<table width=80% align=center border=0><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/henderson_headshot.jpg align=left hspace=4>I’m going to suggest that everyone take a pill. Considering the level of utter hysteria that must be building out there in the streets, on the call-in shows and in the media, I am recommending it be prescribed in jumbo-sized suppository form.
Yesterday I was in the middle of a run when I got caught in that spectacular hailstorm. Pelted from every angle by icy missiles, I laughingly thought to myself “this must be what it feels like to be Roberto Luongo”.
Relax, you crazy bandwagonners, and take a gander at the big picture. After 38 years I can tell you, being a Canucks fan is not a sprint. It’s not even an ironman. Most of the time, it’s the Badwater Ultramarathon, that most grueling 135 mile footrace through the summer heat of Death Valley. You simply must pace yourselves in order to survive.
In 2006 the team narrowly missed the playoffs and pretty much threw out the baby, the bathwater and the bathtub. Here we are, a scant two years later, with systems changes and personnel changes and we haven’t moved one iota. One wonders what all the desperate upheaval was for, considering how far it got us.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR0608_CanuckPractice11_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Last week all the media outlets were positive we would make the playoffs, which was baffling to me. We apparently needed wins in six out of nine games to clinch for sure - in games against divisional rivals who were fighting for their playoff lives and/or superior playoff positioning. Nothing about that spelled shoo-in to me.
Personally, I am amazed at how the Canucks have fought through this season of incredible, devastating injuries to key players, to still be alive in the playoff hunt. Now with Mo done for the season and Roberto off to the delivery room to welcome into the world Canada’s great hope for Olympic gold in women’s hockey in the 2030 Winter Games, we are staring down a pretty grim stretch. On the other hand, when the key blueliners were decimated earlier in the season, and all hope was lost, the lads rose to the challenge. Contrary to popular belief, I think the team has a lot of heart.
And frankly, Roberto has been so morose lately, most of the season actually, and not terribly sharp in net. It wouldn’t surprise me if he has already asked management for a trade. His absence may actually focus the troops – the bambina-watch has surely been a bit of a distraction. This morning I was jokingly suggesting a straight-up swap with Tampa Bay for Vinny Lecavalier, which would deposit Louie happily back in the Sunshine State and get us that longed-for superskilled Canadian power centre.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/03/MAR2108_Canucks-Wild06_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4></a>But seriously folks, a refreshed and happy Daddy Lou may not even miss a game, Edmonton and Nashville may go into even worse tailspins than we have, and we may yet stagger in at eighth place – the one spot where I thought we might actually make a series of it in the first round. Seeing as these are most likely the last games I will ever see Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund wearing Canucks jerseys, I want to savour the memories and enjoy. I hope both of them take the opportunity to do the same. So many years of great hockey deserve a loving send-off.
Drink fluids, regulate your breathing, don’t cramp up, pace yourselves, and keep focusing on the dream, people. All in a season’s work for the true Canucks fan.