<table border=0 align=center width=80%><tr><td><img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2007/09/macri_headshot.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>As far as life lessons go, I’ve learned next to none.
It’s actually remarkable how little I’ve absorbed over the years; the cheat code for 30 lives in Nintendo’s Contra, the lyrics to every Spice Girls song except for ‘2 Become 1’, and an intimate knowledge of Thermoeconomic theory are really the only things I can claim to “know.”
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/09/sep0808_ryan_t.jpg border=0 align=right vspace=1 hspace=4></a>Actually, I’ve also come to realize that there exists a very intense associative condition that is triggered when one experiences something for the first time. For example, one might forever associate a particular place with a particular smell, or a person with a specific song. As an aside, I, to this day, associate the very tender and intimate act of kissing with the bloody and haunting sounds of the D-Day invasion during World War II. I wish it was a joke, but on my very first first date years ago, I thought it would be a prudent gesture to end the night with the most romantic movie ever committed to film: Saving Private Ryan. As my date counter-intuitively leaned in for a taste of what was probably a delicate bouquet of garlic prawns and watermelon Hubba Bubba, I became acutely aware (just as I’ve just become acutely aware that this is a hockey blog...hold on, I promise this is going somewhere) that the evening’s soundtrack was the blood-curdling screams of one of the bloodiest battles of the 20th century. Feeling for the first time what I would later term “embarrashame”, things didn’t get any better when my date brought the activities to the next level (Read: French Style. Also Read: saying things like “French Style” is why I currently live in what is referred to as a “bachelor” apartment and regularly cry myself to sleep to the aroma of pumpkin pie-scented Yankee candles and despair).
I make a similar type of association with the Canucks every off-season (see? I told you I’d get there). The first year I really remember being aware of the Canucks’ activities in the Summer months was when the team landed its first, and possibly only, big-name free agent - Mark Messier. At the time, I had no idea that such a transaction would later lead to my burning hatred of Lays potato chips and Cold-fX, I just came away with the impression that the Summer off-season is a time when you wear a bathing suit as underwear and your hockey team picks up future Hall of Famers at will. I suppose that it’s fair to say that every off-season since has existed in relation to that one, and that such a fact is probably responsible for both my facial ticks and my unending struggle in an ocean of sadness.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2008/07/070108_sundin01_t.jpg border=0 align=left vspace=1 hspace=4>Despite many disappointing off-seasons in which I expected the Canucks to sign each and every highly-sought-after free agent only to be rewarded with the likes of Trevor Letowski’s syphilitic younger brother, Philip, I always find myself suffering with expectations every July 1st. This year was no different: Marian Hossa was, of course, destined to be in Vancouver, and, despite his proclamation that he would only play in his native United States, Brian Rolston would come to realize that his best option was lining up alongside the Sedins. I can at least claim that I never entertained the notion that Mats Sundin was even a possibility - I have my limits, after all. But as Mike Gillis offered up a small mint and rumours of Sundin-sightings engulfed the city, I found myself once again being swept up in the winds of hope, convincing myself that Mats would overlook the extensive travel associated with playing in Vancouver and sign on the dotted line.
Given the recent history of off-seasons in Vancouver, I should probably resign myself to the fact that, in all likelihood, Sundin won’t be lacing up the skates in this city any time soon. Unfortunately, somewhere in the dark recesses of mind exists a vague impression of a future Hall-of-Famer pulling the Canucks’ jersey over his bald head. Funny, there’s that blood-curdling scream again...</td></tr></table>