Since 1994, being a Canucks fan has required a commitment to two basic functions: complaining about the fact that Vancouver never wins anything, and reminiscing about that time Vancouver almost won everything. For 17 years, at least, this is who we’ve been. But this is no longer who we are. With Vancouver’s third Stanley Cup Final appearance beginning tonight, our entire identity is currently being rewritten. Whatever happens in the next two weeks, our functions are going to be different.
If Vancouver wins, we immediately lose the ability to bemoan our team’s lack of Stanley Cups. That nullifies half the conversations in this city. A Canuck victory means, a year from now, tourists may remark that Vancouverites don’t have much to talk about.
If Vancouver loses, we will continue to complain, but the stories of 1994, which make up the other half of our conversations, will take a backseat to the stories of 2011. That, too, is a drastic change.
Now, some feel that 2011 can’t displace 1994 unless the Canucks win the Cup. It isn’t true. 1994 seems untouchable and sacred, but that’s the result of years of time and distance. We’ve had nearly two decades to turn its stories from “things that occurred’ into “legends”. This will happen to 2011, too. If you don’t believe me, let me show you the difference between what’s taken place in the past two months and what you’re going to wind up telling your kids:
KEVIN BIEKSA’S GAME 5 WINNER VS SAN JOSE
What really happened: After some sustained offensive pressure, the puck squirted to Alex Edler at the point. He tried to dump it in deep, but it bounced off a stanchion, right to Kevin Bieksa. Nobody knew where the puck was, so Bieksa shot the puck. Because it was bouncing, he nearly missed. The puck three-hopped past Antti Niemi, who never even saw it.
What you’ll tell your kids: After some sustained offensive pressure, the puck squirted to Alex Edler at the point. In a split second decision, with two guys bearing down on him, he made a no-look saucer pass off the stanchion to Kevin Bieksa, who one-timed a laser. Top. Corner. The shot was so hard, Antti Niemi never even saw it.
ALEX BURROWS’S GAME 7 WINNER VS CHICAGO
What really happened: Five minutes into overtime, Blackhawks’ defender Chris Campoli made a clearing attempt. Alex Burrows caught the puck, then threw it down in front of him as he broke in alone. It was standing on end, but he was able to slap it past Corey Crawford.
What you’ll tell your kids: Five minutes into overtime, Blackhawks’ defender Chris Campoli made a clearing attempt. Alex Burrows leapt seven feet into the air, and caught the puck while doing a full front flip over Campoli’s head. Then he threw it down on the ice so hard it bounced right back up, shoulder-high. Burrows pointed top corner, waited for it to fall back into his strike zone, and swatted it past Corey Crawford, exactly where he pointed, like Babe Ruth.
RYAN KESLER’S GAME 5 TYING GOAL VS SAN JOSE
What really happened: Midway through game 5 versus the Sharks, Ryan Kesler pulled up lame with a leg injury. Even though he was obviously in pain, he came back and played the rest of the game. Then, with fifteen seconds to go, and needing a goal to send the game into overtime, Kesler, on a bum leg, tipped a Henrik Sedin shot past Sharks’ goalie Antti Niemi to tie the game.
What you’ll tell your kids: Midway through game 5 versus the Sharks, Ryan Kesler’s leg literally fell clean off his body. Kesler went to the dressing room, bundled four sticks together, stuffed them into a skate, and duct taped the contraption to his hip. He played the entire game like that. Then, with fifteen seconds to go, and needing a goal to send the game into overtime, Joe Thornton slashed Kesler’s stick out of his hand. There wasn’t enough time to pick it up, so Kesler ripped one of the sticks from his makeshift leg, and tipped Henrik Sedin’s shot — top corner! — past Antti Niemi to tie the game.
Okay, maybe we won’t exaggerate them this badly, but in a few years, these moments will be larger than life.Tags: Bieksa, Burrows, Canucks, featured, hey remember 1994, history, Kesler, perspective, playoffs