This has all been said before, but right now i'm sitting at work as a useless bundle of kinetic energy, so I may as well right some stuffs. Catharsis, man... So here we sit, just hours away from puck drop. The world goes on, commerce happens and people go about their daily grind all over the world. I gotta say, here in Vancouver there is a sense of expectation I haven't felt since about 3 days before the Olympics started last year. In a purely hockey sense, the last time there was an energy quite like this (that I was actually part of) was in Edmonton in 1987 (I was still in school in 84 and 85, hence wasn't in Edmonton during the first two runs). It's palpable, the excitement. I went to the cafe down the street today to grab my lunch and there was a veritable buzz in there. Strangers who see each other a couple times a week and never speak talking about the game. Everyone with an opinion about how many games it will take the Canucks to wipe the sneer of Patrick Kane's somewhat rodent like face.
Everywhere I look I see jerseys, window flags, painted faces... the NHL couldn't have planned this better for Vancouver fans if they tried. Our recent nemesis in the first round, after the season each team has had? Come ON! Does it get any better than this?? No way man, no way. Will follow up series have this same energy? I don't think so... oh don't get me wrong, there will be a buzz, but this is different. This is a collective slaying of personal dragons and proving the naysayers wrong. Not just Luongo, the sedins, Kesler, AMFB or the team as whole...for all of us. All of us Canucks fans who have spent about 3 months reading comments like 'They won't get past Chicago in the playoffs anyways' and 'Luongo will choke in the playoffs' and 'they just don't have the heart'. Let's not even talk about the old standby's 'nothing previous matters now, it's a new game' and it's bizarrely contrary partner 'they've never won squat'.
This is our time, people, and everyone seems to feel it. Last year we thought in a homer sense that we were as good a team as we'd ever had. This year is different. This year we and the people outside as well say 'This is the best, deepest, most professional team the canucks have ever had, without a doubt.' There is no 'they're a great team BUT...' statement to make about the 2010/2011 Canucks. You can't say we have questionable goaltending. You can't say we lack depth on defence. You can't say we have one (or even two) line(s) of scoring and nothing else. You can't say the coaching is lacking or the special teams are weak or the leadership is questionable or we're short on revenue. This is a special team at a special time.
Off the energy, onto reflection... If I reflect on the season and what made the Canucks so special this year, the one thing that really sticks out to me is that they stuck to a system and made it successful. This team never seemed to sag, no matter if we were missing the first 5 defensemen on the chart or what have you. Even in a game, in the back half of the season if we were down a goal or two nobody panic'd. Sometimes we didn't come back and win or get the bettman point, but mostly we did. That's pretty exciting stuff i'd say. I think AV and GMMG need to pat themselves on the back a bit for both assembling the pieces to have that level of professionalism and for finding a way to have everybody in the room and in the system buy into it and take accountability for their actions.
I've been a canucks fan for about 17 years. I kind of got swept up in the 1994 run and it's just built from there year over year. I still remember when I realized I the canucks victories were more important to me than Oilers victories, and surprisingly enough it was when the team was sucking rocks. Thanks Messier... Over the years as a canucks fan i've had to put up with reading all kinds of nasty things about my team and it's fans. And often the team didn't help matters. The bertuzzi incident...blech. Colorado having our number for a couple years, then Minnesota. Worse, the hated Flames. Dan Cloutier vs detroit, good christ. Then we had the jackass with the laser pointer, the guy beating up the anaheim fan, douchebags of all sorts making us all look bad in the eyes of others.
There were all the 'Sedin Sisters' digs, the comments 'oh they'll never be more than second liners', 'they're lazy euros who won't get dirty' 'no legs, no hands'. Yup... How about the Terror Twins? To this day very few fans outside of Vancouver realize what a fucking gold mine of value Alex Burrows is, and all they see is a shit disturber and agitator with no skill. Yeah, right he only gets points cuz he's with the sedins, my grandmother could get 50 points on that line. Personally I'm glad you think that. I think most of us canucks fans are. Kesler is finally getting his due, but only because of the US olympic team. Amazing the power of MSM for a player's profile, huh? Well, guess what: we got him, he plays for us. Philly made a good play for him, but we won that one...
And how about Luongo. 'A Goalie as a captain? BAHHAHAHAHA' 'He's never won squat'. 'He'll choke...he always does.' 7uongo. Crybaby. Yup... just...yup.
So, yeah...i really don't, as of this moment in time, see any reason at all why we won't be going as deep as we've ever gone in the playoffs this year. Sure things could change due to bad luck or what have you, but as long as we don't lose too many key pieces, I just don't see how this team can not go to the SCF. I really can't imagine a situation where the discipline and accountability we've preached all season disappears, and to me that's the only other thing that can beat us.
So good luck to you Chicago, and everyone who follows...as much fight as you'll give us, this team is for real and i'm pretty sure you know it too.
Ahh...that was cathartic. Now ima shut down NM and do some work. :)