My Annual “Canucks Choke” Post, and some Vancouver Riot Commentary.
There’s just so much ammunition to fire.
First of all, the Canucks BA-LEW ( with a GAA of 8.05, Ba-“Lou”, perhaps?) IT, and successfully, once again did NOT win the Stanley Cup; once again shattered the hopes and dreams of fans who, quite frankly, should have known better, and sent the city into a cannibalizing, lawless, character-altering, violent riot.
I’m going to tackle this in two parts: the hockey part and the insane aftermath part.
Hockey-wise, the Canucks had everything going for them in Game 7 (the home-ice advantage winning pattern seemed to be the primary leverage, as well as the Olympic hosting/Cup winning tradition), and none of it ended up mattering because the goalie who was supposedly the best in the world let in too many goals, and the regular season’s leading scorers didn’t score any goals. You can collect all the regular season trophies you want — President’s Trophy, Western Conference Championship, Art Ross, maybe even a Vezina Trophy – but if the players who won or helped win those trophies don’t perform in the final circumstance, said team will never win the Stanley Cup, THE ultimate trumping trophy.
It’s pretty brutal when the team that was picked to win the Cup before the first puck of the season was dropped can’t even score a single goal in a franchise-defining game like in this year’s Game 7. I hate to question the heart of players in that situation, but it seems like Boston was the only team that showed up to play that night, and they were unquestionably the better team at the game of hockey (which it should all be about, but more on that later).
On paper, the Canucks should have Harlem Globetrotter’ed the Bruins; instead they got their show ran by a team whose top scorers had at least 40 less points than theirs, a goalie who beat them up, and a 43 year old (Mark Recchi, who seems like he could still play 2 or 3 seasons with his level of production). Don’t you dare blame it on injuries either, as both teams were filled with players ready to fall apart if a strong enough gust of wind blew through the dressing room. If you’re going to do interviews and tell people how playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals was something you dreamed of as a kid, or how your team is going to become legends after you win (Kesler), try not to embarrass yourselves and your fans in your home rink by not even scoring one measly goal in the most important game of your lives.
Now, regarding the riot that followed. I mean, it was just so predictable, wasn’t it? If you Google image search “Vancouver Riot”, you have to specify which year you want pictures from (seriously, look for yourself). Like I said, fans were told their team was going to win it all from the outset of the season (and every season prior). You place that level of expectation on a city that still had memories of 1994’s Game 7 failure in mind, mix it in with being dubbed “Canada’s Team” (though every team from a Canadian city left standing in the playoffs is named that), and the further expectation of living up to the Olympic success in that very building, as well as the sea of people outside of it watching it on the big screen; was the outcome anything but predictable, especially from a riot-prone city? It became more than just about a hockey score a long time ago.
Everyone, from Vancouver’s mayor and the Premier of BC to the Canucks’ staff and players, have vocally condemned the riots, and rightfully so. What those people did was atrocious. Their actions were comparable to those of the citizens of Middle Eastern countries today amidst conflict – only instead of fighting for their democratic freedoms and right to live, these jokers were fighting and burning police cars because their favourite hockey team lost.
While everything about the riot bothers me, one thing that bugs me just a little more is the blatant minimization of the participants by the afore mentioned delegates. Every commenter has gone out of their way to say that the people rioting were a small, isolated group of anarchists, which were not Vancouver Canucks fans. And while perhaps (and hopefully) that is true, I just don’t see how you can tell me that out of the thousands of people congregating in downtown Vancouver outside of Roger’s Arena, and the nearly 20,000 people who were inside the arena, and would eventually leave and join that mass, that not one of those who started/participated in the violence was a Canucks fan. Wade through the uncountable amount of riot pictures and video; these people are wearing $200 replica Canucks jerseys with the name of their favourite player stitched on the back, they paid thousands of dollars on tickets to go to games, they painted their faces, dressed up in team colors…. Those just aren’t the kind of investments a non-fan makes. If these people aren’t fans, I just have to wonder – what exactly is the criteria for being a Canucks fan? Wasn’t it the Vancouver organization that came up with the “We Are All Canucks” marketing campaign slogan? I support the condemning of rioters and their actions, and even the disowning of fans actually; but denying that these people were fans of the team seems like a stretch, even for a city in full-blown damage control. Vancouver, you have plenty of upstanding citizens and loyal, civilized fans (very encouraging to see the droves of people coming out to clean up the city the next day); but for once just admit, you’ve got a whole lot of crazy ones too. How many more riots will it take before someone finally admits this? For those who make the case that Vancouverites would have rioted no matter what the outcome of the game, I counter with Newton’s Third Law (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction); they went bananas in the best, most peaceful way possible when Canada won Olympic gold in 2010 in the very same location, but in times of defeat the people congregated in that area seek to implode the place. For their team being 40 years old, “bad” Canuck fans sure act like adult-sized, criminal versions of small children throwing tantrums because they didn’t get what they want.
And what is there exactly to be cheering about, when you’re standing on top of an upside down, burning police car, with your hands in the air, yelling at the top of your lungs, posing for pictures? Morons, I tell you. Probably the same people that smashed the windows of the Chapters and didn’t steal a single book. And did it annoy anyone else that the media was more concerned about discovering the identity of a couple making-0ut during the riot than idenitfying rioters they said they were going to punish to the full extent of the law?
For me, it all comes down to this tried and true formula, yet again: The Vancouver Canucks choked, and their idiot fans took it too far and rioted. Every reason I don’t cheer for Vancouver underscored itself once again; not for the first time, and likely not for the last. Don’t worry, Ryan Kesler, at least Kevin Bieksa thinks you’re a legend.
Told you so!