June 10 – Game 5

I wish I could stop hockeying sometimes. I never do – and if the Canucks win it’s my own damn fault for torturing myself by watching. I should stay away. I probably won’t.

In my time out west, I was always bothered by the Sky is falling! mentality of Canucks fans. No other city in the world would treat their keeper like they do. He’s an elite player, he’s not always going to win, but he does a great job for you goons most of the season, every season. The treatment he receives after a bad game, or even a bad goal, is toxic for his head. Cut him some slack and he’ll play off his sack.

Your team needs two more games to win it all. The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in all of sports. Most players – and fans – should be so lucky to be in such a position.

It’s the playoffs. Don’t you people know how it works? You believe in your team and you ride the crests of joy and the valleys of defeat all spring long. They either get beat or take their fans to glory. You stand by your team regardless of a bad game or two and you certainly don’t rip your goalie after any sign of weakness. It’s like friggin amateur hour over there.

It’s driven me nuts the immense number of fans that have all of a sudden sprung up in April. They love to be a fan when the team is winning and jump right off and don’t give a shit about the Canucks in defeat. Sure, this happens everywhere, but it happens a lot out west. Flags get put away the moment the season is over. You don’t see a lot of Habs or Leafs fans simply drop their colours if the team is mediocre. Cats I’ve known for years, who I’ve never heard say a single word about hockey – are all of a sudden Don friggin Cherrys. It’s been flooding my newsfeed for weeks.

Okay – game on. Mason Raymond just beautifully juked a hit by Brad Marchand. It was how I imagine Rockabye Ray threw hits for the Bs in the 50s:

Though I hate to admit it – Vancouver looks good. This is the most Canadian or close to home thing I’ve experienced for almost a year. A portal into the place I used to live, one year removed, but immersed in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Those first two games were bedlam in Vancouver, or so I imagine. To win Games 1 and 2 with 18 seconds left and eleven seconds into overtime?! C’MON! And there was an epic Game 7 overtime win against Chicago too, and an overtime winner to advance to the dance. I couldn’t ever watch those goals. I read the headlines. But I didn’t watch those goals.

And then Boston just pummeled Vancouver for two games. 12-1. Just pummeled. So now it’s game five in Vancouver – it’ll be good hockey. It’ll be fantastic hockey.

And after two periods, it is.

Tim Thomas is first Bruins keeper to get a shutout in the finals since Cheevers. Hockey Night pointed out that they sort of play alike. They do. Still – another cool list for Thomas to be on. I’d like him to take the Cup and the Conn Smythe. And he kicked it in Finland a bunch of times. And Hamilton too. I could’ve bought his goal stick cheap when I was a kid and he’d left Hamilton. And I quote: “Nah! Tim Thomas? No one’s gonna remember that guy.” Let it not be said that my 8-year old self wasn’t a dumbass.

He had great stats for HIFK though.

Two periods and goose:eggs. I told you this would be good hockey.

Pat Quinn – drops a great line in a mid-game interview about how Vancouver Canucks fans have all have their cement boots ready in case this series doesn’t go their way.

Goddammit. All I want to see is Vancouver losing. But nooooooo. 4:41 in the morning here in Prague and it looks like the Canucks will take this one.

I throw in the towel. I go watch the sun rise out my window and I go to sleep.

June 14 (morning after) – Game 6

I couldn’t watch Game 6. Every game I stay up late for Vancouver wins. It’s like being uncomfortable for a few hours and then getting punched in the nuts. I couldn’t do it for a third time. I did watch the highlights today. It’s a series now. It’s not over though and Vancouver plays at home, so who knows. This may be the first Game 7 for the Cup I miss in a long time.

Higgins gets double pumped in Game 6. Sport of kings:

June 17 – Game 7

Again, I couldn’t watch in case Van won. I’ve been glued to highlights this AM. I predicted Canucks in OT – happy how it turned out instead. A stomping.

All year long it’s been so nice to have left Van and avoid the hype of this season. Now, it would’ve all been worth it to feed off the sadness and misery of the fans. Suck it Vancouver. Well played hockey gods, well played.

This is such a random day. There’s a transit strike in Prague, my classes are cancelled because of it, so I had a home office today. I woke up as soon as the game was over and watched highlights – it felt great – and just sort of sent some messages along to some friends from out West. The riots had started but it didn’t look insane.

And then it got insane. And I spent the day leisurely marking exams and writing up report cards and periodically coming back to see what had happened. And shit got real. Like real real. And the gradual response of Canadian sports news, Canadian news, Facebook groups popping up with photos and videos, to eventually the BBC and Huffington Post. The Bruins won you know. Remember that? Nobody does – not now. I guess it worked? I mean, holy shit the city shut down the downtown core. No transit in or out. Just police in riot gear and burning cars infecting that gorgeous skyline. The only way off was bridges or the sea. It turned into an evil futuristic battledome all of a sudden. Bah. It was a Wednesday night.

Steve Nash – stellar tweet during the riots: Vancouver please stop burning shit. We’re a great city and have a lot of class. Our team is great and our championship will come. Soon.”

Taking out frustration on the city. All right. Don’t quite get it, but all right.

Yup – gone is the reputation of an entire Cup run. Wiped out with images of a smashed city and the ruined reputation of an entire country streaming to all corners of the globe.

Our team lost – let’s smash shit up. Who does that? You know who? You. And no one else in North America. The last time a losing team smashed up their city to such a degree was you! In 1994, you did this too. Sports will begin calling this the Vancouver Effect: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/06/16/f-vancouver-riot-effect.html

I just watched Rex Murphy make a great point: Fools don’t need a motive to be fools. It wasn’t all Canucks fans but there was a hell of a lot of blue and green tipping over cars. Though there were a lot of drunk assholes there too. The city is in great supply of them – especially on Downtown Granville.

But I’m not here to make fun of the city. I’m here to make fun of their hockey team.

Great Game 7. Recchi wins another, Thomas continues his brilliant thirties (HIFK! HIFK!), and Boston shows up to play and crushes the Canucks on their rightful way to earning the Cup. The Sedins fulfill the Swedish hockey player stereotype and Luongo continues his streak of mental collapses when it counts. What a beauty series and it couldn’t have ended any better (Except for maybe the rioting, but that was quite sobering to an intermittently pompous city).

What time is it in Vancouver?
20 past Luongo.
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