Canucks and Beyond

From Taylor Pyatt

04/24/2009 at 4:28pm EDT

“I would like to thank my teammates, coaches and the entire Canucks organization for their tremendous compassion and support during this very difficult time for myself, my family and the entire Bragnalo family. I would also like to thank the passionate fans of the Canucks for their support and the media who have given us the respect and time to grieve in private. I loved Carly very much. My family and I will forever miss her. At this difficult time for our families it is my wish to not speak about our loss publically. Thank you.”

Taylor Pyatt - via Canucks.com

I remember thinking last year, “If the Canucks had only made the playoffs, Luc Bourdon wouldn’t have been home and on his bike, wouldn’t have had that accident.”

Then this year when Pyatt’s fiance was killed, I (foolishly) wondered, “If the Canucks had not been in the playoff race, would that girl have been on that vacation? Perhaps she’d have been home watching his final games of the season.”

Of course, both these contemplations are pointless. Terrible things happen and you can’t bargain with death in hindsight. But it’s all terribly sad, these things that have affected the men on this team.

Yesterday, Damien Cox wrote of the emotional bond amongst the Canucks and how that may have been partly forged by these tragedies. Perhaps that’s true, but I’m troubled by the notion we keep hearing, that these events are somehow contributing to their successes. (Not that Cox was saying that necessarily, but it’s implied in that column and from others.)

Certainly, bad things do have a way of bringing people together—it’s one of the few potentially good outcomes of facing tragedy. But does that mean we are to equate every success the team has on this playoff run with the worst events they’ve experienced in the past year? I certainly hope not. It’s contributes a rather sinister/callous air to what should be celebratory times of their skills and hard work.

Bourdon’s presence was certainly felt throughout this past season, as Burrows demonstrated clearly in the final moments of game #4; and Pyatt’s tragedy surely weighs on the whole team at this time. But equating their recent play as some direct consequence of those horrible events is as unfair as me wondering if how the Canucks performed leading up to the playoffs could have averted the tragic events in the first place.

Nonetheless, the bond the team shares is surely contributing to their success—as Cox remarked, they do look “like a cohesive, one-for-all-and-all-for-one unit” these days, which is true. So, here’s hoping that success continues.

But if so, I prefer to think it will be in spite of such tragedies, not because of them.

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