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?