YOU would think as a lifelong Canucks fan I would be pretty excited about their return to the Stanley Cup Final. Not even close. The best word I can use to describe my feelings is apprehensive.
Why? Canucks fans know why. It is who we are. It is what we do. We never fully believe. The team we love has never really given us much reason to believe. And the one time they really came close, we were left heartbroken.
Though it was through no fault of their own. Heroes were immortalized, victories are still celebrated. But, somehow, they did not win. They were every bit as good as their opponents. Yet somehow the enemy won, while the Canucks, and their fans, got nothing.
I’m of course talking about the 1994 Stanley Cup final. Trevor Linden’s legendary leadership. Kirk McLean’s out-of-this-world goaltending. Greg Adams’ overtime magic. Pavel Bure’s missed penalty shot. Nathan Lafayette’s goal post late in the third period. Mark Messier hoisting the Stanley Cup.
To lose in game 7, after coming oh-so close, was a devastating feeling. A feeling so devastating I still feel it to this day.
And that’s what I’m afraid of here in 2011. To have another close series, that goes down to the wire.
It would not surprise me at all if we see a game 7. It would not surprise me to see it go deep into the third period before a winner can be seen. One side or the other will suffer a heartbreaking defeat.
As much as I wanted Trevor Linden, Kirk McLean, Pavel Bure and the boys to lift that Stanley Cup back in 1994, I can honestly I would not change a thing now in hindsight. In some strange way that defeat will always be one of the greatest moments in hockey for me personally, heartache and all.
In fact, it is that heartache that maybe has made it so special. It turned me into a more rabid hockey fan than ever before.
But I do not know that I can take that heartache again. A defeat will be hard to take, and will somehow change me again. Yet at the same time, I have this strange feeling that a long awaited Stanley Cup victory will also likely change me as a hockey fan in some unknown way.
I will have to wait and see what long term impact this series will have on me, but I am absolutely certain my love of hockey will somehow undergo a transformation somehow.
Maybe that’s why I am apprehensive as we drop the puck for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.