So the season is over for the Vancouver Canucks. While the analysis will go on for a long time yet, I wanted to talk about the sadness of the current season ending. With eight UFAs on the team, and none offered contracts, the face of the Canucks will look very different next year. It's a change that seems over due, but a changed none the less. And after Dave Nonis' 4 year tenure, it's already the end of an era.
The Vancouver Canuck fan has been told year after year to wait, be patient, and good things will happen with this team. The management and scouts are working hard to give you what you want. And at the end of every year, a little hope perhaps and last year's over achievers gave us that. Still we find the team missing the playoffs again for the 2nd time in 3 years. I'm a little relieved the season is over and they can get on with the business of building another team. I always want my team to be in the playoffs, for the revenue and the fact that anything can happen when you're in, but I'm glad the band-aid has been pulled off, and they aren't tugging at it any more. What will the face of the Canucks look like? That isn't an easy question to answer, and so many possibilities to consider, but the Canucks staff have a lot of work to do before next season.
As a fan of the Vancouver Canucks, I have shared in the disappointment. The inconsistency of this team, and the inability to win the Stanley Cup, wears on me. Two runs to the cup final in 38 years is clearly making this town restless. Every year Vancouver fans see teams in American markets win the cup, where no one could care less about hockey. Carolina and Anaheim are two most recent examples. The Vancouver Canucks are the only current Canadian NHL team that has never won the cup. Even Ottawa, who made it to the finals last year, has won the cup in their history. That fact alone makes Vancouver fans angry. In a hockey mad town like Vancouver, to not have a team play to the effort level that the fans contribute is becoming unacceptable. I understand it's not easy to win the cup, but the Canucks must have another real shot at wining it soon, or how can the owners expect the fans to care?
On the verge of the final and meaningless game of the Canucks season, I have a sadness. I think about Trevor Linden. Trevor has always embodied the Vancouver Canucks as a town, and a team. He has carried the weight of the losses, the joy of the wins, and has seen it all. In my era of watching this team, he is the Captain. There was never another. I'm sad to think that he will never play for Vancouver or in the NHL again. He has hinted at retirement after this season, and I wish him well if that is his decision, but I hope he doesn't go. I want a Stanley Cup for him. I want him to raise the cup above his head in victory as a Canuck before he hangs them up. I'm not much of a hockey player, but there have been times that I have wanted to don the skates and get out on the ice with the Canucks. I want to play with heart, get hit, drive to the net to score for Trevor. It truly breaks my heart watching from the stands as the team implodes. The feeling of powerlessness as a fan is universal. I'm sure I'm not the only fan that has dreamed of coming through for their team. Coming through for Trevor. Night in and night out he is the living representation of all we are feeling as Canuck fans. It is like he was selected, voted in from the fans to reluctantly fight and play for this team. And his face at the end of another sad effort is the face we look to for answers and affirmation. And it's the face that looks tired of the struggle. I feel for you Trevor, and I hope if you remain with the team in any capacity that they can win a cup in your time here.
So it's the end of another season, and we move on to support other teams, and other sports. We hang out collective heads when we meet someone from Calgary in for a vacation here to enjoy the beauty of the city. The future us unknown and always a bit exciting, and now is the time for Dave Nonis to show what he is he to do, and make positive change. We are still here for now and we are waiting.