There’s a scene in Will Ferrell’s flick Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, where he’s racing his nemesis Jean Girard when all of a sudden the two NASCAR drivers’ cars collide in an epic crash on the very last lap. Just when you think the race is over, the two start racing on foot towards the finish line. In case you haven’t watched the film, here’s the scene:
Poor music and male-on-male kissing aside, that seems to sum up the Canucks’ current Stanley Cup situation to a tee. The racecar just crashed and it looks like if anyone’s going to get to the finish line, it’ll be in a 100-yard dash.
Yes, the Vancouver Canucks are banged up. Such is life in the Stanley Cup playoffs, where it’s a marathon and not a sprint. In this current war of attrition, the Bruins are doing their job in the trenches and the Canucks couldn’t muster a response. But whether or not Ryan Kesler is still ailing from a groin injury or Henrik Sedin is battling some sort of lower- or upper-body injury, the reality is that this is a 2-2 series. For the Canucks, the finish line is within view. It’s so close, and the team can smell it.
Vancouver is this close to either achieving something never before done in 40 years, or watching everything they worked so hard over the course of the last nine months slip from their fingers. That’s how much pressure is on the club.
While the Bruins have been buoyed by the emotional loss of Nathan Horton, it’s become clear the Canucks need some sort of spark or some sort of leadership to drag them to that finish line. On normal nights, Ryan Kesler would be the driver of that car, but I’m seriously wondering if he’s physically able to put on the hero’s cape one more time and lift this team on his back. The Sedins, they’re giving it what they’ve got, but Brad Marchand is playing the Dave Bolland card perfectly. Who’s going to be the person to step up?
Here’s where the character and integrity of this team will be tested. The Canucks car has clashed with the Bruins car on that final lap and the two are hobbling towards the finish line, and right now, the Bruins have a slight advantage.
Can someone please will the Canucks on for just two games, three games max? Forget the bumps and bruises, because they’ll have all summer to recover. Recovering with a Stanley Cup would heal all wounds.
One thing’s for certain; when it’s all said and done, the Canucks and Bruins will shake hands. But unlike Ricky Bobby and Jean Girard, Henrik Sedin certainly won’t be french-kissing Brad Marchand.