Lucky Breaks

In 1994, I remember watching the Canucks’ improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in the basement of my parents’ house. My recently-blended family was arrayed on couches, and I sat on the floor, my back against the coffee table. I wanted to be as close to the television as possible.

It was a thrilling run. I remember how my girlfriend was dismayed by how Felix Potvin collapsed into his net after Greg Adams’ series-ending goal against Toronto. I remember how Trevor Linden put the team on his back in the final game against New York, scoring two goals and hitting everything on the ice, despite having cracked ribs. I remember Nathan LaFayette, a fringe player who only had 187 games in the NHL, hitting the post late in game 7 against the Rangers. So close.

I was in Vancouver for the 1982 run, and I probably witnessed some of it. I don’t remember it, though, as I was only eight years old. Cut me some slack.

At the start of the year, I said that, on paper, this is the best team the city has ever had. They played the regular season like that, and, despite some confidence problems, have looked good in the playoffs.

For the past week weeks, I’ve also been saying that the Canucks deserved a few lucky breaks. Their opponents seem to have fortune on their side, with dubious goals scored from behind the net or when Luongo is out of position. But Vancouver didn’t seem to be getting the easy goals. Until last night.

Last night, the break came when Alex Edler’s dump-in took a bizarre carom off a stanchion and bounced at a 90-degree angle toward Kevin Bieksa. Bieksa, apparently the only person in the building who saw the puck, fired a worm-burner of a shot that beat the perplexed San Jose goaltender.

And so, with that lucky break, they’re off to the Finals. I’m hardly an objective observer, but I like their chances. And so does Sky.Net, I mean, NHL 2011.

Do you remember where you were during the 1994 playoff run?


  1. Coming back from an 11 month long trip around the world on a tall ship — the Class Afloat program.

    We watched the final game(s) in Puerto Vaillarta and San Diego, the two last stops before disembarking in San Francisco.

    Mexican bars and hockey are a strange mix.

  2. The goalies do get the worse of it… I always feel so sad for them. Even when Vancouver won last night, which was super cool, it seemed so unfair that the San Jose goaltender didn’t even see it, didn’t even get a chance to try to stop it… sigh. Poor goalies.

    1. @ Meghan

      The goalies do, indeed, get the worst of it. As Jacques Plante once said, “How would you like a job where every time you made a mistake a red light went on and 20,000 people booed.”

      1. That’s a great quote – totally, right? Such a hard job. No wonder they need to have their heads rubbed so much.

  3. I missed the 1994 Cup run as I was overseas (and there was no hockey broadcasts, period). I was at Game 4 of the 1982 Cup finals and saw the team defeated and the Cup awarded…though I was too young to appreciate the significance!

  4. Living in Ottawa with no TV or radio. Missed the whole OJ thing too and also that thing with Nancy Kerrigan or whatever her name was.

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