Good evening. I'm your friendly, neighborhood Canucks fan living out in Northern California. I could have watched the game at my apartment complex tonight, but I could not resist going out to the bar to swim in the shark-infested waters. It was a lot of fun to be out there tonight. Game one was on my husband's birthday so we were with friends in Oakland. One of whom starts paying attention each year around now if the local team is still in the running. So that was fun since he was so cocky, teasing me through two periods but we got the win. Unfortunately he is really a baseball fan so he can't really follow, and actually the Versus coverage helps him have a clue what is going on, even though I still had to explain why hitting someone in the face with the butt of your stick is illegal. It was fun, but not nearly as fun as tonight.
This evening, I went by myself to the local bar here in Davis, CA which is a university town about 100 miles (160 km) northeast of San Jose. It was three-quarters full of Sharks fans, with about a quarter of the folks there watching the basketball. The hockey was on the big screen TV along with a half dozen others along the walls. This bar holds about 50 people and has a total of 10 TVs so obviously the coverage was prominent.
I generally have quite a lot of respect for Sharks fans. Each time I've been to the Tank they've followed the game avidly and been quite knowledgeable about what is going on. However with my job I don't usually have time to follow more than the Canucks at this time of year, since it's my busiest work time. So I haven't experienced playoff Sharks fans where more people come out of the woodwork and many can't quite follow the puck or the action. They don't realize the Sharks have scored until Versus tells them it is so. I found this particularly funny because I was swearing loudly before the people around me realized they'd scored. Which they picked up on as the game went on and started reacting to me, rather than the television. It was kind of hilarious. Or I was whooping loudly before they realized we'd scored. And they were less pleased...
At the beginning the Sharks fans were taunting me saying Luongo sucks, and that the Canucks were going down. Trying to high five me after the first goal, you know typical, relatively good-natured ribbing.One of these people was wearing a Boyle sweater and I just barely held my tongue. Because I figure it's best to let what happens on the ice do the talking. And are you really a particularly rational person if you've chosen to get a Boyle sweater? Then we got those two goals in 39 seconds and they started to quiet down. Then the third came, and I stayed pretty quiet other than whooping when we scored and turning around to smile at people while cheering for our guys. And then we scored that 6th goal and I couldn't help but lean over to the girl in the Boyle sweater who was heckling me about Luongo and say, "So you think it's time to give Niemi the rest of the night off?"
This put her hackles up since she was already pretty wasted and disgruntled. She told me to turn back around pretty angrily. Which I did, after laughing at her anger and saying innocently, "What? Your D isn't doing much for him. Maybe he needs a break."
She and her friends left shortly after. And two different Sharks fans apologized to me for her behavior, saying that Sharks fans are usually much more civil. I didn't mind. I'm glad that they are passionate about their team even if they don't realize that it would have been logical to pull Niemi, or how dumb it is for Marleau to challenge Bieksa. Let's take one of our best scorers off the ice for ten minutes, that'll help us overcome a deficit. Yep brilliant logic.
At least this helped me teach them what a Gordie Howe hat trick is when Bieksa completed it in the third. In conclusion, it is really fun to cheer for the Canucks when you are the only one in the bar on their side. Especially when they win like they did tonight. I am thankful that people are trying to be hockey fans out here, even if they are slightly misguided. They can only learn more the more games they watch.
Go Canucks! Wish I could be at the Tank when you get here Friday. Oddly enough I will be in Toronto watching with nucksandpucks.