What Is + What Was!
After what can only be described as a surreal spring, the anticipation for training camp harboured somewhere between grudging and owed.
As hard as it was to see Boston lift the cup on home turf, it hurt deeper knowing this would be the the final lasting image of what was supposed to be the Canucks coming out party.
Nine months of goodwill had vanished before our eyes in the span of just a week, and every time a Canucks fan closed his or her eyes this summer, there was Luongo, shoulders slumped, defeated by the puck.
Objectively, it’s never been a better time to be a Canucks fan.
The Mike Gillis era has produced a multitude of awards and record and memories, yet there remains this dark underbelly. Perhaps it’s a condition of the history of this franchise that we expect the worst, but we only expect it because history has shown that is what is inevitably delivered to us.
When the entire run turned out to be a long con and ended with a horrific gut punch followed by a riot, it was disappointing yes but was any true Canuck fan really shocked?
So the summer was long and the fingers were pointed everywhere and the horrible weather that followed the e7nd of the finals probably didn’t help.
That, combined with the horrific news over the summer, made training camp a relief. The Canucks probably didn’t plan to rest their veterans over camp for the purpose of easing fans back into the team without having to deal with the emotional baggage carried over from June just yet, but it certainly helped.
Apathy turned to acceptance turned to anticipation and the puck drop on October 6 was cathartic. The banners and trophies pre-game reminded us how far the team had come, and just like that we were off to redeem the embarrassment of the most successful season in franchise history.
And then Matt Cooke scored and it all came rushing back.
The Canucks came back, but Luongo’s performance in the shootout was abysmal and again, that was the lasting memory he left Canucks fans. There again was Luongo defending his performance post-game, and there again was the same bad taste in everyone’s mouth. This wasn’t a new chapter, this was an appendix.
Three days off didn’t do the building pressure cooker any favours, nor did Cory Schneider leading a sleeping-walking Canucks team to a road win over a Columbus team off to a horrible start.
A first period implosion in Philly led to a series of Canucks goals that seemed to get them back into the game be promptly answered each and every time within minutes.
Again, frustrating for fans and the team. Again, hard to assign blame to any individual goal, but the collective defensive effort was lacking. Is Aaron Rome really that integral to the Canucks defence?
He might be a whipping boy, but the Canucks defensive efforts during his Finals suspension and season-opening injury has to at least raise the possibility that maybe there’s more to Rome than meets the eye.
The team would pick up a close win over the Oilers bookended between shutout losses to the Red Wings and Rangers, and after Tuesday night the relationship between the team and the fans was beginning to turn toxic.
The third period collapse Tuesday against the Rangers led to Luongo recieving the Bronx cheer from a few of the Rogers Arena faithful, no doubt a reponse also to seeing a Luongo’s peer Henrik Lundqvist put on a how-to clinic on franchise goalies.
And then last night happened.
A star goalie faltered in the first, allowing four goals and deciding the game within 10 minutes, but hey it was Rinne! Let’s not forget about the difference Kesler can be also.
They needed this.
We needed this.
The Canucks have slow Octobers, its just a fact, but we needed to be reminded what can happen when they hit their stride.
This year will most likely follow every other yearly pattern, Luongo will get hot in November, the team will start to pull away from the conference over the winter, but we aren’t there yet and we haven’t seen this team dominate in close to five months.
This feels good, this I remember.