Either way, this is going to be spectacular. The Canucks will either awaken from their slumber and get some kind of nod from the hockey gods who've not given them a single bounce this entire series, despite being the better team for at least half of the 180 minutes played so far. That, or they complete what could be the creme de la creme of failures by an organization that has volumes of them. It's a bloody mess. A win tonight guarantees another game, nothing more. We've examined the hows and the whys of the Canucks descent to this place. There's not a whole lot more to say. Cliches exhausted. Hyperbole meaningless. Even if the Canucks can somehow pull this off, this team changes in a radical way over the summer. And with the potential of labour strife looming between the NHL and it's Players' Association, this could be the last Canucks hockey for a long time.
Everyone has an opinion on how it's gotten to this sorry state, but at this point it's all just more noise. The Canucks either play their best hockey of the season beginning tonight, or it's done. While the Canuck fan in me is excited at Daniel Sedin's potential return to the lineup, the hockey fan and guy who's suffered concussions is terrified at the thought. You think this stretch has been concerning? Imagine a loss of our best player for the length of time the Penguins lost Sidney Crosby. Or worse. Even if Daniel gets cleared for tonight's game, it's hardly a sign that he's in the clear. Much like the future of this club should this disastrous start come to it's wretched climax tonight, it's cloudy at best.
No word as I write this about who will start in goal tonight. I've said it before and I will say it again. We very likely have seen Roberto Luongo's last appearance as a Canuck should they lose tonight. I'm not surprised at the number of people who simply cannot grasp how much of a loss this will be for this franchise. You can sit down and try and teach a dog to recite the alphabet all you want, you're not going to get anything more than a bark or a growl.
So here we are. Some of you have left. The rational me understands this. The emotional involvement we attach to sports teams is a funny thing. I know the investment I have in the wins and losses of this team are a touch embarrassing when I step back and look at them after the smoke clears. It's the best and worst part of being a fan. And while the rational me understands, the Canuck fan has no time for the weak willed. Either you support this team or you don't. For all the time some in this fan base spend harping on 'bandwagoners' to see so many so-called 'die hards' walk away before it's over is nauseating. If they lose, they lose. Take it like an adult. Conditional support is far worse than jumping on at the playoffs. Win or lose, they're you're team. I have zero respect if you can't see it out til the bitter, bloody end. This can be done. The Hawks nearly pulled it off last year. The Flyers did it to the Bruins 2 years ago. Hell the Kamloops Blazers and Halifax Mooseheads have both forced game 7's in their respective series', with Kamloops playing tonight. It can be done. Believe.
Another thing I am tired of? Hypocrisy. It's likely the biggest story aside from the number of suspendable acts we've seen in this playoffs so far. From the Blackhawks and their fans going from chiding a victim of a headshot to wailing because it's happened to one of their own, then praising their coach for doing things they've vilified the Canucks for, to the Pittsburgh Penguins and everything they've done in this post season, the league is being overrun by hypocrisy from the top down and back again. Look at this series, for example. The Canucks are being vilified as a team of divers based on the actions of pretty much one player. Yet we have our 'friends' on the other side pushing that tired narrative that the Canucks are the divers. Where's the outrage about the Kings not only diving, and not just diving more, but their organization openly mocking the Canucks via in-game entertainment? The word classless is so overused these days, that it's nearly lost it's meaning. But after the Twitter scandal, you'd think LA would be a tad hesitant to not be out and out douchebags. Wrong. Must be an LA thing... Back to last night's latest edition of the hit parade. The Raffi Torres hit is being held up as the worst thing ever right now. Chicago fans are making death threats to Coyotes' colour commentator Tyson Nash. There's talk of banning Torres for the rest of the playoffs. Focusing your rage on Torres is wrong, and let me tell you why: It lets the real villain off the hook. The NHL's department of player safety is at fault here. Brendan Shanahan's inability to send the message he and the NHL insisted they were doing this season is directly to blame. From the inconsistencies in suspension lengths given to star players, to ignoring often damning video to take the offending player at their word, a season that was supposed to showcase a new day in player discipline that highlights. What we've gotten is selective discipline that has done absolutely nothing to discourage players from trying to end the careers of their fellow players. It's all well and good for Chicago coach Joel Quenneville to be outraged at Torres' late, high hit on Hossa, but if the man had any sense of what a hypocrite he's being, he'd shut his damn mouth. Hossa's no angel. Sure, he's not Raffi Torres. He's not even Duncan Keith. But the Hawks have absolutely no moral ground to stand on. Be mad about the hit. Your outrage carries ZERO weight outside your fan base because of so many instances over the last couple years. And that brings us back to Keith. If Brendan Shanahan really does things differently, and looks at hits throughout a person's career, and ignores the failure on the part of his predecessor to effectively punish him, and give him a suspension that extends into the playoffs, that's a message that is heard loud and clear. Keith's hit was hands down the most vicious of the season. Yet it wasn't the longest suspension. It's wrong. It's why there's so many fines and suspensions now. A fire broke out, and you dumped a glass of water on it. It's burning out of control now, but instead of using a hose like you should have in the first place, you're running around, dribbling water here and there. I hope Hossa's alright. Hawks fans however would do well to ratchet down the hypocritical righteous indignation. This is one fan base who hasn't forgotten the vile, disgusting comments that came our way after Keith attacked Daniel and took him from our lineup for a month.
KICKASS METAL BATTLE TUNE OF THE DAY
A little Exodus for ya, because if you're gonna go out, may as well go out thrashing hard. The title track to Fabulous Disaster. I really hope to be here Friday... Go Canucks Go...