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What's Done Is Done: Bring On 2012.


Ralph.

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So, the Canucks have put out their new wallpaper for October, as many of you know. If you haven't seen it, take a look:

1112-WEB-227704-Desktop-Wallpaper-October-1920x1050.jpg

Now, look to the right and you'll see Ryan Kesler, as brought to CDC's attention by "Crazy'nucksFan" in Canucks Talk. Now, this may be a reference to Kesler's signature habit of "Keslurking," but then again, he's not wearing any shades, nor is he sporting John Garrett's old mask while creeping on Garrett and Shorthouse, as they try to hold back their smirks. There's nothing goofy like that, and that's what caught my attention the most.

Look as his face. He's got his game face on, and he's all business. Looking at him in this wallpaper made me realize that my mind refuses to accept the Stanley Cup Finals as it stands, and it still hurts. That damn Stanley Cup Finals patch... As a fan of a team who's top players still get called "The Sisters" by some, even after back to back Art Ross winning seasons; A team home to a city that went insane after Bieksa sent the Sharks packing in the Western Conference Final for the first time in 17 years; and a team full of players I've loved watching my whole life... Seeing that little patch just kills, knowing what it's come to represent.

I'm not saying the Bruins didn't deserve to win, because in all honesty, they did. They have their own story, their own passion, and their own determination to win, and they turned their dreams into a reality...

On our home ice.

What the patch means to me is it represents a season where the team finally became a winning team, without actually winning what matters. Had they stayed healthy, I believe they definitely could have beaten the Big Bad Bruins. Not that Boston wasn't a very worthy opponent, but you just can't deny all the skill this team has. People want to say the Canucks weren't tough? Tell that to Ryan Kesler's hip, Manny Malhotra's eye, and the many other players who played despite significant injuries. Kesler and Henrik Sedin essentially single handedly defeated the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks, respectively. Nobody can say that the two would could combine for zero points and a -6 in a game for the Stanley cup unless their capabilities were very significantly hindered. Not that the team claimed an excuse, but some slack needs to be cut. It was an incredibly emotional post-season to be a Canucks fan, and the whole time everyone I knew kept themselves in check and not getting ahead of themselves.

Alex Burrows swats down a puck and slays the dragon in an instant.

"They haven't won the cup yet."

Daniel Sedin's PPG stands as the Game 6 and series clinching winner against Nashville.

"They haven't won the cup yet. They've won nothing until Henrik lifts the Stanley Cup over his head."

Kevin Bieksa astonishes everyone as he discovers the puck and throws it past Antti Niemi out of nowhere in overtime to send the Canucks to their first Stanley Cup Final since Greg Adams in 1994.

"They haven't won the cup yet. They've won nothing until Henrik lifts the Stanley Cup over his head as the Canucks parade down Robson Street."

I'm attending my first Canucks game tomorrow, and I can already tell it's going to have such a surreal feeling. I'll recognize every square inch of the arena I've spent so much time seeing it on TV. I'll look to my right and see the Canucks's blue line and all that'll pop into my head is, "That's where Bieksa scored that goal." Further to my right I'll see Vancouver's end-boards and think, "That's where the celebrations should have been on June 15th." And lastly, I'll look at my Canucks' bench and think, "That's where some of my heroes physically couldn't hold back tears, because something so personally tragic occurred to them, despite devoting their whole lives this this game and giving it everything that had, and then some."

But it will hurt just the same, seeing it in person as it did on TV. It was the chance they had to silence all the critics, but just couldn't beat the inhuman Tim Thomas. Lots of people still blame Luongo, but it's a team game win or lose. In the three games the team won in that series, Luongo was as solid as anybody.There was such a complex combination of factors that led to the crumbling of the team, and when you watch your team play with such desperation and still come up short, after being so unstoppable all season long, it's not the easiest pill to swallow. The Art Ross, the Hart, the Selke, the President's Trophy It all means nothing.

But Kesler's expression leave's more than that.

What it leaves is hope. You can feel exactly what he's feeling. He knew that if his team had won, everything he worked for his entire life would have finally paid off. If it didn't, he would have to face heartbreak and another season just to get a sniff at seeing his name etched in that silver. Obviously Game 7 hadn't ended yet, but his intensity and compete level is there. "The most Canadian American in the game." He has the drive and passion to get back there, and it's infectious among teammates and fans alike. We all know the Canucks are getting back into the playoffs this year, likely with their fourth consecutive division title. Let's not kid ourselves. But that doesn't matter. What matters is the 16 wins they need to get after Game #82. He and the rest of the team know what they have to do to be prepared to get back to the big show in 2012, and I think they'll get there. They've all been there once now, and they're hungrier to win than ever. If they do win it all this season, what that patch represents will be changed entirely. It will not longer represent what was arguably the most heartbreaking season in Canucks history, but the last bit of hunger it brought that the team needed to gain before they were starving enough to say, "Enough is enough. We're taking home the cup now, and nobody is stopping us."

Bring on 2012.

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