I have to admit first that I never thought or believed for a moment the Canucks would win the Stanley Cup this year or in the near future. I stated the reasons in a fanpost back in 2009 after they were eliminated by the Hawks in the 2nd round. I became a Canucks fan that year and was heartbroken after their nightmarish 2nd round playoff exit. The 2010 playoffs were almost a blur to me. In fact, I don't recall watching any of their games against the Hawks. I wasn't surprised they were eliminated, and didn't care that much, to be honest.
This year, I should know better, but I still CARE about the team and HOPE they get to the conference final, even though I know the Hawks are Canucks' nemesis, and they have Luongo's number. I cried, not once but twice, in the past week, after watching the Canucks panic, implode, disintegrate, and get embarrassed by the Hawks. The TV commentators said it was "men against boys".
When you lose 3 straight games after leading the series 3-0, and were outscored 16-5 in that span, it's not about the games or even the playoffs, it's about the team and the players themselves. It's about who they are as men, what they're made of. As Montreal Canadien's forward Michael Cammalleri said after their 7-0 regular season loss to the Bruins, "It's look-in-the-mirror time."
I'm reminded of the movie Chariots of Fire: "Where does the power come from? To see the race to its end. From within."
(from General Patton's address to the troops on the eve of battle in World War II. Edited sightly to fit the occasion).
Do Not Fear
Every man is scared in an elimination game. If he says he's not, he's a liar. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of failure overpower his honor, and his innate manhood. Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base. Remember that the enemy is just as frightened as you are, and probably more so. They are not supermen.
All through your careers, you men have bitched about what you call "chicken shit drilling". That has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don't give a fuck for a man who's not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn't be here. You are ready for what's to come. A man must be alert at all times if he expects to stay alive. If you're not alert, sometime, an opponent is going to sneak up behind you and beat you to death.
Don't Ever Let Up
All of the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters, either. Every single man in this Team plays a vital role. Don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. Every man has a job to do and he must do it. Every man is a vital link in the great chain. The cowardly bastard could say, "Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in many". But, what if every man thought that way? Where in the hell would we be now? No. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole.
A team lives, sleeps, eats, and fights as a team. This individual heroic stuff is pure horse shit. Each man must not think only of himself, but also of his buddy fighting beside him. They were part of a team. Without team effort, without them, the fight would have been lost. All of the links in the chain pulled together and the chain became unbreakable.
Keep Attacking, Keep Advancing
When a man is lying in a shell hole, if he just stays there all day, an opponent will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing the enemy that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. I don't want to get any messages saying, "I am holding my position." We are not holding a thing. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.
There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the 2011 NHL Playoffs, you won't have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, "Well, your granddaddy played golf." No, Sir, you can look him straight in the eye and say, "Son, your granddaddy rode with the Vancouver Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals".