Tue 24 Apr 2007
The Canuck Situation is a very troubling problem, a problem that highlights my intense selfishness. The Canuck Situation breaks down like this.
The Vancouver Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup. In 1994, when I was 14, the team made it to Game 7 of the Finals against the New York Rangers but they lost. It was heartbreaking. Their first-round comeback victory over the Calgary Flames is still the stuff of legend. After they lost Game 7 in the finals riots ensued in Vancouver (only in Canada do people riot over the outcome of a hockey game). While Canuck fans don’t have a century of losing hanging around their necks like Red Sox fans did pre-2004, I do think that part of Vancouver’s psychological make-up is based on the fact that we support a team that while often quite good, has never proven itself entirely. In a lot of ways it mirrors Vancouver itself: a fabulous city, but all that rain…we’re not QUITE perfect.
The second full season of hockey since I left has just begun it’s lengthy playoff campaign and the Canucks are right in it. Surprising nearly everyone the team had a fabulous season, particularly since Christmas, and they’ve gotten it done with a whole stack of players I don’t know. It is a very different team to the last Canuck team I followed in the 2004-2005 season. I think this adds to the distance between me and the team/fans.
Right now I find myself in a terrible state of mind. On the one hand, I want the Canucks to succeed and do REALLY well in the playoffs. Whenever there is a playoff game on and I listen online I can picture my family and friends watching the game on TV or at GM Place. I can picture the cheers when Luongo makes a great save in overtime or when one of the Sedin’s ‘ripples the mesh’.
But the honest, dark, truth is that on the other hand I really don’t want the Canucks to win the Stanely Cup while I’m not there. The city would be irrevocably changed. A city of losing would have a championship to savour and talk about forever. And I would not be a part of it. People would look different…more confident. They’d reminisce in large groups about the team of 2007 and I would find myself quietly nodding along, the last kid at the party who had yet to kiss a girl. I’m actually not sure I could ever go home again. It wouldn’t be the same home anymore.
So tomorrow (well I suppose today really) the Canucks face Game 7 in their first-round playoff series against the Dallas Stars, a team so vile my sister used to be a fan. If I didn’t have to work I’d be listening to John Shorthouse calling the game online, cheering on every Canuck shot and every Luongo save. But I will not share the pain of my fellow Vancouverites should they lose. I may even breathe a sigh of relief.
And that makes me a real ass.