Vancouver and Boston… Can they both lose?
Tonight, the 2011 edition of the Stanley Cup playoffs begin their conclusion as the Vancouver Canucks host the Boston Bruins in Game 1.
Usually, even after your favorite team is eliminated, you can pick one team and pull for them for your own personal enjoyment. This season? Trying to pick between the two teams is like picking between cancer and hepatitis.
First, we have Boston.
Boston, the beleaguered, tortured fanbase, whose city has gone an agonizing stretch of having the Red Sox (two), Patriots (three) and Celtics (one) win championships in the last decade. The fans, who are as accomodating and friendly as a rectal probe, deserve to see a winner, right?
Come on Sabres fan, would anything please us more than to see Zdeno Chara, our old friend, accept the Stanley Cup and pass it off to the beloved Mark Recchi?
Yeah, to hell with that.
Listen, I still have a soft spot for Daniel Paille, who had some good moments here in Buffalo before he got squeezed off the roster. I like Tim Thomas, who by all accounts is a great guy and one hell of a model American. But the rest of the Bruins can eat a fat one. Especially you, Milan Lucic.
That leaves us Vancouver, who can become the first Canadian team to hoist the Cup since Montreal in 1993. If they win, good for them. If they don’t, good for America. For being “their sport”, it’s quite hysterical that no city north of the borders has claimed a championship in 17 years.
Is it so wrong to hope that it continues for another year?
Canada’s collective inferiority complex is a great source of joy for me. Ok, you’re good at hockey. You should be. It’s your only sport. But you don’t need to delude yourselves into “owning” it.
(Editor’s note: baiting in previous paragraphs completely intentional.)
It’s not so much the players, save for Maxim Lapierre, that make me dislike Vancouver to win. It’s solely the fans, and the nation of Canada. Ryan Kesler is one of my favorite non-Sabres to watch, and the Sedins are insanely good. They’re fun to watch.
So, as a Sabres fan, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place, Boston being the rock since their fans are as smart as one and Vancouver being the hard place since Canada would be such a hard place to live.
Is requesting a flu epidemic that was enough to cancel the Finals in 1919 too much to ask for in 2011? Probably. Thinking “if we can’t win it, no one can” might be a little unrealistic. One of these teams we’ll be relieved to see fall short, and one we’ll have to listen to for a year. Barring a catastrophe, that’s the breaks.
The series is going to be physical, with Boston likely to win the battle of brute. If they can shut down the Sedins at even strength, they’ll be in good shape. Vancouver should win the special teams battle, but the Bruins’ secondary scoring is going to be the key in counteracting that. It will be a lot of close games, a lot of goaltending battles. Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo will likely be sublime in this series. So it’ll be a series of winning the bounces. And who gets luckier than the city of Boston?
Bruins in six. Sorry Canada.