This Wednesday my beloved Vancouver Canucks kick off their 2012 Playoff run with the first game of their opening round series against the LA Kings.
Like everyone else in Vancouver, I am conflicted.
Last season’s run to the Stanley Cup – the second of my lifetime – was amazing, tense and in the end, soul crushingly heartbreaking. Then we had to deal with the riot and the fact that people from Surrey came to Vancouver to riot. (Editor’s Note: Surrey Sucks! If you don’t believe me, look at how many people from Surrey have been charged with rioting versus people who actually live in Vancouver. In conclusion, again, Surrey sucks!)
The Canucks got a lot of breaks last season in their run to the Cup and the City was absolutely pumped the entire time. They seemed like a team of destiny, on our fortieth anniversary, who would raise our first Cup. There would be champagne and celebrating and it would be just like the Olympics. It was not. We gave our trust over the fans and people
from Surrey took it away.
Now another postseason looms and again the Canucks appear to be in the driver’s seat as they raised another President’s Trophy last weekend. We are a deep team with has experience, grit and talent. The West however, appears much, much deeper than last year. Chicago still lurks menacingly in the background; San Jose has no pressure this year and could get hot; whoever survives Nashville and Detroit could win it all; LA will not be an easy out with Quick between the pipes…
In the East it boils down to the fact that Philly, Boston, New York and Pittsburgh are going to kill each other. I still feel that a healthy Crosby swings the balance completely, especially when paired with this year’s presumptive MVP Evgeni Malkin. The Pens will be hard to beat but the East could be an absolute war.
Which brings me back to the Canucks. Last year felt different. Last year was our year. I suspect many in Vancouver feel the same way, and agree this year just feels different. I am not sure if we have it. I remain haunted to this day by Game Six of the Stanley Cup in Boston. For the rest of my life I will believe that had we started Cory Schneider in place of Roberto Luongo (he could not play in Boston and wanted no part of it) we would have raised Lord Stanley. This year? My cousin’s husband Chris summed it up perfectly at Easter dinner on Saturday, “Last year I had a good feeling about the team; this year I don’t.”
People in Vancouver desperately want and deserve a Cup – we are the most tortured Sports franchise this side of the Chicago Cubs (I am not counting the Toronto Maple Leaf’s because they should technically be the in the NHL D-League and thus cannot be considered a “franchise” at this time – or any other. They are the Surrey of the NHL) – and yet many of us, in our heart of hearts, do not feel this is our year for it. Many of us may still feel guilt or shame at how our city reacted to losing. If you cannot lose with dignity, how can you hope to win?
My heart will always be that of a Canuck, and I desperately hope we can make another run this season.
My Stanley Cup Pick however, is the Penguins for the simple reason that Crosby can carry a franchise to the top whenever he is healthy and at the moment that is exactly what he is.