So now that the fires have stopped burning we can begin to look into the reasons behind the destruction, and analyze exactly why the fate of the hockey team invades the souls of the Vancouver populous and drives them to injure their city.
This wasn’t anger nor was it poor sportsmanship—this was frustration. And behind it came the small group of scavengers that prey upon a city in distress. Together they plunged a city that had basked in the glory and the good will of a global event just one year before into darkness.
So why is Vancouver so frustrated when it comes to the fortunes—mostly bad—of their hockey team? This has to go deeper than the simple losing of a hockey game. Twice the Canucks were on the verge of a championship and twice they failed in game seven. And on each occasion the city burned. But these events were nearly two decades apart. How do feelings—so similar and so tragic—manifest itself over such a long period of time without lessening at all?
The city didn’t upturn cars and set vehicles on fire when the Grizzlies moved out of town? And that could be classified as the singular most devastating event in the history of a sports franchise. Imagine not losing a game seven but losing your team? Why was there no devastation then?
And the Canucks have seen their season come to an end without a championship since its inception four decades ago. Losing can’t hurt so much when it happens every year.
No, it’s not about the losing—it’s about the conspiracy. It’s about the sense of dread that encompasses a people when the expected happens. “Somehow the Canucks are going to disappoint us. The league will make sure of that.”
Conspiracy. The mere thought of such wrongdoing can turn a sane man insane. A conspiracy has the ability to exert unyielding power —especially in a situation where it appears that the league will do anything and everything in its power to ensure that the small Canadian city does not defeat the large American. At least so says the American operated, and biased, league office. New York had to win in ’94 and Boston had to win this year.
But where does the conspiracy lay? The NHL is like any other sports league, it has one goal—to make money. Will it earn more if Boston wins game seven and not Vancouver? No. It earns more money because there was a seventh game in the Stanley Cup finals and was able to cash in on all the excitement and interest that emanates from a deciding game. Who wins is actually irrelevant.
It wasn’t conspiracy that defeated the Canucks—it was the large margin between the play of each team’s goaltenders. Vancouver may be a better team but the Bruins got otherworldly goaltending from Tim Thomas while Vancouver had to fight through the strainer-like confidence of its own goaltender.
Entering the series Boston knew that they would need Thomas to be unbeatable and if they could keep the much more skilled Canucks on the perimeter then they had a chance. And while the Bruins were effective in their game plan in the opening two games the Canucks were just that much better—and Luongo looked confident.
The Rome hit on Horton in the first period of game three though changed the direction of the series. It now became personal for the Bruins. They once had a grudging respect for their opponent but now the Bruins hated the Canucks.
And the Canucks began to retreat from the onslaught. When Vancouver needed its goaltender to keep them in games he could not. When Vancouver needed its goaltender to match the play of Boston’s he could not. When Vancouver needed its goaltender to play as he did when he played well he could not. When Vancouver needed its goaltender to play with confidence and give them some confidence back he could not.
And when Vancouver needed its citizenry to act with decorum as the series came to end–they could not. At least there is still next year.
…Do you ever wonder why some organizations just can’t stop having losing seasons? Look no further than the Golden State Warriors. Here is an organization that has spent the better part of its history in the California city as basketball fodder—one championship in more than 40 years and six playoff appearance over the past 34 years. Along with the Clippers the Warriors have become the laughingstock of the Western Conference.
So what do these Warriors—with one playoff appearance under its belt since 1994—do about their head coaching vacancy? They hire a commentator—an announcer—who has never even been an assistant anywhere in basketball. Mark Jackson was a player and when he retired he became a broadcaster. So what capabilities do the Warriors believe that this man possesses that the plethora of qualified candidates who have actual coaching experience do not? We shall see. But this is not like Doug Collins leaving the broadcast booth for the hard court or when first Hubie Brown and the Mike Fratello followed suit. They were each successful coaches at one time.
It is one thing to say he would do something when broadcasting—it is quite another to actually do it when coaching. This is a recipe for disaster. After a couple of failed years Jackson can simply return to the broadcasting table. But the Warriors will be another two years along the road to futility.Tags: Boston Bruins, Golden State Warriors, Mark Jackson, NHL, Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas, Vancouver Canucks