Jun 132011
 

The commercials may say otherwise but in reality, history has already been made. I’m not sure how many of us have stopped to think about it but we are witnessing an important point in time. Regardless of whether we win or lose, this magical playoff run of the 2010/2011 Vancouver Canucks will be spoken of for generations. I can see myself now, an old man chatting with my equally old friends, telling our grandchildren of this illustrious time of our youth.

“Where were you when Burr gloved that puck down and scored to beat the Hawks?”

“You remember when Juice was the only one in Rogers Arena that knew where that bouncing puck off the glass was and sent us to the Stanley Cup Finals?”

“Game 1 was a thriller where Raffi Torres scored with 18 seconds left and Lu shut the Bruins out!”

“11 seconds! That was all it took for Burr to win us game 2!”

“Man, how awesome was Luongo when he bounced back after two awful games with a shutout in game 5?”

This will be especially true for those of us who weren’t born in ’82 and were a little too young to fully-comprehend how important ’94 was. I was 11 in ’94, and while I followed the whole run and idolize guys like Linden, Bure, and McLean, I’d be lying if I said my memories weren’t hazy and greatly supplemented by highlights in the 17 years since. I remember the way I felt, I remember that our boys gave it their all and came a goal post away from sending that epic series into overtime, but specifics about the times or where my life was? That’s all a little much for my 11 year old brain to remember.

But this time is different. I can tell you exactly where I was for almost every goal. I can tell you things I said at specific times.

I can tell you that I called Chris Higgins (I call him “Chiggins”…) to score the double-OT goal in game 5 against the Sharks and swore at the very moment that he got on that breakaway that if he scored, I would run outside and buy a jersey with his name across my back.

I can tell you I actually jumped for joy when I watched Burr pot that wraparound goal only 11 seconds into overtime of game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, spilling my beer and immediately high-fiving any and all around me, including several other bloggers here at Canucks Hockey Blog, most of which I met in person for the first time.

I can tell you I did not see the twins before a friend said “Wait a minute…” and pressed rewind. No, I am not talking about the Sedins.

Just like I can tell you where I was when we won gold in 2002 and when Crosby scored The Golden Goal in 2010. I’m sure I’m not the only one that will remember where I was not only in terms of location but where I was in life at this particular moment in time. If that isn’t making history, then someone needs to bring me a dictionary. I know it’s recent but there are things you don’t forget. For me, that’s things like this… and the lyrics to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Will we win? Let me be the first to tell you that winning when we’ve come so far together… it isn’t irrelevant but it isn’t everything. This is a very results-orientated business and a highly-critical city but here on the cusp of something so great, we really should remember what we love about our team.

While bandwagoners and naysayers will only look at results, what most true Canucks fans want is to see is a real effort. Real fans are different in that way. I won’t say it’s a uniquely Canadian quality or unique to hockey. It’s something about sport and true fans of it. We want to see our team give it their all, to leave every last bit of themselves on the ice, to show us what they’re really made of. If they give us that, then a positive result is a bonus. A huge bonus but a bonus. We remember and revere ’94 and ’82 because that’s what we got from our team, an effort.

We love Roger Neilson because he would never surrender. We love Kirk McLean because we could count on him to make that save. We love Pavel Bure because we could count on him to score. We love Trevor Linden because even if he was on crutches… we knew he would play.

Look at our franchise’s greatest heroes. Not a Stanley Cup ring among them… at least not while they were on our team. If the Canucks win it all this year, will we forget about Stan Smyl? Gino Odjick? Geoff Courtnall? Cliff Ronning? No, because they’re not heroes because they won. Their bodies were bruised and perhaps a few bones were broken but their hearts would never give up. They are our heroes because they littered the ice with their sweat, tears and Canuck-colored blood.

A loss would hurt. No one would think otherwise. I mean, have you heard this city? It erupts when we score. You can hear all of Vancouver telling the refs they suck. We are invested. A loss would in all likelihood end with me in the back of a police car or so drunk out of my mind, I will actually appear in The Hangover 3 despite not being cast in the movie. (Ed. note: Hyperbole people. Relax.) But afterwards, we can’t help but look back fondly on the days we supported our team for over two months after the last regular season game. Oh, how long and awful those scraggly playoff beards were on our otherwise handsome face-parts, we will say. Even bad memories will eventually get a laugh or two. Have you heard anyone speak of Nathan Lafayette in anger? Probably not. It isn’t as if he didn’t try. He just missed. Even Gretzky can miss. People are probably more pissed at the post – that bastard.

If this, then, is how Vancouver speaks of those who haven’t brought home the big prize, then what sort of praise do our boys deserve if they do? To be honest, I have no idea. Congratulations sound empty. Clapping or cheering seems unworthy. I wouldn’t even know what to say if the Canucks get their name engraved on that trophy and in turn, engrave themselves into the memories of millions of us Canucks around the planet. It would be part of our city as I’m sure a day, park, statue, bridge or whatever else we can find will be named in their honor. Minstrels will write songs in their praise…well, more of them anyways. It wouldn’t be enough. As those would have won before will tell you, there are no words.

I would tell the players to make Vancouver proud but the reality is, we are already proud. Proud that we’ve made it this far. Proud that the Canucks wear our city’s name on your chests like Supermans (…Supermen?) and that we can proudly wear their names on our backs.

Thank you, Canucks. Thank you for this historic season. Thank you for being our team. Our Canucks.

It seems like the cool thing to do these days is to claim that what you’ve written is unbiased and objective. I, instead, will claim the exact opposite. Alright, boys… we got a Cup to win.

Go Canucks Go!

  • http://twitter.com/vanmacguy David Bailie

    As enormous as a Stanley Cup win would be, it’s my feeling that it almost runs a second to this year’s achievements. Here’s why I think that.

    There would be no shame at all in going down to any team in the Cup finals. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. They can come back and do it again next year.

    For me, the highpoint was and still is the Game 7 win against Chicago. If the Canucks had lost to the Hawks again it would have been 3 years straight and for every extra year, it gets harder and harder to break that cycle.

    But that is gone now. Now and forever I think.

    So if we were to lose in the finals, yes, it will hurt but we can do it again next year, but now we’ve beaten the Hawks, there are no barriers for next year.

    That said, Go Canucks Go, if we play the game we played in games 1, 2 and 5 of the finals, there is no one that we can’t beat.

  • J_r48

    What a great read! At times I wanted to stand and clap!!! We are proud of our boys and for me, I will always remember! Let’s bring it home boys!

  • Andre LePuck

    I’m totally with you…Throughout the NHL playoffs, I have learned something… we are all apart of the team we cheer for. Who cares what nationality the players are… if you cheer for the Canucks then you are a Canuck. The fans make a difference and it’s evident that home ice is one of the biggest factors. Vancouver Canuck fans are learning that they make a difference. Their confidence makes a difference. The energy transfers onto the players.I have been interviewing the fans of Vancouver and what I discovered is that every time something like this happens, fans are born… real fans. The more fans that are born, the more energy potential for the city and the team. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything if we win or lose… the true fans will remain fans.There are some complications… There are a lot of fans on the radio and tv that are negative… and I’m talking about the sportscasters, callers on the air, analysts. These people do not represent the millions of fans, but they can bring them down. They have their own agenda to be controversial so they can make money… or they are just negative fans who like to complain. These people are 1% of the real fans… but the more real fans we make, the less influence these people will make.I was talking to many people yesterday before game 6 about how they got into hockey. Most of them said it was because of 1994… when we lost. It won’t matter if the Canucks win or lose tomorrow… millions of fans have been born because of the 2011 Canucks.To see my interviews, check out http://www.myhockeyshow.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cheri-Russell-Sitybell/100000198459252 Cheri Russell Sitybell

    Absolutely, beautifully written!!! I WAS there the other 2 times we went to the finals, and shed a lot of tears, along with the players and other fans. This year we were all positive we’d win – then came all the injuries, and the final team with the extra players in black and white – most unexpected. Tomorrow I just hope the outcome won’t be decided that way, and I remain, after all these years, a loyal Canucks fan.

  • Wj_barton

    I loved this you put into words what I have been trying to say for the past couple days! :)

    This is what i posted to my fb wall earlier today:

    As a hockey fan as a fan of the Vancouver Canucks
    We have been very fortunate this year to watch our team
    Succeed & accomplish the Northwest Conference,
    Western Conference, Presidents Trophy, Art Ross,
    W.Jennings Trophy, and to have made it to the finals!
    We have nothing to be sad about though watching them lose
    Will suck! Keep the faith! Go Canucks go we want to add one more to the
    List of great accomplishments this year!! BRING IT HOME!!

  • Moni

    I’ve been saying this for awhile now…it doesn’t really mean if we win or not although it would be nice to shut everyone else up…but for me they are winners already.#1 in NHL this season!…That speaks for itself…everyone else can say things about the guys that are mean spirited and outrages but we know who they are.They are a group of guys who against all odds made it to the finals…and every other team and NHL should be afraid of them.They may not be the hitters and bullies but they have real talent.Go Canucks Go!

  • els1831

    Refreshing read!  Thank you.  Couldn’t agree more.  
    You know what to do, boys, leave it all on the ice.

  • Diane

    This is the first positive piece of written material I have seen in a long time. Not anit-Boston just pro-Canucks. Go Canucks Go….Go Boys Go. Yes you Can.

  • Sue

    I am fortunate enough to say this is my third go around for the Stanley Cup finals.  Although much like you – I can’t recall alot about the ’82 run as I was in Highschool, and let’s be honest does anyone from the ’80′s recall highschool??
    In ’94 though I do recall that series, I remember where I was in my life and who was with me.  My daughter being the most important one in attendance.  She was a couple months shy of 4 years old.  She learned at that ripe old age that the Canucks, and Hockey were second to Faith.  That you support your home team Win, Lose or Draw.  My daughter is now a couple months shy of 21.  She has been an undaunted faithful supporter of our beloved Canucks since ’94.  A Stanley Cup series brought on her love and passion for this game and another Stanley Cup run has more than solidified it!  When the boys beat Chicago in game 7 she wept, like I have never seen her cry before.  Not for the win, but for the accomplishment.  For the breaking of a nemisis.  She is a tried and true Canucker as am I.  It is most amazing the lifes lessons learned in such minute moments when compared to the span of a lifetime.  But lessons they are.  She will cry again tonight. This I know because it’s what she’s lived for, for the past two months.  They will be tears of celebration no matter what the outcome!!  Go Canucks Go!!  Love You Boys!! 

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  • Glgust

    The Canucks are a humiliating embarrassment to Vancouver.  They should be relocated to Seattle.

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