Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Whoa Canada Woe

It's the annual handwringing time of the playoffs by Canadian (and even American!) media. "Our" (hack! cough!) last Canadian-based NHL team has been knocked out. Another year without the Stanley Cup coming to Canada. Cry me a Fraser River.

I'm confused. I live in Canada. I have a local NHL team that has "Canadian" rivals even within the Vancouver Canucks' own division. Why would any Canuck fan ever cheer on their divisional rivals just because of some border? Would I ever want the Calgary Flames or Edmonton Oilers, let alone any other Canadian team, to win a Cup?

I think I can count on no hands the number of times I wanted the cocky Oilers and Glen Sather's smirk to win a Cup. Every single Final they've been in, I've been cheering for the other team be it the Isles, Flyers, Bruins or even the Canes (sorry, Ryan Smyth).

Calgary, as much as they have frequently knocked the Canucks out, I'd have to say in the '86, '89 and '04 Finals I did pull for the Flames.
Albeit prior to the Final, I sure wasn't hoping to see the Lames anywhere near Cup glory. Let's just say in '86 and '89 it was cheering for the lesser of two evils given the Habs were their opponents. In '04, how could you not pull for  Jarome Iginla over . . . oh, wait, I like Vincent Lecavlier, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards. Well, let's just say I was happy either way with that Final as it was a battle to the finish.

Sure beats Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

So which Canadians exactly are these media types writing and talking about who apparently go all apoplectic as another year without a Cup residing in the Great White North slips by?

Let's start with casual fans. Maybe casual fans who only tune into the NHL playoffs are the ones but other than the deluded here who may cheer for the Toronto Blue Jays in baseball, does anyone out here with no Ontario connection at all ever want to see the Maple Leafs ever lift a Cup?

Sure, there are plenty of Hab fans all over the Lower Mainland. Heck, I grew up surrounded by so many at school and some are even some of my best friends. Even so, I still dislike (downgraded from the Mike McPhee loathing hatred of the '80s) the Habs with a passion despite my lapsed Boston Bruins' fandom (sorry, after 35+ years I fired you guys after the Ray Bourque trade and became a free agent fan).

The Sens are just plain boring. Does anyone even remember a single game or goal from the '07 Final where they lost to the Anaheim Ducks? They just exist and barely are given a thought out here. All sympathy for Krusty the Alfredsson's long career spent in our nation's capital but the team with the Trojan condom guy as its logo (or is that a Roman Centurion?) spent too many years dulling us with Jacques Martin hockey, we never even were remotely interested whether Alexandre Daigle liked to dress up as a nurse.

No, that's not Darnell Nurse

The Jets fans at least are wired and fun but their style of play is not exactly WHA Hull-Nilsson-Hedberg-esque let alone Hawerchuk-ish enough to get me revved up especially when the Whiteout...uh, doesn't work. Looks great. Less filling the net as the goalie on the opposing team can now easily pick up a black puck against a snow white backdrop so...maybe go with a Blackout next season, if the Kings and Sharks falter again and your Jets can squeeze in again to the playoffs. It can't hurt to try a Blackout and maybe change that 1st round playoff luck.

Anyway, just once I'd like to see journalists actually get in depth and tell us about the players and teams in ways we've never heard before rather than churning out the same articles every single playoff year on Canada's inability to produce an actual team good enough to win it all.

So maybe that's it. It's Canadian journalists who've created this myth based on talking to other Canadian journalists because please show me where all these so-called hockey fans are that want a Canadian team (other than their own fave team, if it's even based in Canada) to win a Cup.

After all, if the Angels, Giants, Red and White Sox (sorry, Cubs) can win World Series in the new millennium and the Patriots (yes, the Pats) can become a dynasty in the NFL then Saints (hey, New Orleans!) preserve us, eventually odds are a Canadian-based team will win a Cup again in this century.

If that team is entertaining a la this era's Chicago Blackhawks have been, then maybe the vast majority of Canadians will get behind them. So, sorry, but unless you're bringing me a steady diet of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, you're not getting me cheering for your team these days whatever side of the border you put your home rink in.

Well, even if you are as entertaining as the current Blackhawks are, I could never bring myself to cheer for the Taranna Make Beliefs. Should the Leafs win a Cup and break the 1967 kinescope era curse, you may as well just convert all your Canadian dollars to American ones immediately because it'll be sheer hell living in a nation where we're already inundated with Laffs' news 365 days a year.