The Canucks are (currently) losing the fourth game of the Stanley Cup. The score, right now, is 3-0. I am currently thinking words I haven’t thought since I was working in landscaping in the rain. I hate Boston right now. Hate is a strong word, but I’m not sure it’s strong enough right now. I mean the Bruins, but where my brain is at this moment makes me also hate the Red Sox and the Patriots…what the heck – the whole city. They’ve played a cheap game since game 1, but the Canucks have stopped playing the type of game that got them the President’s Cup.
I obviously don’t hate the whole city, but I’m ready for the cheap-shotting, injury faking (Horton obviously excluded) Bruins to go away. Now. Please.
It’s also June and I’ve got a week and half left of instruction and I’m ready for a vacation. The stresses of my job along with the stresses of watching the Stanley Cup series has got me wishing I was on the Oregon Coast with little to nothing on my mind. Nothing at all. Nothing.
Now that my blood pressure has returned to normal and the game is over, the Campbell Cup has been bestowed on the Canucks, let me take this time to thank the boys in blue and green for their hard work and awesome game.
You made us all proud tonight and we couldn’t be happier.
Only four more wins!
So…I’m not the most overt hockey fan, but I played on the outdoor rink that my school had when I was a kid in Saskatchewan. I watched the triple and quadruple overtime games when I was a kid. I cheered for the Habs when I was young in a province that didn’t have an NHL team, then cheered for the Canucks when I moved West. Now we’re starting overtime, so I’m going to shut up and watch.
We’ll talk more tomorrow.
Update: Double overtime…ARGH!
Update 2: Yeaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh…wahoooooooooo…yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh…We won! We won! We won!
For the first time in my adult life since 1994 I’ve watched every one of the Canucks games in a second round series. I have been impressed with the Canucks’ ability to blow my blood pressure completely out of normal range, even when I’m medicated. Even when they’re winning, I’m freaked out that they might lose. I like the insurance that a two goal lead provides, and whenever they have one, a goal is scored against them and I’m back to feeling my heart pound against my sternum, threatening to break free and run for good.
There have been two superheroes in this series and one of them has been making me smile throughout the regular season and against the Blackhawks. Batman Ryan Kesler and Superman Mason Raymond.
The Superman for the Canucks in this round was Mason Raymond. I’m not saying he’s invincible, but he flies in from nowhere and then disappears – faster than a speeding bullet. Watching him come across the red line nonchalantly and then turn on afterburners from who knows where only to steal the puck and put it on net, leaping small defensemen ina single bound (and then, not so Supermanly, careen into the boards, a Predator defender, or a linesman) is fun and makes me think that he’s been getting tips from Clark Kent. I guess if I was hard-pressed he’s more like the Flash than Supes, but I don’t have a Flash action figure, so what was I supposed to do.
The Batman to his Supes is Ryan Kesler. This guy does the dirty work that no one else wants to and takes the physicality of a game like hockey to an artistic level. He grinds away at the patience of defenders and goalies and fans by refusing to give up the front of his opponents’ nets. He takes a puck to the face and only misses a shift. He’s the (un)caped Canuck Crusader. He’s the Dark Knight of Robson Street. He’s…well, he’s impressive all the time for doing what most everyone else cannot.
So you know how I feel. How about you? Oh, and Nashville fans – you have one heck of a team and it was fun to watch this series. Congratulations.
I went to Montreal in September and while there I visited the Temple de la Renommee (or Hall of Fame) in the Bell Centre. The Bell Centre is the home of the Montreal Canadiens. The Montreal Canadiens are a hockey team…um…they’re THE hockey team. If you’re around my age (36) and live in Canada, you probably grew up thinking that there were two Canadian teams in the NHL – the Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Oh sure, there were the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Quebec Nordiques, but if you grew up like I did, there were only two real Canadian teams. And if you liked the Canadiens, you hated the Leafs, and vice versa.
I was raised to believe that God had created the Habs (the Canadiens are nicknamed the Habs, after les Habitants, a name used for the French settlers and farmers from the 17th century) on the eighth day after he rested up. Presumably, God needed to rest up in order to create the greatest hockey team to ever exist. I went through a short phase of liking the Leafs, when Wendell Clark played for them. Being a Saskatchewan boy myself, I felt it necessary to cheer for a local boy. I think a good part of it, however, was that I needed to piss off my Dad by cheering for his nemesis. I still loved the Habs, but needed to rebel a little.
As I sat in the theatre in the Hall of Fame at the Bell Centre, watching the history of the Habs, I relived my childhood Saturday nights watching the Habs play the early game at 4:30 on CBC. Hockey Night in Canada. I felt tears well up as I remembered my Dad and me sitting together in front of a tiny t.v. set watching Guy Lafleur, Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, Kirk Muller, and Patrick Roy win the 1986 Stanley Cup. I was a little overwhelmed by the whole situation – I had no idea how much I loved the Habs, how much they had been a part of my psyche until I was there, sitting in a tiny theatre watching a replay of my 12 year old memory of the Habs winning the Cup.
I called my Dad shortly afterward and we talked a little bit. I ended up buying him a Jean Beliveau shirt – his favorite player. I got choked up on the phone and had to cut the call short – I told him it was because I had to move on in the tour, but it was really just that memory had knocked me for a loop. He’s leaving on a trip to Guatemala tomorrow morning, so I’ll miss watching this season with him – I’ll miss him. I guess I’ll have to create those memories with my son this year.
The shot above was taken in the Temple and is a mask worn and signed by Ken Dryden in his first season as a Hab in 1971-2. The marks are from pucks nailing him in the face. I wonder if that has as much impact as a memory.
Ice hockey is the national pastime of my fellow Canadians. A little known ritual after playing hockey is the “airing out of the gear”. The smell that comes off sweaty gear is funkadelic. Nasty. Eye-watering. I’ve been near pig farms with less significant smell. Whoever the driver of that Nissan is, he or she is smart. Air out that junk before the funk gets in the trunk.
My school’s grads had lost a floor hockey tournament against the staff, so the grads challenged the staff to an ice hockey game, in the hope that they’d win and regain some honor. Then the students lost, again. Ha. Ha. Hahahahahahahaaa…
I shouldn’t find that so awesome, but I do. Old guys win again.
Pentax K20D; Sigma 70-210mm; f4; ISO 1600; 1/60 sec.
As I wandered around Vancouver’s downtown and waterfront area with 100,000 of my closest friends from all around the world, I couldn’t help but marvel at what the 2010 Olympics have accomplished.
Firstly, I was apologized to five times by people bumping into me in Robson Square, where thousands of people were wandering and bumping into each other and no apology was necessary. I wonder if these are the most polite Winter Games in history.
Secondly, I heard thousands of fellow Canadians “ooh”-ing and “aah”-ing and cheering every time anything remotely athletic happened, including when someone would fly by on the giant zip-line set up in downtown Vancouver.
Thirdly, I heard complete strangers joining in victory when Canada scored and cry out in anguish as USA scored as we joined together to hope for a Men’s Hockey win.
I confess, I love these games.
btw, congratulations to Moir and Virtue – you were beautiful.
Pentax K20D; Pentax FA 28-200mm; f8; ISO 800; 1/30 sec.