Dear Vancouver: We’re Cup Bound, Can You Believe It?
Are you all still in disbelief? Are you all still partying from last night? Do most of you still think it’s just a dream? It isn’t a dream. Our Vancouver Canucks are heading to the Stanley Cup Finals. It has been 17 years since our last finals appearance and only a third time in our 40 year history to get to here. It hasn’t been an ‘easy’ run, but nothing worth winning is ever easy. I for one, am happy it happened this way.
Round One: The Monkey Off The Back
After going up 3-0 against the Chicago Blackhawks, and seeing that lead slip away, it hurt. And by the time Game 6 came around, I am sure some of us out there lost faith in our boys. In fact, there were even a few out there ( in Twitterverse and the Facebook world) who were going to denounce the Canucks as their team. Sure the Canucks played terribly in games four and five, but there is a reason why they play the games. It had to be done. It was won and was it ever a thriller. There were talks of trading Luongo and running him out of town. After last night, and 54 saves later, is he still you goat?
Round Two: Grits and Fits
This series was one that many of the Canucks fans, myself included, just wanted to ‘get through’. It was hard hockey to watch. Not just because the Predators brought a bland brand of hockey to the table, but more because it was frustrating to see many of the Canucks get contained by it. The Sedins were deemed ‘invisible’ by fans and media alike. It also showed what Ryan Kesler was made of. After an unbelievable year, he tops it off with factoring in the majority of the scoring in this series. Captain America is definitely a Canuck.
Round Three: No Way Jose
This was a closer series than the 4-1 in games indicated, but the better team won, no question. The San Jose Sharks were valiant and worthy opponents. Although I don’t agree with Dan Boyle thinking the Sharks deserved to win this series and Vancouver didn’t, it could have gone either way at any point. Vancouver’s goal tending from Roberto Luongo was excellent. The Sedins, especially Henrik showed why they are Art Ross trophy winners. Henrik tied Pavel Bure for most points by a Canuck in a single series with 12, 11 of those were, or course, assists.
I have been privileged to watch live games in every round of these playoffs, so far. I even made my way to San Jose for Game 4, but I wasn’t alone. I shared that experience with about 6000 other Canucks fans who made the journey. Although the palm trees were abundant, the weather was warm and it felt like I walked into a western movie in certain parts of town, it felt like a home game with all the Canucks fans there. Prior to the game, many of us met on San Pedro Street, also named “Sharks Avenue”, to congregate and march to the HP Pavilion together. At the arena, we took over the lower bowl for the warm-up and were chanting “Go Canucks go!”. We sang “O Canada” like we were north of the 49th and we chanted and sang throughout the game when our boys make it a final of 4-2. I felt like I was in Vancouver…south.
Although I didn’t attend Game 5 in person last night, my daughter took my place. When I met up with her and my significant other, I could tell with the look in her eyes that she believed. It was much to being the same look I had during the 1994 Western Conference Final. She understood what it was that had me love this team above all others. She was now ‘in love’ with our Canucks more than ever before.
In conclusion, we all are probably still waking up today with a little bit in a dream-like state. Did that really happen? Are the Canucks for real? Well, yes. It all happened and the Canucks are very much the real deal but as my twitter friend @PabloPenguin74 said to me “@Aviewfromabroad it is the first thing I thought as my eyes opened from slumber. For some, it won’t be real until game 1.” He’s right. It won’t feel real until then. So we have a few days to soak it all in, but Game 1 will come and we, Vancouver, as a city and a Canuck Nation, will be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Get ready and buckle up, stay on the wagon, it’s time for the real work to begin.
GO CANUCKS GO!