It’s a gut-punch, no question about it. A lost, lonely helpless feeling. Those who say “it’s better to have loved and lost, than not having loved at all” clearly hadn’t experienced many Game 7s….AT HOME….with a chance to give something not to yourselves, but an entire city and province which has never experienced it before. There’s a first time for everything: talking, walking, kissing, sex, driving, marrying, procreating (and yes, I get some of you out there really do all these things in some strange orders, and often three of those things simultaneously).
There’s no mathematical logic to suggest that losing a Game 7 on home ice of a Stanley Cup Final (which has now happened two straight Game 7s, and obviously two of the last three seasons: Pittsburgh over Detroit/2009), is somehow a far easier pill to swallow than for the fourteen teams who miss the playoffs, or even the eight eliminated before May even begins. Or the teams who miss the playoffs over and over again, like say 3-4 years in a row. Or the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But it isn’t easier to swallow. As a guy who’s always cheered for the Canucks against any and all opponents in the Stanley Cup playoffs since the late 1970s, (I will admit I’d be very tested were there to be a Canucks/Leafs Final, I DO live here there and want so much for the city and long-suffering Leafs fans to feel that rush…) this one is devastating. It’s a kick to the balls and beyond.
For so many reasons, because at times, it looked like they had the series won, because they won close games, because they closed down and closed out opponents like Nashville and San Jose with dominance. Because I can still see the puck gloved down by Alexandre Burrows off the turnover by Chris Campoli, and it rolling, rolling, and rolling some more before he slaps it top shelf past Corey Crawford — then calmly gets to the hospital to see his wife and beautiful newborn first child. All in 48 hours of work.
So this sucks, and I get that others are revelling in the Canucks’ misery today, and let’s face it, for a neutral observer, there are equal things to dislike as to like about Vancouver’s team. I was never conflicted, but I understood where it came from, not that Boston played with any greater honour or class at times.
Three different times Boston coach Claude Julien (amazing job, BTW) would intimate his team “wasn’t like that” and “wouldn’t go there”, they proved beyond the shadow of a doubt with the taunting, the flopping, and the Nathan Horton melodrama that they were, and yes, that they would. I don’t admire the Bruins any more or any less, but the Canucks have themselves to blame in this equasion also. You don’t let your goalie get annihiliated in two straight games without standing up for him in one way or another. You don’t let the potential Hart Trophy winning teammate get dummied around by a Bruin like Brad Marchand. Marchand did what he did because the opportunity was there. Thus, it was incumbent upon ONE or TWO of the Canucks to make sure the opportunity wasn’t.
And then there’s the riot. Ah yes, 17 years removed from a scene on a Monday evening in June 1994 which caused 1.1 million dollars in damage, left many injured, many arrested, and one ”gentleman” paralyzed because of a rubber bullet being fired, if not at him, then in his general direction, it happened again.
We’re still letting the stench envelop us. We’re still getting emailed and tweeting (and being tweeted) links that should sicken the average human being. Video of MANY thousands of Canucks fans, if not actively participating, if not actively encouraging, if not actively observing, and if not actively doing absolutely nothing to prevent the wanton assault of other humans, the reckless destruction of people’s property, businesses, and humiliation of their persons, is everywhere.
The debates will rage. We’re just getting going, folks. Were there enough police officers? Did they do enough? When they actually DID do enough, was it in the right places, at the right times? But what I won’t tolerate is the following:
A. This really isn’t indicative of Vancouverites.
B. These really weren’t hockey fans, just subversive, anti-establishment pinkos who happened to be wearing Christian Ehrhoff and Pavel Bure sweaters.
Bullcrap. And thank goodness, the Canucks have thirteen different jersey styles, colour schemes, and logos to choose from (I should know, I’ve owned most at one time or another, except the black/red Orca), or all the “terrorists” might be simply blending together in a sea of unrecognizable and indeterminable green, blue, and white.
No, these were hockey fans. Members of Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Irish Republican Army tend not to have a strong supply of Harold Snepsts retro ”Oh Henry Bar” sweaters on hand to mix in with their weaponry.
It’s embarrassing and humiliating and actually quite disgusting and degrading to consider these are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, and not only that but that ANY of those who perpetuated violence in any form last night will go on to have children of their own. Sadly, procreation should have tests about 38.72 times harder than the combined testing for driving, law school, and med school, but sadly, it doesn’t. ALMOST anyone can do it.
These are Vancouver’s hockey fans. It’s not most of them. It’s not even a large percentage of them. But it happens here, and almost nowhere else in North America. The Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot of 2011 already has a Wikipedia page. It already has earned the city the somewhat clever nickname of “Vandalcouver”. Life’s about accountability — no one’s indicting the whole city, province, or hockey fans in general, but this one can be chalked up quite simply as: a large bunch of disgraceful and utterly depraved hockey fans held a riot…and the world showed up to watch. We can make our own judgements from there, and the violent reports and footage continues to flow in.
A shame. A disgrace. The next time ANYONE from Vancouver makes a joke about Cleveland, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Detroit, or English soccer fans — a simple “pot….kettle…black” response should suffice.