SHE never liked it when the Canucks played the Blackhawks.
That’s my fault. During the epic seven game showdown between Vancouver and Chicago in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs I got too emotionally involved. With every scoring chance, with every big hit and with every big goal I invested myself into the Canucks to the point where I exhausted myself and down right scared my girlfriend, her kids, and her dog.
It forced me to look at how seriously I take the game of hockey. I went into a long period of self reflection. How could I take this silly game that seriously? Is it really worth it?
Despite making what most people would consider to be a complete fool of myself, she always stood by me. No matter how scared or concerned she was, no matter how hard it was for her to understand, she always hung around to make sure I was okay. And when Alex Burrows scored the dramatic winning goal in overtime of game seven, she was right there with me, happy that it was over.
I’m talking about the dog.
Don’t get me wrong. My girlfriend and the kids have trouble understanding it all as well, and they are all still beside me, too. Though usually they leave me to my own devices to watch the big hockey matches. The dog, no mattered how spooked by my behavior, loyally stood by.
“Tip” loved hockey. Well at least she loved hockey pucks. Wintery sojourns to the family cabin on Lakelse Lake were always days to look forward to.
Shinny on the frozen pond was my highlight, and the dog’s too. But she made it difficult for the rest of us to play. She hounded us for that puck as though she were Brad Marchand. And if you lost the puck to her, she quickly grabbed it in her mouth and take it back to the cabin. We learned to bring spare pucks, but she learned to collect them all from us. Soon enough we were skating in circles and with no pucks.
The dog never took much interest in the Canucks or hockey on TV in general. But she had this weird sixth sense whenever Vancouver played Chicago.
Earlier this season the Canucks thumped the Blackhawks by a score of 6-2. All day long she was acting kind of weird. She was really anxious, pacing around, always eyeing me with a drooped head. We could not figure out what was up with her.
But when Jannik Hansen scored to secure the game at 4-2, I loudly voiced my approval. The dog jumped just like she did last playoffs. My girlfriend and I both looked at each other and almost in unison said “she knows it’s the Blackhawks!”
Tip didn’t make it to Wednesday night’s game against the Blackhawks. She died of old age the day before. So as the Canucks played the Blackhawks my heart was not quite in the game the same way.
And maybe that’s a good thing.
Slap Shots – The Blackhawks beat the Canucks by a somewhat misleading score of 5-1. Considering this rivalry is as heated as there is in the league right now, this game was about as friendly as they come. Maybe I wasn’t the only with my heart not into it on this night.
The Canucks never had a single power play in this game. That was the difference maker last time these teams met. The Canucks needed to throw their weight around more and stir up some intensity, force the referees to make some calls. With the Hawks power play still sputtering, the Canucks should have taken their chances trading penalties. The Canucks are playing terribly at 5-on-5.