Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Final Curtain Call

For the first time in six years, the Vancouver Canucks will play a meaningless game when they close the 2005/2006 season tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. For the final time, we will cheer for this group of players, most of whom we cheered for for six years, some of whom won't be back next season.

And that's what makes the early end to this season hard to take.

For six years, Canucks fans have invested emotions into this team. Not only have we come to know the way they play the game, but we actually feel it with them. When we listen to audio clips of John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid, most likely we can recognize the call and visualize the play. That's how much we have come to know these guys.

We know about their tendencies: the forwards' cutesy drop pass as they enter the zone; the Sedins' slap pass; Bertuzzi's one-armed power move; Nazzy's wrist shot from just under the right faceoff circle that somehow goes into the net; Jovanovski's left-to-right deke when he rushes the puck; the list goes on and on and on.

And here's VCOE with some similar sentiments:

Being Canuckle-Heads as so many like to call us (and that’s when they’re being polite!) we haven’t seen our team blown apart for a very, very long time. Unlike so many other NHL teams, the Vancouver Canucks have held their “identity” for more than half a decade.

Now, they’re facing a process which is likely to break that identity apart in the coming months. Thinking about this, when I watched this tribute video (below the jump) I was struck by how familiar all these faces are, and how strange it will be to lose some of them.

Everyone, including us, wants to make the Stanley Cup Finals, but there’s something to be said for “knowing” your team over the long haul.

These are the guys that have been through the “fight” with all of us.
Following are a couple of video clips from DVDs that the Canucks sent to season ticket holders during the lockout - the first one focuses on the 2003/2004 season and the second features the core from the time they were put together in 2000. (Note: These clips are fairly large - please be patient as they load.)

In six years, this group of players have taken the Canucks from the basement of the NHL to become one of the league's more successful teams. For the final time tonight, I'm gonna be at GM Place to cheer them on, if not for this failed season, but for the memories of the last six.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 12:13 PM