Friday, June 24, 2011

That not so special moment.

As is the rite of Spring in Vancouver, that moment arrived, it passed and life goes on. I'm getting better at spotting the moment. That moment is the fleeting instant when the reality of the current season are replaced by hopes for a future success. In the spring of 2011, the moment for me was marked at about 7:45 PM PDT on June 15. Bergeron had just scored Boston's third goal of game seven and Boston's third shorthanded goal of the series. And for the 40th time the thought crept across my mind; "maybe next year."

The cup was not lost in that moment. It had been lost, in my opinion, back in game 2. I'll share those thoughts with you another time.

Congratulations to the Bruins. For the Canucks, I can't say "well done" just as I can't say "disaster." Mike Gillis has a task ahead of him. Gillis has met the enemy and he is us. Gillis needs to find an combination of players that foster an environment where the Twins can flourish when the compete level raises. Likely this means a fourth line with enough skill to play in a cup final. Players with enough grit or Power Play skill to deter the aggression of a play off opponent. Gillis needs to bolster the mind a fragile net minder. When the battle grew close the Bruins stepped up and the Canucks stepped aside. The spring of 2012 will tell us if the Canucks learnt from this painful experience. Or is this a team not able to win on the largest stage?

For Vancouver, we have met the enemy and he is us. The inappropriate mob response to Game 7 is unacceptable. It was unacceptable in 1994 and it is even more so today. As a community of fans we need to behave in a manner befitting Canada, Vancouver and the Canucks. The entire country has been tarnished by the actions of a few. In the science of mob situations there is often the, almost apologetic, explanation that "it only takes a few to turn the mood of a crowd." This may be conventional thinking on what happened in downtown Vancouver on the evening of June 15, 2011. We may also state that "the few" would have done this regardless if the Canucks won or loss. Isn't the exact opposite true? Isn't it the actions of the many that should turn the mood of the few? Indeed we met the enemy and he was us. We stood by and let the few allow the situation get out of hand. Shame on us. The spring of 2012 will most likely give Canuck's fans another chance. Vancouver: take that opportunity to justify our civic and team pride. Expo 86 and the 2010 Olympics set the example. There is no place for our sensless response to Game 7's in '94 and '11.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Canucks Playoff Summary

Round 1
Canucks 4 - 3

Round 2
Canucks 4 - 2

Round 3 - Conference Finals
Canucks 4 - 1

Round 4 - Stanley Cup Finals
Boston Bruins 2010-2011 Stanley Cup Champions


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Friday, June 10, 2011

Home Ice Advantage

The adage goes "you are not in trouble until you lose on home ice." Tonight we see if the shift in momentum that occurred in Boston has lead to "trouble." It is like tennis, you need to win more games regardless of the number of points won. The lack of offence and leaky defence in Boston means that the series is tied 2 - 2; nothing more. It is 2 out of 3 with home ice advantage for the mug. The boys need to stay on the body, finish the checks and the odd powerplay goal (say 1 per 4 chances) would help. Mathematically the boys are two goals away from a successful campaign. Two goals plus two shutouts and it is over. Two 1 - 0 games on home ice? Why not. Back to back shutouts for Luongo? More likely than one half of the goal tending tandem on Jennings Trophy winning team giving up 12 goals in two games. I like our chances even if I suspect a Game 7 might be in our future.


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Saturday, June 04, 2011

Playoff Schedule

The Stanley Cup finals games are all at 5:00PM Pacific time.

Game 1 is on June 1 in Vancouver (Canucks won 1-0)

Game 2 is on June 4 in Vancouver

Game 3 is on June 6 in Boston

Game 4 is on June 8 in Boston (potentially the first opportunity for the Canucks)

If needed Game 5 is on June 10 in Vancouver (potentially the first opportunity for the Bruins)

If needed Game 6 is on June 13 in Boston (one team will have the opportunity)

If needed Game 7 is on June 15 in Vancouver (the game ends with one team is taking the cup)


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Friday, June 03, 2011

Celebrating Stanley

Recently it has been too much for me to write. The Chicago series was intense. Nashville was a gasp for a small breath. Then the Sharks when away easier than I expected. Now the Bruins. The boys have one win in the bank. Three to go.

Alanah McGinley is a virtual acquaintance. I've never personally met the lady. She currently writes for Paul Kukla at KuklasKorner. She stopped writing some time back with the lame excuse of taking time off to have a kid. I was disappointed in her for that. I am pleased to see with our 'Nucks in the finals she couldn't resist. As one of a very few Bloggers with real press credentials (and not a press person who moved to the bloggoshere) Alanah is a inspiration to many bloggers. Me included. Her recent post on why she would celebrate a Stanley Cup is here. She makes some very good points.

My thoughts on who deserves mention in a celebration of Stanley:

The other players: The cup means so much to us because of the names. It is the only professional sports trophy that has the names of all the previous winners engraved into the cup (well the bands around the base). If you are Alex Burrows or Kevin Bieksa and you do go on to win this series, your name gets added to the cup along side Jean Beliveau, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and every other icon of the game that has had the past good fortune to have contested for and won the cup. What an honour. Every fall we start out wanting to give that honour to the current year's version of the Canucks. Every spring we have that moment when we sigh and say "maybe next year." So far for in 2010-11; not yet. Looks are OK so far. Over the forty year history of the team, we seem to have our best chance. In 1994 one more win was needed. In 2011 two more wins are needed to reach the same point - but I still like our chances. The celebration of the third and fourth lines the fifth and sixth defence men. That is what I want to see.

Fred: While the fact that the Canucks have never won the cup is true, Vancouver HAS won the Stanley Cup before. Lead by Fred 'Cyclone' Taylor the 1915 version of the Vancouver Millionaires beat the Ottawa Senators to win the Stanley Cup. Cyclone's grave is a few hundred meters SW of the corner of Imperial and Willingdon in Burnaby. I'm sure Fred is looking down and smiling at the prospect that the cup might be coming home after 96 years.

Trevor: For 16 of 20 NHL seasons the lanky kid who was the son of a Medicine Hat trucker defined class and grace. He took us on the 1994 run. He came within one goal of putting a Game 7 into overtime. He went on to lead the NHLPA trough some very serious times. When his tenure was complete he quietly stepped aside to let a new generation of leaders take over. The PA has never since had the creditability it had when Trevor was at the helm. His dedication to the city and people of Vancouver continues today. Ask yourself: who would you rather have for a best friend? Trevor Linden or Mark Messier? New York may have won the cup in '94 but we were the winners because we still have Trevor Linden.

Pat and Pasha: The Big Irishman brought us Kirk McLean, Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure. Bure was the most exciting thing I have ever seen on skates. I was there on November 12, 1991 when he scored his first NHL goal. I had no idea who Bure was. All I knew was we stood and gave him a standing ovation for what seemed like 10 minutes. Gretzky (the LA version) was the opponent. Bure then scored a second goal and was by far the best player on the ice. We won 8-2. I remember March 9 1993, Bure scored his 50th goal of the season. It was a, on CKNW only, neutral ice game against Buffalo played in Hamilton. After the game Tommy Larcheid, with his trademark impish glee, asked Bure "do you know who was the last Canuck to score 50 goals?" Bure dead panned, in his charming Russian accent, "me?" Quinn brought us those times. He lifted the team to a new level. Harry Neale may have brought the team along from an expansion door mat but Quinn laid the foundation to build the team into a legitimate NHL contender. Pat Quinn still lives in West Vancouver. If you'd like to meet him, hang out for brunch on a Sunday at Fraiche restaurant up at the top of the British Properties. He is often there around 11:30AM.

Stanley: The park and the cup are named after Lord Stanley. His name was also Fred - the karma is aligning! Isn't appropriate that the Lord's mug be once again returned to our park that shares its name?


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