As I turned the light out last night I wondered if I could sleep and how I would feel come morning. And lo and behold I slept well and awoke feeling a strange mixture of zen-like calmness and a type of bottled rage that I usually uncorked in a moshpit back in my younger, more mobile days. Today might be the day that we as a fanbase have dreamed of, longed for, hell we've downright ached for this. And there's so many that are trying to make you and everyone else think that somehow this team and you as a fan are completely unworthy of this moment. They say this because they're going to have to come up with genuine criticisms from now on. They can't mock us anymore if we're on top when the final siren sounds tonight. And in the remaining hours leading to game time they're gonna throw everything they have at us. Step back. Breathe. And smile. Realize what they're saying means and don't retaliate. Just laugh knowing that vindication is coming, that our time has arrived.
It's taken until nearly the end of the series but some bloggers are finally taking the media to task over the coverage of the Canucks. From the implication that embellishments are infinitely worse than stick fouls, to the assertion that somehow this team has played dirtier than any team in history, to name calling of players by media members and misquotes and downright lies, the media have tried to portray this series in a very specific light. And that's a damn shame because it completely ignores just how good this series has been.
We've all heard what they're saying. We're classless. Gutless. We're cheaters. Dirty. Divers. Everything you can use to slag a hockey team has been hurled at the Canucks. The thing that makes it so bizarre is that it requires equal parts of willful ignorance, historical revisionism and flat out dishonesty. Both of these teams are like so many champions before them: A mixture of skill and grit that in the game's showcase series lay it all out on the ice. You show me a team that doesn't head into the finals with the mantra of 'whatever it takes to win', and I will show a team that doesn't want or deserve to win.
Alexandre Burrows is no Claude Lemieux. Neither is Aaron Rome for that matter. In a way I suppose we really shouldn't be surprised that so many have decided to decree that the Canucks are somehow unworthy of this moment. All season long and throughout the playoffs this team has been judged on style points as though this were standard practice. I suppose that you can forgive those of you who don't remember Cup Champions of the past because of your age. And in a way, some of these journalists have to push this nonsense, because after all, painting the Canucks in a favourable light, or calling out the Bruins for doing the exact same things during the series would see them having to answer to fans of teams who aren't even here. And that would be the worst thing ever wouldn't it?
So instead of media giving both teams credit the Bruins are lauded in losses and the Canucks are questioned and doubted in wins. And anyone who decides to question the bias and downright dishonesty of this coverage gets attacked in a manner that parallels the rabid media frenzy that often surrounded those who dared speak out about George W. Bush during his presidency. A lot of noise, a lot of lies and most of all an apparent blindness to the fact that they're guilty of the same things they accuse the Vancouver media of.
So instead of the media raving about Roberto Luongo's statement Game 5, the focus instead is outrage about a statement he made after the game, often sliced and diced to fit particular agendas. Aaron Rome has been framed as one of the all-time legendary villians because of an ill-advised late hit. And no matter how bad you want to believe that it was something else, that's what it was. The Boston media's (and the others that followed blindly rather than actually be objective) constant misrepresentation of this hit has been downright shameful. The hypocrisy given their words and actions after the Zdeno Chara hit on Montreal's Max Pacioretty has hardly been discussed by media outside the Canucks media. Not comparing the hit but the reactions afterward are telling.
As many have mentioned in the past the advent of Twitter's role in the way hockey fans follow the game has had a huge impact on how this year's playoffs have been perceived. There are some great things about it, don't get me wrong. The issue here is that the thing that is so great about it, is also the thing that is so bad about it: The average joe gets the same platform as the experienced journalist. And in order to keep their followers entertained in this 140 character world many journalists find themselves going down the road of irrationality, choosing the path of LCD statements that sound more like the bitter fans of teams defeated along the way than someone who is supposed to be exemplifying impartiality. Agendas have been laid out clearly for all to see. Ryan Lambert and Harrison Mooney were bang on in their respective columns: This team isn't any worse than any other Cup champion. The difference is the magnitude of the media coverage and nothing more. It's comical to me that after the soul-crushing losses two years in a row, where the Canucks were told they needed more grit and more of a do anything to win attitude if they wanted to succeed now the Canucks are villains because Mike Gillis fine tuned this team not just to address those criticisms but make a team that was better than the team that crushed them the past two years? That's just the most frustrating narrative in my eyes. It's been the thing that has won the Cup for every team whose name is on hockey's Holy Grail. It is pathetic to suggest the Canucks are wrong for doing the exact same thing.
I really could go on about this but it's time to move the focus back to where it belongs. On the game. The Canucks seem calm and focused, the Bruins meanwhile seem distracted with thoughts of perceived slights and the underlying pressure of the possibility of losing the Cup on home ice. All the narratives that have been churned out during this series thankfully can disappear tonight. It can be just about two teams that deserve to be here leaving it all out on the ice. And when the smoke clears, this team will raise their hands in victory. Canucks fans around the world (and yes, we're everywhere and this is NOT a bandwagon thing) will join them. This team. This moment. This is what we live for. And nothing can stop it.
WAACH 'Cast's Classic Album Of The Day: METALLICA- Master Of Puppets
In the eyes of many, this is the greatest metal album of all time. 8 absolutely bone-crushing songs that would have been legendary on any album, but combined still leave the listener battered and beaten after listening. The album would see them become metal superstars, and suffer an unthinkable tragedy as they lost bassist Cliff Burton in a bus accident on an icy Swedish highway. Metal has yet to see an album that can top this, and likely never will.