The Canucks did what??

The 2006/07 hockey season (NHL) just got under way and I placidly expected the Vancouver Canucks to be bottom feeders all summer after trading away Bertuzzi, Allen and a draft pick to Florida for an uninspiring Roberto Luongo and Krajicek. I know Luongo's always gotten high ratings from scouts, including a berth as an alternate goalie for Canada's Olympic squad in Torino -- an honour I thought he couldn't possibly deserve given the way he played any time I saw a Florida game (and without excessive spending on Pay-Per-View and satellite channels, that wasn't much).

So they go to "the Joe", home of the Detroit Red Wings and, come playoff time, dead octopuses, to meet the many-time President's Trophy winners in their opener and I thought, natch, they're going to lose, badly and embarassingly.

And I was prepared not to care very much -- the local lads in the WHL, the Vancouver Giants, were so very satisfying to watch after the Canucks failure to make it to the post-season, that I thought I could get my "fix" of hockey in some other way. Here in Canada, hockey is big, almost like soccer is in England, or rugby in New Zealand, or like basketball in inner-city USA. I'm embarassed to say how much I enjoy seeing a good hockey game, regardless of the teams -- but there's something about the home squad doing well. It just sort of gives you a lift.

So imagine how much I enjoyed driving home with the 3rd period commentary on Vancouver holding a 3-1 lead! (something they haven't been able to do with any team for three years or so) And succeeding! It almost made how light the traffic was between 5:45 and 6:30 unnoticeable (maybe everyone had gone home early to see the game? it sure was light...),

And they won. Very confidently. Go figure. And held Detroit of all teams, to zero goals on nine powerplay attempts? Who are these guys? Same team, new vitamins I guess... Or perhaps Nonis (the General Manager -- in hockey a different individual than the coach most often) knows more about hockey than we all thought he did.

I'll still probably never get to more than one game in five years but it'll be more fun to drive home hearing about a winner on the ice. Can they do it again in Columbus tonight? 23h30 GMT will tell...

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