Well, it's getting on for time to call this weekend a wrap and move on to the second half of the season. It's been an immense amount of fun, but the people still talking about the Boston Bruins tomorrow will be like the guy at the party still slamming double vodka-cokes long after most of the guests have left and whoever is still around is helping to clean up the mess. That’s right: annoying.
But before we do put this thing on ice, I figured I’d note down a few random thoughts so I could put them in box somewhere for safekeeping, a box I could come back to and open whenever I had the overpowering urge to feel smug. So, here goes:
1) I’m not going to call the Boston Bruins the worst Stanley Cup champs ever, but they surely must be the most insecure. From the lead-up to this game, to the Luongo-Schneider thing (remember that?) to the game itself, to the aftermath, to the eventual announcement of the Marchant suspension to that aftermath, the behaviour of the entire Bruin organization, its fanbase and its cheerleaders in the media can only be characterized as bizarre. The thought which kept coming back to me was “but these guys WON”. You would almost think that they had something to feel guilty about. Either the cult of macho in that organization is off the scale even for a professional sports team, or the club is badly in need of an in-house psychiatrist. Someone like Dr. Melfi from the Sopranos.
2) Cody Hodgson is the real deal. For a young player to show that kind of poise in a pressure cooker of a game like that is something truly special. That bullet off the iron will go down as the goal of the season: there might be prettier goals, but there will be none more exhilarating for Canuck fans. Amongst the faithful, he might have gone from potential trade bait to untouchable with one blast from the top of the circle.
3) Anyone left in the fanbase hoping that the Canucks will change their roster around in order to “toughen up” (i.e. trade for a goon) might as well give it up. The win validated wholly and completely the organization’s approach. I still think there’s room for Brenden Morrow-type who can play, but those calling for a Zac Rinaldo-type enforcer will have to accept that that isn’t going to happen.
4) On a similar line of thought, anyone secretly wishing that the Canucks will all of a sudden prove Don Cherry wrong also needs to enter the acceptance stage. The primary job of this team is to put the two best power play forwards in the world on the ice with the man advantage as much as possible. Some of the ways they achieve that objective might not sit well with the traditionalists, but that’s really none of this team’s concern. The meting out of on-ice “justice” which results in an even-up penalty call will continue to be actively discouraged and even punished.
5) Finally, and this is hardly an original thought, but hands up anyone who thinks that AV is disappointed not to be coaching in the All-Star game? With Claude Julien already coaching the other team, the whole thing had the potential to turn into a sideshow of the first order. Apart from the fun derived from watching the league’s discomfort with two coaches whose relationship has gone from cool to frosty to openly hostile, there was nothing to be gained from participating in the All-Star non-event, not only for AV but for the entire Canucks organization. It would come as no surprise to me if both Hank and Daniel come down with the flu just in time to stay home and rest for a couple of days.
And with that, I’ll finish my last double bourbon and stumble unsteadily towards the door. I, as with most of the attendees, will treasure fond memories of this party many a month.