Stanley Cup Finals 2011: Vancouver Grinds to a Halt as Canucks Grind to a Game 7

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Stanley Cup Finals 2011: Vancouver Grinds to a Halt as Canucks Grind to a Game 7
Harry How/Getty Images

If you've never been to Vancouver before and you'd like to at some point in the future, you better pray the Canucks lose to the Boston Bruins tonight. Because if they win, the city will literally disappear in a cloud of thermonuclear energy.

Poof—it will never be seen or heard from again.

Every championship game and series brings out the usual melodramatic talking points about fanbases and psychological cityscapes; sometimes they're warranted, sometimes they're not.

This time, they're all understatements.

The baggage that the Vancouver Canucks and their followers carry into this game is paralyzing.

Forty years of mediocrity, 17 years without a Finals appearance, a Presidents' Trophy and a season-long expectation that anything less than the Stanley Cup is a failure, the sudden disappearance of offense, the fragility of franchise player Roberto Luongo, the dread of looming disaster and embarrassment on the biggest stage in hockey (and now, with the finish of the NBA Finals, arguably all of North American sports), the narrative that the Canucks are villains and the Bruins are the chosen ones, the horror of seeing them lift "your" Cup in your home rink with the backdrop of a "the righteous team won" attitude and articulation in the media.

And then the fact that they're broken, battered, limping on no power play and facing what is rumored to be the greatest goaltender who has ever lived.

The stage is set for disaster; the stage is set for heroics; the stage is set for a perfect storm of dramatics and intrigue.

If they win, they'll have slayed every demon and force working against them, and they will have to have done so in spectacular, gut-checking fashion. Really, why else to do we watch sports, if not for the infrequent appearance of such a mind-blowingly large stage—such a constellation of events and intricacies that the very lives of those involved appear to be alarmingly present and at stake?

Boston wants it. Vancouver needs it. The Canucks, quite simply, have to win it.

One way or the other, this city burns to the ground.

Enjoy this game. One like it won't come back around for a long, long time.

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