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Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver Canucks’

When the Fat Lady is Singing, It’s Hard to Listen

April 18, 2012 2 comments

The sound of silence has settled over the city.

Vancouver is nothing like it was this time last year, when it was brimming with Canuck fever from Langley to Horseshoe Bay, from Fort Nelson to Victoria, encompassing not only the city but the entire province. By June it eclipsed the country, with Canadians from coast to coast preferring the Stanley Cup remain in Canada, routing for the Sedin’s and Luongo.

No, this time it’s different. As the Canucks hover on the brink of elimination, the mood in the city and environs is so deflated there is almost no oxygen with which to whisper, “Come on, Canucks”, ┬áno winds to carry the hope that somehow, our team will rise above its 3-0 deficit to the LA Kings.

The fall from glory has been swift – in fact, more like a free fall. From the winners of their regular season division to an almost certain first round play-off defeat – perhaps the worst kind, wherein they can’t even register a single game victory. Fans are trying hard, but failing to close their jaws that have dropped open and are lying in a puddle of beer-infused saliva on the floor of Rogers Arena, the Staples Center, and in living rooms everywhere. This is just not what we expected, not in our wildest Ryan Kesler dreams.

A reformed Toronto Maple Leafs fan by virtue of location, I guard myself from heartache during the regular season by not watching; the ups and downs are too taxing, not to mention frequent. But playoffs are open for business. I hop on the Canuck train with glee and look forward to the many social occasions the playoffs present, and the new topics of conversation they bring. It’s fun to participate, and there’s always beer involved. The playoffs, crackling as they are with excitement, seem like a worthwhile investment.

For a reasonably athletic person, I am a complete hockey loser. I still don’t understand half of the calls and can rarely decipher a clean hit from a dirty one: every hit on a Canuck seems dirty to me. Henrik’s infamous hit from Game 3 looked all wrong in my eyes, despite the commentator’s remarks to the contrary. I blame it on never playing the game, but this hasn’t held back my ten year-old daughter from understanding everything, and she patiently tries to enlighten me. The playoffs present me with yet another opportunity to understand this national game of ours, to the chagrin of the spectators around me. I’m not always invited back, to be honest. These are my own, personal, hockey limitations that I’m trying to work through.

Canuck fans are notoriously fickle, and I don’t want to add fuel to the inferno that has been raging ever hotter as Game 4 rolls around, especially since I’ve herewith admitted to being a firm bandwagon fan. But even so, I’m struggling internally with this decision I’ve made to roll up my sleeves and invest in what could easily and quickly lead to heartbreak. Without getting overly dramatic about it, is it better to have loved, and lost, than to never have loved at all? This year, at least, it was a fleeting romance.

Staring into the face of this abbreviated playoff season, it may have been a good one to miss. The playoffs started, but the Canucks didn’t show up. This is the wonder of sports, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat that happens when an eighth place team handily devours a first place team. But this agony, on the heels of being so close to the biggest of victories last year, tastes particularly ┬ásour, and many of us have lost the will to cheer, or even watch.

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You’ll Owe Me For This One – Canucks Will Win Stanley Cup

May 25, 2011 7 comments

I had a feeling this would be their year.

As surely as I knew the rapture was going to amount to nothing, I knew our beloved Vancouver Canucks would make the Stanley Cup final. Call it women’s intuition, or luck, or a formidable amount of knowledge, but let the record show I sensed them, both the Canuck’s success and the rapture’s fail. Check, check.

And since I’m on a roll, I’m going to go ahead and predict the Canucks are going to win the Stanley Cup in six games. In fact, I guarantee it. I would bet my life on it, and will do so tomorrow if I can find a bookie.

You see, I have a plane ticket that will jet me away from my city, united in Canuck fever and awash in flags, on June 6, so the way my life goes the Canucks will win the cup right after I leave and the party of all parties will begin in Vancouver, while I am sitting in Europe.

Granted, a great place to sit on any occasion, but it is simply just my luck that I will be there when I most want to be here.

I’m not complaining, I’m just illustrating why you, too, should believe Vancouver will win the Stanley Cup this year. You may want to put money on it. A case of schadenfreude, on my account. A gift from me to you: all Canuck fans everywhere (and surely Canada, we are all Canuck fans at this point: it has been far too long since Lord Stanley’s silver trophy has resided north of the forty-ninth parallel).

Oh, there's the puck!

There are a few other reasons, of course, why you should believe in the Canucks this year. I mean, besides the fact that they have more heart than all of the NHL together and possess an uncanny ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat when it matters most. And overlooking the fact they were the most decorated team in the league, winning this trophy and that trophy, I won’t bore you with statistics or titles. Google it, they were the winning-est team among them.

But that makes it almost too obvious. Let’s look for reasons more subtle and wacky.

Perhaps this little gem: our Olympic golden ticket. When Montreal hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1976, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1977, and similarly the Calgary Flames won it in 1989 after hosting the Olympics in 1988. Subtle enough for you?

Sports fans are a superstitious bunch and unearth strange facts in lieu of being able to put the puck in the net themselves. Everyone noticed tonight when Henrik Sedin refused to touch the trophy for winning the Western Conference tonight, since that’s not the prize they care to win. Yet the last time the Canucks advanced to the Stanley Cup final (but then lost to the New York Rangers), in 1994, our captain not only touched the trophy but RAISED it over his head. You see the difference this time?

It may as well be written in the stars.

There are plenty more theories floating around, but I assure you the best one is my conspicuous absence from the city when it all goes right for a change. It’s my way of taking one for the team. You can thank me later.

We are all Canucks, after all.

It’s Not Always Easy Being Green in Vancouver

May 12, 2011 3 comments

Vancouver Canuck's most obvious fans: the Green Men

Canuck fever is burning hot in Vancouver, as our beloved hockey team is off to the semi-finals of the Stanley Cup. Blue and white flags are flying from cars and the lions on the Lions Gate Bridge have donned Canuck jerseys. Go Canucks go can be heard from the deepest, darkest recesses of our mountains as even the black bears have boarded the bandwagon.

But I’ve heard almost as much about the antics of the Green Men as the lackluster play by our team’s infamous twins, the Sedin brothers. In fact, these two pranksters have vaulted to popularity during these playoffs as fast as the Swedish twins have fallen from glory.

The Green Men have become an institution in Vancouver since 2009, when they first appeared on the scene in seats beside the opposing team’s penalty box. As their name suggests, they appear in the stadium wearing skintight green lycra suits. Whenever a player sits in the sin bin, the Green Men come to life, taunting and cajoling the player.

Quite a sight in the produce aisle

The home crowd generally loves them, they are more interesting to watch than Finn, the official mascot. Their object is to get under the competitors skin, in the hopes that it throws them off their game. If you’re a Canucks fan, this seems noble enough. If you’re on the other side, it seems rude and unsportsman-like.

Thus the clash of controversy.

Nevertheless they have grown in popularity, and are now not only a fixture during home games, they traveled to Nashville to continue their pranks beside the penalty box.

But recently our bonafide mascots have come under fire. The NHL has asked the Green Men to stop doing handstands and banging on the glass.

The Green Men responded by bringing a cardboard cut out of themselves to the next game, and inverting their likeness on the glass so that they weren’t doing the handstands, only their cardboard selves were.

Don Cherry, Hockey Night in Canada‘s hilarious and outrageous commentator, weighed in between periods in Game six of the Vancouver/Nashville series, with a message to the Green Men: Don’t be mean, keep it clean.

He was referring to the Green Men’s recent gag, bringing a cardboard cutout of Carrie Underwood wearing a Canuck jersey. Underwood is married to a player on Nashville’s team, and they taunted him with the picture when he was in the penalty box. Don felt they crossed the line of acceptable behavior by bringing a player’s wife into their act.

Love them or hate them, they are stirring up controversy and bringing another element to the game that Canadians are already passionate about. They are providing entertainment for the lower bowl and much fodder for the news outfits and local radio shows.

For ardent fans, it begs the question: how much is too much? Are the Green Men taking away from the game, or adding an element of fun?