Dear Vancouver Canucks

Dear Vancouver Canucks,

Here we go again. Me writing open letters, you in the playoffs. Only this time, the do or die part has come a little earlier than anyone expected.

I wish I knew what to say here. I wish I was confident and passionate like I was right until the end of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last year. But this year… call it a Cup hangover, but I’m just not so zealous.

I don’t hate the Kings like I hate the Hawks or the Bruins, probably because I have never had to before. They’re a non-factor. So I’m more perplexed than anything that they are some how a factor suddenly. Maybe that’s why they became a factor. Because you, like me, don’t have a hateful fire burning deep for them.

Honestly, I don’t know. But I do know I believe in your talents. I know you have it in you. The core did it last year and I see no reason why you can’t do it again. The newbies – Booth, Kassian, Pahlsson – should be full of drive. It’s become an easy, over-used catch phrase but it’s also a hard truth – THIS is what YOU live for. As an NHL player there should be nothing you try harder at than getting as close to Lord Stanley’s cup as humanly possible.

You’ve gone on winning streaks before and you can do it again. I don’t buy the hype that “playoffs are different” and neither should you. Let’s be honest you guys face scrutiny from media, hate from around Canada and the league and attacks from “fans” year round so this is just another day as a Vancouver Canuck.

Who cares if the odds are stacked against you? Who cares if the math is not in your favor? Who cares if the Kings twitter is run by a Communications department that thinks bad attention is better than no attention? You’ve dealt with worse.

Schneider or Luongo it doesn’t matter – you both have the talent and the ability to blank the Kings. Kesler, find that strength, patience and determination that had you carry the entire team on your back for large parts of last year’s run. I believe it’s still in you – dig deep and find it. Burr, picture a rolling puck and Crawford in net with every freaking shot you take – and take every shot you can. Bieksa, find a stanchion and a puck and make them your bitch. Hamhuis and Henrik, you’ve been everything you could possibly be in this series so far so keep on keeping on. Lapierre focus on skating and pestering for the puck not the penalty. You have the potential to cause a Kings collapse, more so with your mouth shut than with it open. Believe in your hockey talent. Kassian, Weise, Booth – hit something! Hard and clean and as often as possible.

If I had to pick a team in Round 1 that’s likely to drop a lead – it would be the Los Angeles Kings. And if I had to pick a team that has the ability, stamina and talent to come back and win four in a row – it would be the Vancouver Canucks.

It’s do or die time. You have it in you to win this. In the words of the most passionate and dedicated Canucks I’ve ever known; I don’t just believe, I know. Go Canucks Go!

Sincerely,
Me

NHL Valentines

Since our favorite hockey players are too  busy with games and fighting to either stay in a playoff spot or make a playoff spot, I thought I would send the Valentines for them this year. 

TRANSLATION: Dear Randy Cunneyworth, We’d ask you to be our valentine but you don’t speak French. And since French is the language of love, you can go suck it. Signed The Fans of the Canadiens.

 

Here We Go Again

I don’t even want to write this article. Why? Because unfortunately, I do actually try to have at least a little perspective when writing for WinDaTurd. And because this article is about the upcoming Bruins-Canucks game finding perspective (even a shred) means putting a copious amount of mental energy into fighting my well-developed lifelong instinct to just rage blind hate for the Boston Bruins. But…. I guess I’ll give it a go. I can always nap later to regain my strength.

The ever-incredible sports journalist Guts McTavish (best puppet in the business) asked a question late last night on twitter. He said What Do You Honestly See Happening in the Game Saturday? I gave him a quirky answer, but it wasn’t the whole truth (Sorry Guts) because the truth is I have no clue. Here are the three possible outcomes that are fighting for dominance in my head.

1- The Canucks will be neutered. The Bruins will skate all over us. I love my team very much but I feel that they tend to get carry more baggage than a Bell Hop at the Beverly Wilshire. Emotional baggage that is. Key players in particular seem to not be able to shake demons off their back very easily. Bobby Lu’s relationship with the Madhouse could be sited here. The Canucks didn’t just lose every game in the Garden during the Finals, they lost them by huge margins. This is what makes me nervous. And just to avoid the Luongo-Hater accusations I’ll add here that Kesler tends to be reckless when he’s emotional (not angry but emotional, there’s a difference). And the Twins tend to turtle. Of course we finally broke free of the United Center curse, we can do it here too, which is why I’m not convinced we’ll have a repeat of the painful shutout loss that was June 15, 2011.

2 - Canucks will earn a solid, clear win because Boston will underestimate us. When the Bruins faced us in June we were playing at less than our best.  We were tired and injury riddled. Kesler could barely skate. Raymond’s back was broken. Malholtra was barely back from a career ending injury, etc. Also facing the same team for 7 games in a row – a team whose playing style…. Is “rougher” than is typical, would wear down even a team playing at 100%. (Excuse me while I catch my breath. It took everything in me to call the bruins style something as simple and polite as “rough”)

This Canuck team – the one going into Boston Saturday – is healthy and strong and playing great, solid hockey. And there are some new additions – like Dale Wiese who might be able to earn back some fans he alienated on twitter if he plays with the fearless aggression and force we know he’s capable of this Saturday. Also, when asked about the upcoming rematch, Ballard said “It’s one game in the middle of the season. We’re not going to feel better about last season by beating Boston once in January.”

If the Canucks believe this – TRULY believe this – then we have the definite advantage. It means we’re not going in there actively seeking revenge and we aren’t trying to prove anything. It means we’ll play our hockey and not be goaded into their hockey. And to be honest, the Bruins are the ones who should feel they have to prove something as far as I’m concerned. Because if they lose I intend to believe that their Game 7 win was a fluke and pull out lines like “If we’d been healthy they never would have won, which this game proves.” (sorry…. My blind rage escaped its cage for a minute there)

3 - Last but not least the all-out, old-school, full-on massacre. I’m not talking in points, I’m talking in blood. The hate between theses teams is full and complete and not nearly enough time has passed to even have a thick scab on the wound. The media is surely going to do nothing but fan the flames (again). Boston fans are ignorant, conceited, a-holes. And there are a fair share of loudly delusional idiotic Canucks fans. Although it’s great that the Canucks say they’re looking at this as just another game, neither fanbase is by any means. This game easily has the potential to make last year’s Islanders-Penguins debacle look like a playground scuffle. I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t want that. What Canucks fan doesn’t want to see Brad Marchand take another 6 swings at a Sedin and Kevin Beiksa step in and punch that Sears Tower Marchand calls a nose off his ugly face? And oh God I would be wrongly delighted with a goalie fight! 

Now which of these possibilities do I want to see become reality? As much as I love a great goalie fight, I want Option 2. I want to get this ugly, dirty bear off our backs now. Beat the Bruins and move on (mentally and physically). Because we could very well be facing them again and if we should learn how to beat them in their barn now so we know how to do it later.

And now excuse while I go back to despising the most violent, dirty team in the entire NHL with a blind rage. Ahhhhh that feels better.

Behind Enemy Lines – For Life.

Courtesy of Fotografix Studios

I often tell people I am in a “mixed marriage” because in my eyes I am. Of course when they see my husband – blonde hair, blue eyes, Caucasian – and they look at me (brown hair, green eyed, Caucasian) they think I’m a mental moron. But as far as I am concerned when one person loves one hockey franchise and the other person loves the other – THAT is a form of a mixed marriage.

Simply put, my husband is a life-long Montreal Canadiens supporter. I am a die-hard Vancouver Canucks supporter. As if this wasn’t enough of a hurdle, my husband is also a hardcore, full-on Canucks HATER. He despises them. Need proof? This die-hard, life-long Canadiens supporter actually started cheering for the Boston Bruins during the Stanley Cup Final. Something he fully admits he would have never considered if they were playing anyone other than the Canucks. He hates my team THAT much. Continue reading

Bandwagoner? Realist? Delusional? What fan are you?

This could be a blog that applies to many different NHL teams – maybe other sports as well. But it is most definitely a topic that hits hard in the city of Vancouver because the true fans of the Canucks are very big on labelling and critising Bandwagon fans. My problem is that I don’t think the majority of them actually understand what a bandwagoner is.

Bandwagoners sprout up during the spring when Canucks, more often than not, screech into the playoffs in some sort of dramatic fashion. They either slide in ass backwards by the skin of their teeth or they conquer everything in their path. Either way all of a sudden every car in Vancouver has a Canucks flag waving from its window. Every pedestrian is wearing a team jerseys and every dog is in a Canucks shirt (or is that just my dog?!)

I love the Canucks. I watch every game I am able to. Last year I spent roughly $1700 on tickets to games. I bought pay per view games. I tweet games (concretefluff), all Canucks news and write this blog. But when we re-signed the Twins my tweet was: “Canucks re-signed the Sedin twins. I hope they also bought stock in Red Bull to keep them awake during the playoffs.”

Some “fans” labeled me a bandwagoner.

When I tweeted recently that I was skipping the Phoenix-Vancouver game because I was going to a movie and would rather be disappointed by Bruce Willis than Roberto Luongo, I was again labeled a bandwagoner.

Guess what, that’s not Bandwagonning, that’s called REALISM.

I grew up in Montreal. Raised a Habs fan. Bandwagoners do not exist there. In Montreal there are only 2 types of fans – Canadiens fans and Habs fans. End of story.

A lot of bloggers and tweeters were really ticked off when Montreal Fans at the Bell center booed Carey Price the first couple of games this season. But that’s what realistic fans do! If Habs fans are pissed at the team, or one or all of its members, they let the world know. But they never ever jump ship. (Even when we say we will, like I did when they traded Halak. I didn’t. But I did boo Price and I’ll do it again when he completely melts down in the spring).

Bandwagoners don’t even get on the ship until they can see the destination from the portside window. You never hear a hockey word come out of their mouths until the snow melts and the Cherry blossoms bloom. They try to participate in playoff conversations by saying stuff like “Number fourteen scored a sweet hat trick last night.” Number 14?! FYI his name is BURROWS, he was born in Pincourt, Quebec and spends the off-season in Kirkland and his wife’s name is Nancy – got it, Bandwagoner?

Just because a fan can fully and freely admit that the Sedins fall asleep in the playoffs, Kesler is the Queen of near missed shots and Bieksa spends a great deal of the season coasting on his good looks and sparkling personality does NOT make them a bandwagoner. A bandwagoner wouldn’t know any of that.

I soldier through the season – the whole season – with the team. Celebrating their wins and commiserating their loses. But I’m a realist. As much as I want, pray, wish and dream of the Vancouver Canucks winning the Stanley Cup, I can also understand that it’s probably not going to happen with Alain Vigneault at the helm.

The fans who plan the parade route after 2 consecutive wins in October, who swear every August that “This is our year” and are shocked, truly shocked and devastated, every April when we inevitably shit the bed, those may be true fans as well but they are also delusional fans. Not Shockingly they’re the first ones to point their foam fingers and label people who don’t drink their team coloured Kool-Aid “bandwagoners”.

In the end, I honestly don’t care what you call me. I am what I am. I’ll be there when the Vancouver Canucks finally win the Stanley Cup and I’ll be there every single time they fail miserably too.