The Canucks' loss to the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals still hurts and it always will. So do the 1982 and 1994 Stanley Cup Final losses. The only thing that can appease this damned pain we feel as a Canucks fanbase would be a Stanley Cup win. No drug or booze can really do the trick.
The Canucks can roll into Chicago nowadays and I can say that I barely give a damn about some rivalry between the two teams. I cannot say the the same about Boston. A: We don't play the Bruins all that often, B: it was a super-heavy-hating Cup Final in 2011. Now, if you like to live in denial or just ignore the past because it hurts, then stop reading right now.
When Raffi Torres did this in a 1-0 win in game 1:
And Alex Burrows did this in Game 2:
Well, the Canucks were in full control in the series weren't they? It was feeling good!
Except then game 3 happened. Not even 5 minutes in with the score 0-0, Aaron Rome destroys Nathan Horton with a huge hit that was considered a head shot and a late hit by most, and put Horton out of the series. Horton was stretchered off the ice in Boston and by God were emotions now running higher than they had ever been. This now became a war of physicality. Nah, you don't bite Patrice Bergeron's finger to start a war. Nope. You destroy a home player on home ice with a devastating hit (and have hime stretchered off the ice) among a blood thirsty crowd to start a real war.
Take a look at the extended highlights of game 3 (if you have not tuned out yet) to really get a feel on how this series changed:
The Canucks, including that pivotal game 3, would win 1 of their next 5 games, scoring only 4 goals and allowing 21 goals against.
People love to pinpoint ONE concept on why the Canucks lost that series. You cannot pinpoint ONE reason. Key injuries to Canucks players? Check. Rome's hit on Horton awoke the Bruins? Check. Tim Thomas outplayed Roberto Luongo? Check. The Bruins played better defensively? Check. The Bruins played a better team game? Check. It is what it...WAS. We f***ing hate it but it is what it was. I'd like to point to the 1994 Finals loss as the ultimate heartbreaker. That Canucks team played balls out to the bitter end against a stacked Rangers team and really kept their emotions in check, I would say.
I look at the 2011 Cup Finals loss as the end of an NHL era. So much beautiful violent hockey. So much emotion. It was a tremendously entertaining brand of Stanley Cup Finals hockey that we will likely never see again. I can take solace in that. Do I hate the Bruins? Nah! But I really would love to see the Canucks beat the Bruins in Boston again....and again and again. That's just how it goes being a fan of an NHL team.
This post has been brought to you by Nelly Furtado.