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They Key To Succeeding


Gino Odjick

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A President's trophy. Suddenly, an embarrassing exit at the hands of an 8th seeded team. All in a quick jolt, the ride is over. What was lacking? Some try to break it down to many things, examining each area of the Vancouver team meticulously, going through the roster player by player. But is it possible to say that this team is lacking ONE thing? Through much conversation, I believe so. That one thing?

P A S S I O N.

It seems so simple and trite. Even the suggestion comes across as insulting. To be honest, the one word assessment can be very passive and ambiguous. Half of us live our whole lives to never really realize what passion is. I'm not going to give you the definition of the word because I'd be insulting anybody who has real passion. For those of you lucky enough to find passion towards something or someone, you'll know that you can't put any combination of words together to form a sentence or sentences that aptly describe all of the subtle and expansive emotional detail that is tied to that thing, place, goal, person or dream. There are certain people who walk among the normal human population that possess a certain amount of heightened passion. You can see it and hear it. They live and breathe for their passion. It consumes them.

Certainly, one could see the passion in last year's Canuck team. The team that made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. They had passion, determination, grit. You're free to choose whatever buzzword you want. Toss 'er into the mix. They lost to a team that had more passion. Now, I know what you're thinking. "He's talking about degrees of passion now? Can I get back to my burrito?" Sure, take a bite of your burrito. But keep reading because I gotta get this out.

This year's playoffs haven't been decided but I've noticed what many people already have. That is to say, we all noticed how the Vancouver/L.A. series was the most boring, lackluster, passionless series. We all noticed the determination and excitement of the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia tilt. For better or for worse, things got nasty in the world of hockey when these teams went head to head. Personally, I think it was for the better. It made for a more compelling and dramatic experience. I don't like either team but my eyes were glued to each game like they were page turning chapters in a novel - I had to find out what happened next. Seeing those two teams, I decided that the team who prevailed would win the cup. I expect nothing less of Philadelphia now.

To be honest, it's what pushes every cup winner to prevail. Passion can drive men to extreme and desperate lengths. They'll do anything in the heat of passion and to obtain that desired goal. People talk about class and respect. Class and respect can take a back seat when I see the other team holding the Stanley Cup or when I see our boys hitting the fairway in late April. Sometimes the high road is the loneliest road. This is hockey, not ethics class.

I have one concern about our Vancouver Canucks right now and it isn't about the noise levels in Roger's Arena, Luongo's psychological state, Kelser, the Sedins or Mason Raymond. It's about our entire franchise. Do they have what it takes? Do they have the passion?

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