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Sunday Morning Coffee- Die With Your Boots On

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I took the day off yesterday, to calm down and clear my head.  Stayed off twitter and visited NM for the briefest of moments.  Unlike some who felt the need to rage, vent, bitch or moan I needed some peace and quiet.  Away from the noise and negativity to just think about the whole thing.  Is this team really capable of pulling this off?  I don't think there was anyone who wasn't crushed by the way the Canucks handed the two games to the Hawks at GM Place.  Despite playing a style that not only was effective all season when they played it, including against Chicago, they played right into their hands, embarrassingly so.  And now elimination day arrives, earlier than most thought.  The majority of the media have written us off.  Many fans have too.  Just look at yesterday's poll.  That 'B' word is being tossed around a lot.  Is that fair though?  More after the jump...

Before the playoffs began I wrote a controversial post, in which I said I had doubts that the Canucks could go all the way.  I said there were elements of their game that had crept back in that made me unsure of their ability to advance, and unless they showed me different, I wasn't likely to change my mind.  The way the team recovered in the Los Angeles series did in fact do this.  And after storming the Hawks in game 1, I felt as though I had been wrong.  This really was a team that could play with the elites, and while it was going to be a long and hard fought series, the Canucks could triumph in the end.  Game 2 loss?  Not a concern, a split was what we all hoped for, sure it was disappointing to lose the lead, but hey... lots of hockey to be played, right?

It's not even so much that they lost these last two games, it's the way they lost them.  They are playing selfish, scattered hockey.  There are no leaders.  No signs from the bench that would give us any reason to hope.  Have we been royally fucked over by the officiating in this series?  Without a doubt.  When Ron Maclean can't defend it, you know it's bad.  The real issue is that the Canucks allowed themselves to be the victims, playing right into Chicago's hands through actions on and off the ice.  The taunting, the lack of composure, some world class dives... it all played out in Chicago's favour and they embarrassed us on home ice.

The question being asked of Canucks fans now is, do you believe?  Are you a fan or a bandwagoner?  I ask you this:  What have they shown since 10 minutes into the first period of game 2 that should be any cause for hope?  Can you tell me what exactly I am supposed to believe in?  Do I want them to win?  Always.  I live and die with this team.  Problem is, this is an all too familiar refrain.  Is this team like last year's and so many years before, that simply couldn't get the job done?  Or do they have even a glimmer of the spirit of the 1994 team, that stormed back from 3-1 to win 3 straight, all in overtime no less.

From a coaching staff that has been outfoxed to the point of embarrassment, to a group of players whose brightest and best have been pathetic no shows, I am struggling to find anything to believe about here.  Don Cherry last night said Kyle Wellwood was the Canucks' best player right now.  He may be right.  No stupid penalties.  No quit.  Just effort, every shift.  This team is doomed unless this changes tonight.

The Sedins and Alex Burrows must be a threat every time they're on the ice.  Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond must combine with who ever they get as a linemate to provide an effective, speedy second line.  The grunts must take a page from Kyle Wellwood and work hard every shift.  And most importantly, Roberto Luongo has to be the best player on the ice.  If he gives anything less than his best performance of the season, it may not be enough to stem the tide.  The Hawks smell blood and going in for the kill.

Is this the end?  Well, there's a reason they still play the games.  But my heart, crushed on so many occasions by this team is wary.  Either they battle back and prove everyone wrong, or they become the butt of jokes once again.  I really don't know what will happen.  All I ask is if they're gonna go out, the Hawks have to earn it.  The last couple games have been so easy for them.  They haven't earned this.  If we must fall then let them leave beaten and bloodied.  For one game, give them hell.  If we can win, then take this and build on it.  you want us to 'Believe In Blue'?  Make us believe.  This could be the last game for the Canucks tonight.  But if you're gonna die, die with your boots on.

Another Prophet of Disaster
Who says the ship is lost,
Another Prophet of Disaster
Leaving you to count the cost.
Taunting us with Visions,
Afflicting us with fear,
Predicting War for millions,
In the hope that one appears.

No point asking when it is,
No point asking who's to go,
No point asking what's the game,
No point asking who's to blame,
'Cos if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die,
'Cos if you're gonna die, if you're gonna die,

If you're gonna die, die with your boots on,
If you're gonna try, just stick around,
Gonna cry, just move along,
If you're gonna die, if you're gonna die.

In 13 the Beast is Rising,
The Frenchman did surmise,
Through earthquakes and starvation,
The Warlord will arise,
Terror, Death, Destruction,
Pour from the Eastern sands,
But the truth of all predictions,
Is always in your hands.

If you're gonna die, die with your boots on,
If you're gonna try, just stick around,
Gonna cry, just move along,
If you're gonna die, if you're gonna die.

Scum removal
And just like that, the Detroit Red Wings are gone. All this talk of choking on the part of the San Jose Sharks is put to rest
as they sealed the deal last night. And it was Joe Thornton who led them. In a way, we really shouldn't be
surprised. Every dog has his day they say, and Thornton is simply too talented to continually no show in the
post season. Detroit in the end was not strong enough, and despite Nabokov looking shaky all series, they didn't
have the goaltending they needed from rookie Jimmy Howard.

The Sharks now await the winner of this series, either they know soon or are in for a long wait. While there's
still lots of hockey to be played, the San Jose Sharks certainly look like a team that can go all the way.

The Penguins are one game away from moving to the Eastern Conference finals. Another solid game from
Marc-Andre Fleury propelled them to a 2-1 victory in game 5. They can eliminate Montreal tomorrow night
at the Bell Center. I have a feeling that this magical Habs run is coming to a close.