Opening round closes with Cup-winning feel

The way the Vancouver Canucks celebrated their round-one series win over the Chicago Blackhawks, some would think the Stanley Cup was won after Alex Burrows wired a slapshot past Cory Crawford.

Emanuel Sequeira

Emanuel Sequeira

The way the Vancouver Canucks celebrated their round-one series win over the Chicago Blackhawks, some would think the Stanley Cup was won after Alex Burrows wired a slapshot past Cory Crawford.

The only things missing were the Stanley Cup and beloved NHL commissioner Gary Bettman giving the Cup to captain Henrik Sedin.

“It was so funny. I kind of got that feeling too,” said Tanner Glass when asked if he was thinking they should tone down their celebration. “I feel like we’ve just won something a little more than round-one here.”

There’s a lot of Canucks fans who likely wished it was more than that. A friend of mine noted if hockey followed the same system as English Premiere League soccer, in which the team that finishes at the top the standings at season’s end is crowned the champion, the Canucks would have its first.

I was the calmest I have ever been watching a Canucks playoff game during Game 7. I chose to keep my emotions in check as I didn’t know what to expect. The only time I sounded like a typical Canucks fan (which one of my co-workers hates – you know, the ones that criticize the team harshlywhen they play bad and become disbelievers and then are back to being true believers when all is good) was when Hank decided to pass up on a scoring chance and when Burrows took an unfortunate penalty to put the Canucks on the penalty kill in overtime. When Burrows buried that winner, I was in disbelief and hugged my buddy Bruce. No screaming.

Glass, who played with the Penticton Panthers from 2001-03 and scored 26 goals and collected 79 points in 89 games, said it was a huge relief from an emotional series.

“A big monkey off our back to eliminate those guys,” he said. “They have been a thorn in our side the past couple seasons. Good to knock off the Stanley Cup champs in round one.”

As the Nashville series started, the pressure was removed. That first game had very little emotion or energy in Rogers Arena. The large chess playing area at Cherry Lane Mall has had more intense action.

“It was dead,” said Glass. “It was to be expected coming off an emotional game like the Chicago one. It felt a little bit like just a regular-season game.”

Things picked up in Game 2 and is only going to increase in Game 3, which by the time you read this will be in the books.

The trends that stand out against Nashville is the play of the goalies, especially Pekke Rinne, who has made some incredible saves and the Canucks lack of offence, which is linked to only a few players showing up. Ryan Kesler has been tremendous with his efforts and deserves to hit the scoresheet.

What I’d love to see is an unlikely hero come up clutch. That has always happened in the playoffs. In Game 7, I made a prediction to some friends that Glass would score the winning goal.

A friend said, doesn’t he play on the fourth line? Yeah. The fourth line barely plays he added. Something I also realize, but those are the guys who come to the forefront. When Glass heard this, he laughed.

“We didn’t even see a shift in overtime,” said Glass, who played 8:11 in Game 2. “I would like to help you with that.”

Glass still dreams of that happening. I’m sure it will happen eventually for the Regina native.

Here’s a solution for how the Canucks can get to Rinne. The Canucks should add the Green Men to their lineup as distractions. During the Hotstove on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast of Game 2, the panel talked about how the Green Men have finally reached its peak in bothering NHL players and that the league is now looking into it.

“Apparently, Nashville complained to the NHL, and when we got down to our seats on [Saturday] there was a security guard in the box who sat between us and the player,” said Sully, one half of the Green Men, told the Vancouver Sun. “It’s absolutely ridiculous. We don’t do anything wrong or illegal. We’re on the cover of and they’re using video of us on their website, but we have to tone down what we do. It’s very confusing.”

Seriously Nashville? You guys are bothered by this in the penalty box? The Canucks should consider having the two fans join them on their charter so they can do the same in Nashville.

If and when the Canucks do beat the Predators, what is that celebration going to be like? Is it possible for the Canucks to top their celebration after they finally crack the code in beating Rinne? The answer could lie in having the Green Men join in. How annoying would that be for the Predators?




Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor of the Penticton Western News who is giving two thumbs up to the Green Men.