Stanley Cup Finals 2011: Canucks, Their Fans Got What They Deserved in the End
Many neutral fans began the Stanley Cup Finals sitting on the fence. Mixed reports came out from around Canada whether or not the nation embraced the Canucks as their team.
Then it began to change.
Slowly game by game the tide turned against them.
The long list of things to not like about Vancouver began with the Alex Burrows bite seen around the world. The NHL front office might be the only people who didn't see it.
This wasn't the first time Burrows has drawn the ire from the NHL community. His antics go back years.
The following game Burrows stuck it to them again in a dramatic overtime finish. Maxim Lapierre thought it would be funny to taunt players with his fingers.
In Game 3, Aaron Rome headhunted Nathan Horton and knocked him out of the playoffs with a severe concussion.
The only problem for Vancouver?
They got trounced 8-1, and the public sentiment shifted over to the underdog Boston Bruins.
None of this stopped Vancouver from their soccer-like faking and diving however.
Henrik Sedin gets hit in the back, and he goes to the ice holding his face.
Ryan Kesler goes berserk in Game 4 and lashed out at the refs every chance he got.
Maybe he has the most impressive selective memory in the entire NHL because his reputation as an embellisher was cemented this postseason as second to none.
The flopping by Canucks players got so bad that later in the series the team wasn't getting calls they should have been getting.
Burrows cross-checked in the face? Refs didn't care.
Henrik punched in the face half a dozen times? Refs still didn't care.
The message was clear: You aren't going to get the benefit of the doubt when you've embarrassed the refs all playoffs.
Did the Canucks deserve to lose?
Barry Trotz went public about the problem in Round 2.
Dan Boyle echoed the same remarks in Round 3.
By the time the Stanley Cup Finals rolled around, all the despicable diving came back to bite them.
Polls from national websites and newspapers midway through the series indicated that the support was unanimously with the Bruins.
Respected national columnists went on the record to say that they've never seen such ridiculous venom from another fanbase than the Canucks in a finals. Adam Proteau from The Hockey News said the same thing on his weekly radio show last week.
Even other NHL players attached their names to quotes stating they would rather see any team win but the Canucks.
Canucks writers became full-blown, disillusioned cheerleader propaganda tools over the last couple weeks.
Will the Canucks ever win the cup?
Any sense of fair coverage or honest reporting went out the window the seconds the puck dropped in Game 1.
After two games, the sense around Vancouver was one of euphoria. Stanley Cup parade routes were being planned, Luongo was being praised as a hero and the only remaining question seemed to be "in how many games?"
Not so fast, my friends.
You can't expect to win the cup when you get blown out three times on the road. You can't expect to win the cup when you can only muster eight goals in the series. And you definitely can't expect the cup when you've never won it before.
Yet, that's what the Canucks writers and fans did. They thought they were on a one-way track to the promised land. Winning was never in doubt.
After Game 5, Luongo smacked his stick on the ice in a way that said, "take that fans." He never got any respect from his beloved Vancouver faithful despite bringing them to the brink of a championship.
What kind of fans cheer the pulling of their starting goalie after getting pulled anyway?
Now it should be stated that not all Canucks fans should be painted with the same broad brush. I have many, many friends that bleed Orca blood, but the smaller minority emphatically overshadow the rest.
If the finger should be pointed at anyone, it should be the guys who disappeared in the finals.
Henrik Sedin came out after Game 6 and said that they will win the cup. The day of the game he backpedaled from those comments and lacked the kind of leadership you want from your best players.
Combined, Henrik, Daniel and Kesler have two goals and four assists in the series.
That is failure on an epic level.
Simply put, the Vancouver Canucks did what they do best.
In an article I wrote last week, two-thirds of respondents said Vancouver would choke and it seems like those people knew Vancouver better than most.
As the President's Trophy winners, a 2-0 and 3-2 series lead and home-ice advantage for Game 7, they folded like a lawn chair and laid a monumental egg in the biggest game of their collective lives.
The trash talk is over. There won't be any spin control coming from the Vancouver media members come Thursday morning.
This shindig is over, and they have all summer to wonder what could have been.
Chalk this Game 7 performance up with the rest of failed attempts of glory. It doesn't seem to matter how many good things go right for Vancouver—they continue to invent new ways to lose.
In the end, no one is going to feel sorry for them or their minority of classless fans—another gut-wrenching Game 7 choke-job is exactly what they deserve.
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