One of the interesting things about sports is how heated rivalries can change the demeanor of people. Seemingly mild-mannered, everyday Joes become transformed into shirtless, face-painted maniacs in support of their team, and even more when a team that is identified as one of your strongest rivalries comes to town. With the news breaking last night of Brian Burke's son Brendan and a passenger losing their lives in a car accident in Indiana, the notion of rivalries goes out the window. More after the jump.The sports world was abuzz earlier this season when Brendan Burke came out, with his father by his side. It was an extremely moving story of the courage to live life honestly, and of unconditional love between parent and child. The lessons learned here from Brendan's decision to tell his father, and from the classy and inspiring way Brian handled it should be held up as an example to all who face challenges with their loved ones.
As a parent, the news hit me hard. The Burke's, as well as the family of his passenger, 18 year old Mark Reedy were forever changed yesterday. For a day even, we need to stand beside someone who is still, and will always be, part of the Canucks family. All the things that have happened in his time as Canucks GM and since then, that's just his job. Brian Burke the person is hurting right now, and that outweighs the rivalry.
My hope is that because of the courage shown by Brendan and Brian, one day this won't even be a story. People won't have to come out of the closet, because there won't be one. Race, religion, sexual orientation... none of it really matters, it's the person inside that counts. We all bleed red.
On behalf of all of us here at Nucks Misconduct, we send our deepest sympathies to the Burke and Reedy families. Our thoughts are also with everyone in Leafs Nation, as the pain we as fans suffered not so long ago with the tragic loss of Luc Bourdon is still fresh in our minds. Pension Plan Puppets has an incredible write up on the story, please take the time to read it. There are links there as well to the background on the story of Brendan Burke worth reading.
The show must go on...
As I write this it's just under 3 hours from game time, god I have a real love/hate relationship with these early starts. Part of me likes the notion of getting the game out of the way and having the rest of my day to do with as I please, the other part, well... remembers Pittsburgh (knock on wood). The Canucks have lost 2 straight, and to be honest, really haven't played that well.
The Sedin line has been held pointless since their explosion in Toronto, Roberto Luongo has only played 4 period of hockey on this road trip, and our defense, as well as bottom 6 forwards are being exposed as weaknesses. Add in more drama in the form of the statements coming out of the Cody Hodgson camp regarding his return from injury and you have a team that appears poised on the edge of a major slump. One loss, and this Canucks team that had been cruising along rather well for almost 2 months could slide hard into a slump. A win, and they draw even on the trip and have a couple days off to regroup and prepare for a game in Tampa Tuesday.
The best part is, we play a Boston team
due for a loss due for a win in the worst way. Their slump is reaching Oiler-like status, and with the Canucks struggles of late, someone is due to break out of it. Remember the game at the end of January? Calgary laid the boots to the sad sack Oilers. I get the feeling today's game will be just like that, though it could be a coin toss who wins. The truth though is it's likely the Canucks will snap out of this funk they're in. Boston simply has no offense, and have struggled to put the puck in the net all season. While everyone talks about the draft picks they got from Toronto, it couldn't be more obvious how much they miss Phil Kessel's goal production.
Roberto Luongo will start for the Canucks, and it looks like Steve Bernier's spiral to purgatory continues as he will likely sit in the press box tonight. Pavol Demitra draws the 2nd line assignment with Kesler and Raymond, Mikeal Samuelsson will be on the 3rd line. The pre-game thread is already up, so grab some coffee, whip up a nice omelet (I am leaning towards french toast this morning myself...) and enjoy the game.
I also once again want to thank Sean and Mike for their support and thank all of you as Nucks Misconduct moves into it's second year of existence. It's a thrill to have your stuff read by so many people, and as a bonus, this place has broken me of my Canucks.com addiction. So thank you for that, heh.