If I remember correctly, the last and only Canuck playoff game I attended was 10 years ago against the then-powerhouse Colorado Avalanche. It was the first time the local team made the playoffs in the Brian Burke era and I can still remember the electricity inside the building. Nobody cared that the Avs had taken a 2-0 series lead over the Canucks because people were just excited playoff hockey was back. Vancouver lost that game in OT – in fact swept in four by Colorado two nights later – but I witnessed my first “Sedinery” moment, live. The twins combined on a cycle and a no-look pass found a streaking Todd Bertuzzi (Yes, him, but in full gear.) down an open wing. He deked and scored a beauty goal which brought the house down. What made it so special was the crowd rising up to their feet as the play develops, realizing what was about to happen. And when it did, bedlam ensued.
And THAT is why I’m always willing to pay money to attend live sporting events. Like most sports fans, I just crave for those moments where I can tell someone that, “Yes. I was there where so-and-so…….!”
But upon receiving an invite to go to game five of the Western Conference Final between the Sharks and the Canucks, I hesitated for a moment. Not that I didn’t want to go but was surprised that I actually thought about it before accepting. I suppose it had to do with my attitude towards this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. For whatever reason, I decided to stay even keel, especially after that surreal first round series against Chicago. When the Canucks won, I was content. When they lost, I simply shrugged my shoulders & waited for the next game. Sort of like the old British WWII slogan: “Keep calm and carry on.”
Well, so much for that on the day of the game. As time slowly ticked away at work, my anxiety level would increase accordingly. Next thing you know I bolted out the door when it was time to leave and my heart was racing as I drove into downtown.
I met up with Dr. B (THANK YOU!!!) outside the CBC building where someone brought in a life-sized plastic /foam/whatever-the-material shark for display. It garnered a lot of attention as fans lined up to take funny pictures with it. Right next to the shark was the public viewing area the CBC had set up to screen the broadcast and it was 80% filled just an hour before face-off. Numerous street food carts also made their way across the closed-off street to take advantage of the crowd. Dr. B and I grabbed a quick dinner from one of the carts and eventually made our way into Rogers Arena.
As we settled into our seats up in the nose bleeds, the folks sitting around us made their way up the stairs. After one quick look at them, Dr. B & I figured the night would get quite interesting. Reason? Each person was holding 3-4 cups of beer.
Without getting into too much detail, the following, in no particular order, happened as the night went on: One guy wouldn’t stop bragging about the fact he caught Kesler’s game tying goal on his camera; Someone sitting behind Dr. B spilled some beer on him, twice; a mouse the size of a chicken McNugget made a short & sweet appearance in our section; The dude on my left got drunk and started talking gibberish while I tried to watch the game; That same dude (and his friends) all stood up during both OT periods forcing me to do likewise; AND THAT SAME DUDE literally grabbed me by the waist and picked me up to celebrate the winning goal…….Yeah, it was a memorable night alright……..
As for the game…….
Despite the 54-saves performance, I couldn’t get over the fact how poor Luongo looked on those two San Jose goals.
The officiating was a joke and everybody in the building made sure the referees knew how we felt.
I might have witnessed the most dominating playoff performance by the Sedins, to date.
I don’t think I’ve ever screamed as loud or jumped so much like an idiot as when Kesler tied the game. That was until Bieska scored.
The game winning goal was still a blur to me. All I remember was: 1, A bunch of people behind the net; 2, The puck went missing; 3, Bieska winding up and 4, Seeing the puck in the net & everyone inside the building going nuts.
I’m not sure if there’s anything more I can describe about this game given the context and how it unfolded at the end. Suffice to say I’ll be hard pressed to find another one that’s as dramatic and memorable as this one.