terrible addendum when we recall this Stanley Cup Final, whoever wins it.
About the non-suspension of Johnny Boychuk, I have no objections to that ruling. (At least in an ideal world where common sense rules the day, anyway.) I don’t think Raymond’s terrible injury was either Boychuk’s intent, nor anything he could have forseen by following through on his hit into the boards. A one-in-a-million terrible result.
However, the hit was certainly worthy of an interference call—no puck anywhere around—and that’s where the NHL ends up looking ridiculous in this whole mess. Mike Murphy, widely lauded as “finally getting it right” with the harsh Rome suspension, now looks like a man who was flying by the seat of his pants when he made that call earlier in the series.
Terri Theodore of the Canadian Press has a hockey story you don’t come across every day.
Vinnie Danes came to the west coast seven years ago, after losing his wife and unborn baby in a car accident. He’s been living among the army of homeless in Vancouver since then, and is currently ‘hosting’ hockey nights for his friends on the street.
But when the Stanley Cup playoffs are on, Vinnie Danes is just like most Canadians who want to kick back and watch the game.
Not far from the pricey rink-side seats in Rogers Arena and the booming outdoor sites where jersey-clad masses cheer the Vancouver Canucks, Danes has set up his own viewing area where he and his friends can watch the game.
Tucked inside a back alley carport, Danes’ tiny TV sits atop of an industrial garbage bin surrounded by half a dozen chairs rescued from the garbage dump.
The picture is grainy, despite a 15-metre antenna that snakes around two old shopping carts filled with bottles and reaches up to the roof.
But the sound is good and the back alley seems no different than many homes when the hockey game is on: men yelling at the TV, criticizing the players or the referees and cracking open a beer.
Story continued here.
After some thought about how Roberto Luongo is likely to be handling the pressures of game 7, given the highs and lows he’s gone through in this series, my final estimation is that he’s probably not even thinking about the past games of this Stanley Cup Final series anymore. (Or I should say, if it was me, I wouldn’t be thinking about them anymore.)
Because for Luongo, this is much like a 2010 redux for the Gold Medal, one game takes all. And given how that turned out for him, on his own home ice no less, it’s probably a pretty inspiring way to approach game 7.
Furthermore, judging by his record on home ice during these 2011 Playoffs, home is a great place to be. Let’s consider the numbers:
- —In 13 home games, Luongo has allowed 23 goals. That’s 1.77 goals per game.
- —Luongo has had all 4 shutouts on home ice, including two against Boston
- —Luongo has recorded a .978 SV% against the Bruins on home ice.
About Canucks and Beyond
Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.
In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.
So that's me. Who the hell are you?
Alanah's Twitter: [@alanah1]