Monday, June 13, 2011
When it comes to the NBA I'm not really much into it, well not into it at all to be honest. I remember last year hearing about how this kid Durant was tearing it up for Oklahoma City and I thought 'What the hell? There's a team in Oklahoma now?'
So that tells you all you need to know right there. But like any casual sports fan (follow what is happening in the majors in tennis and golf, watch the championships of sports I don't follow, you know the type) I was aware of what was going on the the NBA playoffs and last night I finally tuned in to watch the last seven minutes of the final.
I always liked Chris Bosh when he played here and I still don't mind him even though he botched his exit from Toronto but of course nothing compares to the ego and foolishness personified by LeBron James and so to see him get shut out of a title for one year at least (I would bet that the Heat will be back next year and the year after that and so on and so on and they will win their share) was gratifying for this old(er) guy. Dallas' coach talked afterwards about how Dallas played as a team and did things right and he, an old school guy, was right, of course. Despite the idea that sports, real sports, are a video game writ large, the reality is that its the best team that usually wins, not the best collection of individuals. If this were the case then the Rangers would have won a plethora of Cups in the early oughts with their collection of bigname players. Doesn't work that way. Never has.
So now you might say to me, see, there is such a thing as karma now, isn't there? And my answer despite the failure of the Heat and the victories of the Bruins in games three and four would still be no.
I'm too old to believe in karma.
The Canucks sure do like to tempt it though don't they? My goodness they remain an unlikeable bunch. Watching Burrows getting fouled repeatedly in game five and getting no calls was amusing. Watching Lapierre react as if he'd been run through by Chara was as well. Him scoring the winning goal, not so much.
And to remind folks why its tough to cheer for the Canucks here is Aaron Rome talking about how tough and unfair it is for him to be missing the series. I wonder how Nathan Horton feels?
(For the record I thought the hit was late and thus it was dirty. If Horton gets up then there is no suspension of course but complaining that Rome was done for the series is taking it pretty far. I'd take the trade of Horton for Rome anyday. If the Canucks had been forced to take a comparable player out as punishment, impossible I know, then the punishment may have been more fitting.)
In any case a little part of me sympathizes with Rome. The league is a bush league and this case just emphasized it, considering that the rule is so fuzzy that there are legitimate questions about it and that they consulted Brian Burke, that is a guy who has a dog in the hunt, on what he would do. And this was compounded by Ken Holland saying on HNIC that Colie Campbell (terrific guy never question his integrity, oh never) would often call him for advice in similar situations.
The final has been just terrific, the hockey anyhow. Its been dramatic and three of the games have been decided by the slimmest of margins and the two blowouts have been entertaining in themselves due to the hatred and bitterness simmering just below the surface. I'm hoping it goes seven and there's a good chance of that. Boston has no margin for error and for a club that has a hard time scoring this seems like a daunting task but then again the one goal they allowed on Friday resulted from a perfect bounce and still Thomas nearly got it. And for all of Boston's troubles scoring, Vancouver is having the same issues.
Its been fantastic. And of course the fact that one club is an Original Six club and the other is a Canadian club where tens of thousands watch the games in the city streets and neither have won in almost forever, well it adds to the cachet.
Its too bad about the antics and the Horton hit and the fact that so many of the Canucks are so damn unlikeable and that the league, as always, can get nothing right. And its to bad that some fans, the seedy underbelly, (read columnist Bruce Arthur's this terrific column) have come to the forefront. Living in Toronto I am pretty ambivalent about Vancouver's fans, as I said before (although the whole Luongo thing in game four kind of stunned me). It seems the closer you get to Vancouver (and are not a Canucks' fan) the more you despise them.
I have a cousin who is a Canucks' fan. That's him and I in the photo last summer in Fernie, the day before his brother's wedding. Its mid afternoon, we're sitting on a patio overlooking the river and the mountains and I'm well on my way. Anyhow, Spence is the finest kind and he spent the past little while in Cyprus which meant hauling his lovely wife out of bed at five a.m. to watch his team. He's back in Canada now and I know tonight he's going to be dying a thousand deaths watching the game.
And of course he's one of the great majority of Canuck fans, the same, I think, as the vast majority of most club's fans. He's a good fan and, like Colie Campbell, a great guy.
But when it comes to the Canucks there just seems to be a dark side and its ugly as hell and I can't abide it. When Theo Fleury opined that Chicago would beat the Canucks in the first round the filth that oozed out of cyberspace was unbelievable. "Keyboard warriors" Paul Bissonette calls them and if you're on Twitter and follow anybody who has ever said a negative word about the Canucks well take a look at their timeline and check out the spewing of hatred, the threats of violence, the vicious comments.
Its really beyond.
I know that every club probably has the same lunatic fringe and to say that this is exclusive to the Canucks is unfair. But reading what some of these guys said to a guy like Theo Fleury, who has been to hell and back, well, for once I would certainly hope karma existed.
We know it doesn't though and so when the Canucks likely win (my guess is on Wednesday) and a city celebrates and my cousin raises a pint the sad fact is that a whole bunch of nasty folks are going to be happy as well and that's too bad.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:11 PM