I haven’t written here for a long time. It’s been almost a year. So, why now? What inspired me to write again? The Canucks, that’s what. In particular the Canucks win over last year’s Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks in round one of this year’s playoffs.
The Blackhawks have been a thorn in the Canucks side for the past two playoff seasons and no one really expected the third series between these two teams to play out the way it did. It was, in a word, epic.
When I heard that the Canucks had to play the Blackhawks I was just a little nervous. The ‘Hawks have clearly had the number of the Canucks, who were riding high coming off a franchise record breaking regular season that saw them winning the President’s Trophy for the first time in the club’s 40 year history. Prime targets for a little pedestal knocking.
Every Canucks fan has a soundtrack to their hockey nightmares and it’s that goddamned Blackhawks goal song, Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis. I was not looking forward to hearing it ever again. I still can’t bear the sound of it, but after last night it doesn’t have the same sting.
The Canucks, who have become known for doing things the hard way, went up three games to none in the series. Then the team promptly lost the next three in a row, being blown out in the first two, both games seeing goalie Roberto Luongo chased from the net by a barrage of goal scoring from the relentless Blackhawks. Even though the third game looked like one the Canucks could win, the Blackhawks managed to embarrass the Vancouver team with an overtime win.
Could this be happening again? Have the Blackhawks sold their souls to Satan in return for the ability to humiliate the Canucks and their fans? Perhaps. Damn them. Game 7 loomed like a 16 ton weight on a frayed rope over the heads of all the Vancouver not-anymore-so-faithful. Please God, not three years in a row. My poor over buttered and under exercised heart can’t take the strain.
There was a hint of good things to come at the beginning of the game however.
As my shifts have been in the afternoon I’ve had to watch a lot of the games on the second monitor of my PC with no sound. Last night I my lunch was scheduled just as the game was to start, so I trundled up to the ninth floor to join the others who I knew would be watching the game on the big screen. As Mark Donnelly affectionately known as Opera Man was leading Canucks fans at GM Place in Oh Canada I looked out the window and saw a rainbow hanging over the inlet and arcing in the direction of, you guessed it, GM Place.
I shit you not.
I snapped a picture:
Could this be a sign from the Universe? Oh please let it be.
The game began and we were on the edge of our seats the whole night. The standouts of the game were Alex Burrows and the goalies for both teams. Man, were they spectacular. Especially the Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. Holy smokes was he amazing. But it was really Burrows night. An undrafted player from the Atlantic league, he was everywhere last night and alternated between goat and golden boy. Burrows scored the goal that stood as the only one for the first 55 minutes of the game and then gave the puck away on a power play leading to the Blackhawks scoring with only a few minutes left in the game taking it to over time again.
Oh no. Burrows took an early penalty in OT, but ultimately redeemed himself. Here’s what finally happened:
Jim Hughson’s quotes, “What a wonderful day for an exorcism!” and “Exhale British Columbia! The Canucks are on to round two. Nashville is next.” really drove it home.
I’m sure the Predators aren’t going to be pushovers, and the Canucks still have twelve games to win before they can hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, but I’m not sure even that would match how sweet last night’s victory was. Maybe it really can get better. We’ll see.