Living in Denver, I want nothing more to see this city return to hockey glory, to get out of it's playoff-missing ways, and last night I saw a glimmer of hope. The Avs played with purpose and speed, and completely controlled the 1st period. 2 goals in the first? Against Booby Lu? I was not looking forward to sitting in my Nucks attacking zone seat for most of the night. Thankfully, we turned on the jets (speaking of Jets, I saw a Jets jersey - nice!) and pulled it out in OT after a solid 2nd period and 3rd period full of pressure.
But enough about the game. I'm here to talk about the atmosphere. It was my first time being in a sold-out Pepsi Center, and it was awesome. The crowd was loud, vocal, and dudes we constantly joshing me about Buuuongo and Henrik being lost without his brother. I ran into a Bruins fan in the 1st intermission, and he was kind enough to comment "first the Rangers, then us, you guys just can't finish." I couldn't say much except "That's the past. We'll see you in the playoffs, and we'll get you!" (master of the diss, I know) to which he replied "SEE YOU IN THE FINALS!"
This kind of friendly rivalry is what we Canucks live off of. The rivalry on the ice is so heated, but it's nice when you interact with good down-to-earth fans who can give it to you and take it with a smile. Speaking of rivalries, I talked to a Hawks fan who was eager to give his opinion on the Keith suspension. He agreed with the suspension, but not necessarily with the amount of games levied. He was kind of on the fence on whether it was too little (premeditated, blatant and dirty) or too little (retaliation for the earlier hit, not necessarily going for the head, etc) but he and I were both in agreement that the punishment was justified. I mentioned that the Hawks will probably make the playoffs, and the 5 games will roll off their back, and he replied with "well, if they choke and don't make the playoffs, it wont be due to the suspension, it will be due to their choking, and they deserve it." Well said, rival.
Back to the game. About 10 rows off the ice in the Canucks attacking zone was a whole row of Canuck fans, with signs, wigs, jerseys, and all, cheering on our boys. I'm grabbing the CBC game right now, but surely they were on TV. Nuck Nation represent! They did such an amazing job getting "Go Canucks Go" chants going, dancing during music (especially the two dudes on their right - hilarious!) and leveling out the crazy Avs atmosphere with a healthy dose of nucks :)
I heard a "USA! USA!" chant a couple times which always makes me laugh. Surely the fans know 15 of their players are Canadian? ;)
Sadly, our Colorado hosts got a little chippy at the crowd, and particularly me I think at a couple points in the game. Someone behind me was tossing popcorn, and at one point in the 3rd, a chunk of cookie dough landed on my wife's jersey. I understand you like your team, but guaranteed if you had the chance to go to a Vancouver home game, you Av fans would be cheering on your boys just like I was. I also get that some Vancouver fans would probably react the same way, tossing bits of popcorn and such, so I take it as a result of the environment. Kind of disappointing, but I kind of expected it.
This is not hockey-related in the slightest, but the biggest WTF moment came when the girl in front of us, clearly feeling good after some brews, grinded and made out with an old dude, clearly feeling good after many brews. Her BF (I think) was off getting drinks, and my wife and I were both grossed out and highly entertained at the same time. There was grabbing and groping and everything. So messed. In OT, she even had a pen pipe and lit up what could have only been some medical MJ. So bizarre.
With everything weird that I witnessed at this game, I was very impressed with the number of Vancouver fans at the game. We represented our boys well, got some good chants going, high-fived on goals and fist-bumped in the hallways, and I made sure that my goal-celebration "WOOOOOO!!!"s were heard above the din of the arena.
That's about it. My throat is hoarse from yelling all night, and flipping out on Higgy's gamewinner, so I'm going to drink some Tim Horton's, watch the CBC game, and relive the magic. :)
GO CANUCKS GO!
-Ken in Colorado