Tag Archives: hockey

Suck it Up, Buttercup: The Road to the Cup

As the saying goes, life’s tough — get a helmet.
The omigod-I’m-bagged feeling I had last Monday sure as hell hasn’t improved this week. Let me tell you, people, if you’re a hockey fan and the Stanley Cup playoffs hits your town, you will feel like shit by the time the playoffs are over.
Drinking, eating badly, and falling off one’s routine has never been so easy as it is right now. Praise be, we’re at least half-way through the final series. The two-plus month road is nearly at an end.
This morning, it’s evident I’m closer to 40 than I’d like to be. I call it “Stanleycupitis.” It hurts here, and here, and here, Doc.
Tonight, I’ll eat better. I won’t get the sleep I want, what with a 5am wakeup call for yet another early game day. But THIS IS WHAT WE LIVE FOR, like the Canucks’ team signage says this year. We want the Cup.
If the players can make it through, I can toughen up on rigours imposed by a gruelling playoff diet of booze and pizza.
Oh, Lord Stanley’s Cup: The double-edged sword you wield.
Given my back injury’s nowhere near where it needs to be for the longterm, I have not yet celebrated with the masses downtown. Tomorrow, I may. Depends on the back, of course. Something about crowding with thousands and thousands of easily-excitable people on city streets is a little unsettling for me, even now.
Between the playoffs, having to start work at 7am just to fit in treatment sessions on my back, struggling to keep my place in not-a-crackden status (but not doing too well at that), I’m reaching the end of my ever-aging fuse.
I’m not alone, of course. A lot of my friends are trying to fit life in with epic hockey that’s become don’t-miss-a-minute kinda gameplay. (Well, when an overtime-producing goal happens at 13 seconds remaining in regulation, or a game-winning sudden-death goal hits the net 10 seconds into overtime two games later, would YOU want to miss a minute? Not me.)
They’ll tell you that the Stanley Cup is incredible for the local economy, but I propose that any advantage the local economy’s experienced through the cash-happy hockey fan’s overzealous spending of late has been directly countered by productivity losses in all offices as employees buzz with “We’ve waited our whole lives to win hockey’s Holy Grail!” energy every day, with more hangovers per capita over a longer period than even the Olympics could’ve induced.
We Vancouverites are hanging on by a thin-but-happy thread.
Usually, we’re celebrating victories but today we’re lamenting the worst game of all the series so far. An 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Beantown’s Carebears certainly took the swagger out of the Canucks’ game.
Secretly, people like me are happy. Good, Game 5 is when we’ll win the kit and the kaboodle. We’ll take it all, baby! And, on a Friday night, at home, with sunny weather, and the whole weekend to celebrate and recover.
Yep. Let’s do THAT.
I remember that game in Vancouver’s ’94 Cup-run, against Toronto or Dallas, I don’t remember — someone whose asses we thoroughly kicked as we made our way to the Finals with New York. Some 40 gloves were littered from end-to-end on that ice, with so much penalty time handed out you needed a calculator just to get a tally of it all.
I don’t remember the score then, I don’t remember the next game’s score either, but I remember the buzz around it, and I can’t wait to see how Vancouver responds on Wednesday.
The hangovers, the antacids, the ass-dragging, the time-crunch, the flagging energy, the death-defying schedule juggling — THIS IS WHAT WE LIVE FOR. This is what the Stanley Cup does to you.
This isn’t no dinky football final where they play one game, and whoop, there it is, you have a victor. This is an all-out, bone-crunching, bruising, gasping best-of-7 fight through the injured-reserve list victory, baby. The winner’s gotta make it happen four times JUST THIS SERIES alone! Never mind the other three series nor the oodles of overtime played.
Two months, man! I hurt, and I’m tired, and I’m fed up.
But I’m not gonna miss a goddamned minute.
Because, really, this is what we live for.
Today, this week. The Stanley Cup hasn’t been held by a Canadian team since 1993. Vancouver has never owned the Cup.
But this year we will.
And I won’t have missed a minute.
Make my coffee a double. Maybe a triple. And get me a bigger piece of thread to hang onto, buddy. 31 hours to Game 4. I’ll be glued to it. You?


Photo: Canadian Press. Baby Sign: No idea–bouncing around Facebook for a few weeks now, anonymously.
Not-so-Confidential To Boston Fans:
After last night’s game, you don’t get to whine about “dirty” play. Enjoy losing the series, Beantown.

The Week That Was: A Round-Up

What a week. I’m just finishing up some coffee, then I’m dragging my tired ass into work.

My seat in the arena might've been the nosebleeds, but it was fun to be above everything. Loved it. Great view.

A lot of changes coming for me. I’ll share one day. Not today. But life is settling down. It feels like the end of a long road. Not quite there yet, but getting there.
I got to see the Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals in hockey. The Canucks smoked the San Jose Sharks. It was one of the most enthralling sports experiences I’ve ever been present for.
17 years to the day that Greg Adams scored a double-overtime sudden-death game-winning goal, sending Vancouver’s Canucks to the Stanley Cup finals against the New York Rangers, our Kevin Bieksa scored his double-overtime sudden-death game-winning goal. Now Vancouver’s waiting on word of our next meal, in the Stanley Cup Finals: Boston or Tampa.
17 years. Wow.
I just made a mental list of the world of experiences I’ve gone through in those years. It’s an interesting week to take stock of where I am and where I’ve been. Where I’d like to go.
It’s an exciting time, both for me and for my city.

The Queen Is Retired, Long Live the Queen

And Oprah’s over. A lifetime of learning from her show — mock me if you will. I think there’s a few Oprahs, given the variety of topics she’s handled over the years, but I think Oprah’s social efforts make her one of the greatest people of modern times.
Whether it’s the thousands of scholarships she’s given out, the work she’s done to protect kids from sexual abuse, her advancement of gay rights, celebration of the arts, her involvement with education on all levels… well, there’s not many people in this world who’ve truly put their money where their mouth is, but Oprah has.
Oprah has meant a lot to me over the years. There have been times when I’ve been home in the afternoon, lost or sad or pensive, and just happened to turn on Oprah and there she was, talking about something that I could use to have more insight into my own predicaments.
So many times have I watched her show and had something to write about, whether it was Oprah-centric or some six-degrees topic that’s inspired by some aspect of a conversation she’s had.
I’ll miss her wealth of fodder for writing. I really will.
And I will miss the constant of that show being in my life.
Judge me if you like, but I’m an Oprah fan and I don’t apologize for it. This week, I’m sad to see her leave.

Rant-Be-Gone: Social Media

I wrote a rant about Twitter last week, under the guise of it being social media tips. I stand by a lot of it, but some was over-the-top. I’ve taken it down. I’ll rework it sometime.
I’m getting a little burned out on social media. I began what I do so I could have a voice. I like the portal. There gets to be a time when one feels like others think they’re entitled to a piece of you. Replying feels like work. Engaging feels like just another strain on a day.
It reflects the extent to which I feel like life demands my attention right now. It’s been a long and tiresome road, not just for myself but for others this year. Social media’s sort of that outlet place where we get to “say” things… but the larger our audience, the more inclination there is for us to be held to task by someone who perceives X situation in Y light.
The balance gets difficult. Maybe I don’t want that debate with you. Maybe I get to choose what absorbs my time. People forget there’s two sides to social media. What we say, and what we don’t.
Unfortunately, you’re mostly judged via what you said in the last 5 minutes.
Man, there are days when giving everything up to take that remote home on the coast, that I’d love to live in within five years, seems like it can’t come soon enough.
There are days when having an outlet doesn’t seem to be enough of a reward to deal with what that social media produces in response.
Fortunately, there are better days, too, when it all makes sense.
Right now, I’m not getting a lot out of being on social media. Instead, I feel like a rat on the wheel of life. It’s work, working out, hockey, work, working out, hockey. Even social media feels like work.
These days, saying less online means having fewer replies, which means it’s less work, which means I’ll recharge sooner.
This is how the thinking goes.

When Being A Couch Potato is an Improvement

I’ve sat on my sofa two days in a row. Last Monday was the first time I’d sat on my sofa in two months, thanks to that horrible back injury I had back in March.
This means things are improving.
It’ll be a while yet before I get the pacing of life under control, but I think I’m on the verge of having a less scattered lifescape before me. May has been far better than April. April was better than March. I believe June will be far better than May.
When it comes to writing, et al, I have things to say, but I don’t have the time, or energy, for saying them.
I may be tired, bone-tired, but I like life’s trajectory. Working hard is better when it’s getting you somewhere.


And that, friends, is the week that was.
Have a fantastic weekend.

Confessions of (Not) a Bandwagoner

Here we go: playoffs, baby.
I actually love playoff hockey. There’s nothing more fast-paced and exciting than when your team starts doing well in the post-season. The spring of ’94 was one of the most exciting times of my life, when this town went on the playoff run with the Rangers. Man, was that some kinda hockey.
And maybe the Olympics were a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but so’s a Stanley Cup Playoff Run in Vancouver, and, for me, the playoffs are a bigger, happier, more awesome memory for me than the Olympics. It was unexpected, it was for us and no one else.
This year is the first time I’ve watched almost none of a season. I can’t believe it. Feels so odd to not be into watching sports all winter anymore. But there you have it.
But don’t let that fool you. I want the Canucks to go all the way. I want them to play inspired, to get hurt and come back from it every single game. I want little Vancouver boys and girls watching and later playing street hockey with all their favourite team players’ names taped on their backs.
I want the streets to open up and bleed maple-flavoured hockey blood, man. I want a choir of angels harmonizing “Hallelujah” behind Stompin’ Tom belting out The Good Old Hockey Game while an arena stomps along.
YET I didn’t watch the regular season.
Some yahoos on Twitter last night are exactly the kinds of asshole fans that kind of turned me off of watching day-in, day-out. Some are saying Bushisms like “You’re either with us or against us!” and calling people tuning into the playoffs “bandwagoners”.
Those dickheads make it seem like THEY did what these 26 guys accomplished on the ice. Um, no, they’ve done nothing but swill beer and mouth off at their TV — those 26 teammates have bled and ached for the game.  They’ve been well-paid to do so, yes, but they’ve bled and ached and trained.
So, I’m here to tell you the real reason I don’t watch the full season of hockey anymore.
From 1991 to 2004, I probably watched or listened to 80% of ALL the Canucks games that were broadcast. I was a fan girl, baby. I didn’t miss a MINUTE of the spring of 1994. I was managing a photo lab and on game nights when I was working, you could hear the game in the mall corridor, filtering from my back lab, where it would be blasting.
When the team started sucking again, I stuck with them. When a new empire began with Bertuzzi and Naslund and Mo, I was  in love with that hard-hitting great-shootin’ team.
2003-2004 was The Year It Changed for me, in more ways than one. The hockey season was all right, sorta phoned it in with a tendency to start slow and win late, and the playoffs sucked. It was game 7, series 1, against the Minnesota Wild. Dominating the first 3 games, they lost the next four, and the Wild took the series. I was the fool with the hope they could undo the falling-apartness and actually WENT to Game 7 live.
You know, the infamous game where Captain Markus Naslund later confessed the team “choked”? It wasn’t their first post-season choking, it was just the most offensive occurrence of recent years. THE FUCKING MINNESOTA WILD!
I stayed until the end of the game, because that is what a FAN does. I don’t leave early, it’s disrespectful.
And then some asshole threw a lidded beer from higher up, and missed the ice by a mile — hitting me in the head, exploding all over me.
That was it. I was done.
And it coincided with the Lost Year, thanks to the NHL strike — which caused me to loathe the pettiness of both players and owners. With no hockey available, I learned there WAS life after hockey. Holy toledo.
I got out of the habit of watching, and I liked being out of the habit. I found it harder to focus on pro sports anyhow, having had a head injury during the year of the strike, and not trying to watch made more sense.
When fans are rabid and love their teams and support them, and in losses suck it up, grumble a bit, but know that’s how it rolls, they’re great.
It’s the dickheads with the us-versus-them, take-it-all attitude that boo opposing teams’ anthems, pitch beers when they’re unhappy, get argumentative, etc who turn folks like me off.
Year-round? Well, I find the “fans” who insult and belittle the team for a loss after 4 wins turn me off too.
When the team’s playing hard, showing up, like the Canucks have all year, then that’s all a fan can ask. Sometimes I think Vancouver fans ask too much, and I grew tired of being in the mix. I needed a break.
So, am I a bandwagoner? Nah. I’m a fan who’s watched them for much of 25+ years. I’m a fan who doesn’t like having to commit to watching sports anymore. Not right now. I’m a fan, I’m just not an observer.
I was bantering with a friend in email last night, who surprised me when she said she was watching, and confessed she only watches playoffs, so I asked her about whether she thinks she’s a bandwagoner. Her reply?

To appease their taunts of “bandwagoner!”, I tell them I’m not a fan of hockey, I’m a fan of fans, and fans are really fun this time of year! 😉

I have to agree. Some fans are HILARIOUS and just so much fun at this time of year, and I love the energy they bring to the city — those with shrines on their work desks, hockey flags, a schedule for washing/wearing their jersey — they crack me up and are everything a fan should be.
Know what I want this year? Average fans who can handle the playoffs WIN OR LOSE. Fans who respect the effort, who don’t become assholes if it should go awry, who understand there is no US OR THEM in Vancouver — this is VANCOUVER. We’re in it together, but not everyone’s addicted to hockey. It’s not a CHARACTER flaw. It’s like chocolate versus vanilla — you like what you like.
But mostly, I want the Canucks team to put it all on the line, hit any motherfucker with the balls to touch a puck, pass clean, hit fair but HARD, make fast changes, listen for their linemates, remember how much their fans have stuck with them over the decades, do what the coach says, and fuckin’ WIN.
That’s what I really want. This town would be wild after a Stanley Cup.
Maybe that’ll make me fall in love with regular season again. Who knows. Or maybe I’ll just keep hockey as a Canadian rite of spring.
Either way: Bring us the Cup.