I’ll admit I saw Spotlight two months ago and I’ve been procrastinating at writing my review. Now that the Oscar nominations are out–actually only an hour ago– this is a better time than ever.
The film begins in the 1970’s of a priest being fired from his job as a teacher at a Catholic elementary school in Boston. Fast forward to 2001. The Boston Globe has a new editor, Marty Baron. He first learns of the investigative Spotlight team of the paper headed by Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson.
Baron gives the Spotlight team a story to chase: a story of a priest sexual abusing children and Cardinal Bernard Law knowing about it and doing nothing about it. It first starts as a pursuit on a single priest who was continuously moved around from school to school. Over time it they would uncover that there were many priests who also committed acts of sexual abuse on school children and they were all covered up by the Archdiocese.
This is one story they had to get to the bottom of. However they’re limited in terms of resources. Plus they need permission to access sealed documents and have a trial or even an inquiry happen and they doubt they can get it from a Catholic judge. They talk with a head of a victims rights group who himself was abused, they talk to other abuse victims, they talk to a lawyer who’s handling the cases of some of the victims and they even find through an ex-priest who tried to rehabilitate pedophile priests that there could be as 90 sex offenders in the clergy. Further research uncovers additional priests moved about upon their actions being revealed and being listed as ‘relocated’ or ‘resigned.’
In September 2001 it appears the Spotlight team is finally ready to release the story. Then 9/11 happens which makes every other news story in the world take a backseat and cause even a further delay of the story being printed. However the wait works for the better as one of the Spotlight reporters, Michael Rezendes, uncovers proof through publicly available documents that Law knew all about the abuse going on and ignored it. Then a major victory. The judge grants them the right to look into sealed documents. Just as they are about to print the story, Robinson confesses he published a list of pedophile priests in 1993 but he never followed up on it. As the story is published, it creates history.
I’m sure that some people would be nervous about this film and declare it ‘anti-Catholic.’ In fact if I were a conservative conspiracy theorist, I would say Spotlight is a film released by an anti-Catholic director who wonders where all the Catholic hate from liberals went once Pope Francis came to power and wants Spotlight to bring it back. But I’m not a conspiracy theorist nor am I a conservative pundit. In fact the film has received positive feedback from Vatican Radio and even the current Cardinal of Boston praised it in showing how the Archdiocese had to confront its wrong.
I will say that I’ve seen bigger even more savage attacks on the Catholic Church in films in the past, especially from Martin Scorsese. In fact I remember watching 2002’s The Magdalene Sisters where the nuns were depicted as total monsters. I feel films nowadays are less anti-Catholic than that of 20 years ago or even 40 years ago. In fact one thing I give the film credit for is that it looks at all sides. It may portray Cardinal Law as a conniver but it wasn’t hard on depiction of the priests. In fact one scene that stuck out to me was when one of the alleged priests was interviewed. He not only appeared confused in how he didn’t know what sexual abuse was but admitted that he was raped as a boy. That not only shocked me but left me wondering how many of the abusive priests were themselves sexually abused as a boy?
On a personal note, I will admit that when I first saw the film, I left the theatre asking myself “Jon, why did you return to the Catholic Church?” It was a dilemma for days but it did solve itself over time. In fact shortly after, I wrote on my Facebook page: “I gave the Catholic Church a second chance in 2003 and it better not blow it this time.” I will never excuse a priest for sexually abusing any child. I believe they should be brought to justice. In fact, Pope Benedict clarified the issue when he said: “Forgiveness is not a replacement for justice.” I know you can’t take back the past however you can improve the future. The Catholic Church has not become blind to the issue of sexual abuse. In fact I learned from one man who tried to enter into education for the priesthood he had to get a criminal record check, an HIV test and a psychiatric assessment. I’m happy that the Catholic Church is taking the best preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
In fact off topic from the film, I will admit that sexual abuse and the various Diocese’s and Archdiocese’s bad handling of it is a problem but I will also say that it’s a problem that goes far beyond the Catholic Church. It’s a problem that exists in other churches as well, it exists within certain families, it exists within school and it even exists within children’s sports programs. In fact this decade’s biggest sexual-abuse-and-cover-up story came not from a Catholic institution but from coach Jerry Sandusky and the cover up from Penn State university. Makes you wonder why the priesthood gets a lot of defamation from the sexual abuse of those while children’s sports coaches don’t get the same defamation. A sex offender is a sex offender no matter what their profession or even if it’s not to do with a profession at all. Same thing with Universities, especially since it’s only come to light that colleges have a known rape problem but they’re doing next to nothing about it.
Back to the film, I think the biggest thing the film was focusing on was the bad marriage of church and state. Separation of church and state is enforced in the American constitution but it’s not to say it does find its way mixed into politics one way or the other. In fact I don’t think Spotlight attacks the Catholic Church as a whole but actually attack the Archdiocese of Boston. The film presents how the Archdiocese of Boston has such a huge influence over the city. We’re talking about a city with a huge percentage of Catholics and with a history of the Catholic Church giving, providing and influencing the city. No wonder a city like Boston would have such high regard for the Archdiocese. No wonder most Bostonians would look at priests as father figures. No wonder also would that present the biggest difficulty in terms of getting the ugly truth out, especially with people having a high regard for the Church in power and with a Cardinal sweet-talking those determined to get the truth.
The theme of sexual abuse may be very prevalent in the film but I think the biggest focal point of the film was to show a group of reporters uncovering a scandalous story and bringing it to print. One thing is the film doesn’t make like the Spotlight team are the blemish-free good guys of the film. It’s made known near the beginning of the film that this information was given to them five years earlier. They themselves made a big mistake of their own by delaying the story. Sure, they did a whole whack of effort to finally bring it to press in 2002 but they could have done it sooner. I think that was the whole thing of Spotlight is that it was a movie disinterested in making the image of a hero out of anybody. Besides we already hear of the mistakes of having an image of somebody is a bad thing as one abuse victim admitted he looked at priests to be like God. I’m sure millions more have had that deluded image of the priest being like God in their head. However it also shows how easily people can be feel a sense of betrayal by a Church when such atrocities occur. You can’t really blame them for being that disheartened.
I give top credit to director/writer Tom McCarthy and his co-writer Josh Singer for directing a complex film that’s like a bunch of pieces of a puzzle that had to be put together. This is a story that’s set in the Spotlight room of the Boston Globe and set in various other places throughout and they had to both show all the different parts of the story and make them come together from time to time. They did a good job of making this complex story come together without straying off into unimportant territory. Also they did a very good job of writing a story of sexual abuse that was watchable. I’ve seen other films of sexual abuse that were more explicit like 1992’s The Boys Of St. Vincent. Mind you it was a 90’s thing to do explicit entertainment because envelope-pushing was all the rage back then because 1; you could never put enough nails in the coffin of the Hays Code and 2; because back then softening of scenes or leaving such things out was considered a form of ‘denial’ in art. Anyways these are not the 90’s anymore and watchability is values more. I’m sure if they showed scenes of abuse in the film, it would make it somewhat unwatchable for many. I feel they made a good choice of limiting the topic of abuse to conversations of victims with the journalists. Especially since the top point of the film is how they brought the story to press. Besides I don’t consider compromising elements in a film for the sake of making it more watchable to be a filmmaking weakness. It’s not the 90’s anymore and Tom McCarthy’s not among the likes of Lars Von Trier.
As for acting, there were a lot of great individual performances most notably from Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams but none of them owned the film. In fact another top quality of the film is that it’s a combined effort from all the actors to play parts that don’t steal the show and add to the story telling by making it look like a unified effort. Even acting of the smaller roles that that of the abuse victims were excellent and added to the story. Overall this not simply a film that’s well-crafted. This is a film that does capture your intrigue. It’s a combined accomplishment from McCarthy, Singer and the actors.
Spotlight isn’t strictly about the incident. It’s about getting the story to the presses and the battles the Boston Globe had to go through to break the silence and finally get the word out. Keeps you interested from start to finish.
I don’t have to explain Game 7 for you; most of you know Boston won 4-0 and took the Stanley Cup with it. I don’t even have to explain the aftermath that happened immediately after. It’s worldwide news now. However I would like to tell what I experienced, why I’m not surprised and what has happened since.
I saw the event over around Robson and Beatty. It was in a building with 70 others. It was a fun time, even though we weren’t happy with the final score. We sat through watching the Stanley Cup being given out, despite our obvious disappointment. Afterwards many of us stuck around to help set the place up for tomorrow’s work day. As we were looking out the window, all we saw were people walking down the street. Within a matter of minutes, I heard someone say that two cars were being burned. Another short while later, I heard another say that a police car was set ablaze on Granville. Once we had the room completed, I talked with four others I would be leaving the building with that I felt it was best to go to the Yaletown SkyTrain. Just as we were leaving, we went outside and saw rising smoke from above a skyscraper. The skyscraper was blocking the view of where the smoke was coming from. Then we heard two explosions that sounded like gunshots only to see more smoke. It was after ten minutes of looking out to the rising smoke that we decided to walk the long route to Yaletown SkyTrain. While walking, we saw one cafe had a TV screen on and live coverage of a car burning outside the Post Office building; that area where we saw smoke rise. We were all shocked. Soon we boarded the Canada Line Skytrain, got off at the Langara station and took a bus to a Metrotown Restaurant to toast the Canucks.
At home hours later, I didn’t know if I would be going to work the next morning. The next morning I was able to go to work but not without seeing some of the damage, destruction or repairs happening. It was all over the news. Reactions not just in Vancouver’s news but all across Canada and around the world poured in. The riot led to 150 injuries, 15 burned cars and millions in damages and stolen goods. Even a story of a Boston Bruins fan stabbed in the neck. Vancouver was officially defamed.
The craziest thing about these riots is that they were not completely unexpected. Some may remember that seventeen years ago, in 1994 when the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the New York Rangers in Game 7, there was rioting happening then too. Businesses were damaged, there were at least 100 injuries. Police had to rush in to stop the action. Remembering that, I was originally planning to title my article Vancouver Riots: The Next Generation. Recently I heard a story from my uncle that there was a riot in Vancouver back in the 60’s when they won the Grey Cup. Whatever the situation, it was the riot of 1994 that would make Vancouver the unofficial ‘riot capital of North America’. There would be further riots: 1997 at the time of the G8 summit, a multitude of pre-Olympic protests and clashes, and Olympic raids during 2010. Vancouver has also been known as a central meeting spot for anarchists from all over BC and even the Northwestern United States. Even many people knew that there would be a riot after Game 7, win or lose. Some made mention that there were people in the crowd of Georgia street dressed as fans but carrying pepper spray and goggles for the sake of wreaking havoc at the end. Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Chief Of Police even made mention in a news story that they learned from 1994 and would be prepared for a possible riot this time around. They couldn’t have been wronger.
Despite all the nasty things that happened, there was a ray of hope. As workers started cleaning up the glass from smashed-in windows, volunteers came in and helped with the clean-up. I saw many along the streets and even around the Post Office building cleaning where cars burned the night before. Groups on Facebook started support groups like: ‘Vancouver Spirit Rally,’ ‘Real Canucks Fans Don’t Riot!’ and ‘Canucks Fans Against the 2011 Riots.’ One Facebook page even encouraged volunteers to clean up from the night before. That may have to do with why there were volunteers cleaning the next day. There were even pages devoted to posting photos of people causing criminal activity like ‘Vancouver Riot Pics: Let’s Get These People Locked Up,’ and ‘Report Canucks Riot Morons.’ Pages like those has led to many arrests since. On the plywood held in place of the various business’ broken windows, people wrote messages of apology or messages condemning the rioting or support to Canucks and the city of Vancouver. It’s a given that when cowardice like the riot arises, humanity responds.
It has been eleven days since the riots. A lot of rebuilding and replacing have happened since. A lot of support has happened since too. The reputation of Vancouver since the riots still has yet to be determined. Will new laws be passed to prevent further riots from happening? If Vancouver qualifies for another Stanley Cup finals, will there be another telecast on a big screen on Georgia Street? Win or lose, will things be better this next time? Or will we have another riot? And will the authorities be prepared this time around? Only time will tell.
This is it. On Wednesday June 15th at Rogers Arena, the Stanley Cup will be decided in a single game. The two finalists–the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins–both have won three games apiece. Both have shown their strengths and both have shown their weaknesses. Both have some key players out, either by penalty or injury. Both have also been the subject of negative opinion and positive opinion. Whatever the situation, tomorrow decides it all. But who will win? Instead of predicting the winner for tomorrow, I decided to sum the two all up and break them all down:
VANCOUVER-Three wins on home ice. All of their wins have been very close: 1-0, 3-2 overtime and 1-0. One thing about the wins is that they may not have been big or spectacular but the Canucks knew how to play smart at home in order to make the wins happen. Yes, the wins were mostly conservative but their conservative play would pay off at home. Their losses to Boston have been a lot bigger: 8-1, 4-0 and 5-2. Part of the reason for their losses in Boston have to be with the lack of confidence many would display. It would be noticeable as they would miss many important plays. Also during the Boston games, there was a noticeable weakness in Roberto Luongo as he let in a total of fifteen goals. Whenever he was replaced by Cory Schneider, the Canucks would soon get their confidence back and start playing better hockey. Already two top players: Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond are out.
BOSTON-Also three wins on home ice. All three of their wins against the Canucks have been decisive: 8-1, 4-0 and 5-2. The Bruins definitely know how to go all out on them while at home but during the away games, they’re lacking. All three of their losses have been tight games. They’re not as good at scoring in Vancouver and despite having a lot of puck control, they don’t materialize it at Rogers Arena as well as they could. One thing about their big wins is that they’re hoping to use it to intimidate the Canucks en route to winning the Stanley Cup. The big wins didn’t intimidate the Canucks enough as they would win 1-0 on Game 5. Tim Thomas has been an excellent goalie conceding only eight goals in the final. However this would prove to be a weakness as there would be two Canuck wins of 1-0. Plus Boston’s big wins in Game 3 and 4 didn’t succeed in intimidating the Canucks as they would win Game 5 1-0, putting the embarrassments of Game 3 and 4 behind them.
Now there’s the overall play. The media are already calling this the ugliest Stanley Cup finals in recent years. It all started in Game 1 with the Burrows Bite. Then in Game 3 came the check from Canuck Aaron Rome to Bruin Nathan Horton. That left Horton hospitalized and out of Finals play. For Rome’s part, he was slapped with a four-game suspension also leaving him out of Finals play. Then came the ‘pumping his tires’ reference from Bruins goalie Tim Thomas to Roberto Luongo that has been well-published. Already the Canucks were labels the most hated team of the Finals by many. Then things took a worse for Boston. Game 6 saw a check to Canuck Mason Raymond which left him hospitalized with a fractured vertebrae. Also many on the web have suspected the Boston ice to be too soft and the Boston referees too ignorant to the Bruins own penalty-worthy misdoings. Already the Finals are memorable for a lot of wrong reasons.
With Game 7 just more than a day away, people are already giving out their predictions. There has even been some numerology and trivia bits floating about to hint who will win. Now I’m not one who completely believes in numerology or trivia odds and ends but I have been hearing some interesting facts that may lead to tomorrow’s fates. I heard that a Canadian host city of an Olympic Games would win the Stanley Cup the following year: Montreal hosted in 1976 and won in 1977; Calgary hosted in 1988 and won in 1989: Vancouver hosted last year and it’s just so close. Also in favor of Vancouver, there’s the fact that of the fifteen previous Game 7’s of the finals, all but two have been one in the Game 7 host city. However there’s also one going against Vancouver which I learned of during Game 5’s telecast. Of the previous fifteen Cup Finals that lead to a Game 7, all but four winners of Game 5 would not win the Cup.
Whatever the odds and ends, whatever play happened in the previous six Finals games, only tomorrow will decide the 2011 Stanley Cup Winner.. Will Vancouver’s conservative style of playing and winning at home pay off? Or will it take its toll in Game 7? Will Boston’s big wins succeed in intimidating the Canucks for Game 7? Or will it be like in Game 5 in which the Canucks were able to bounce back from humiliation and show the Bruins they weren’t so intimidated? It will all be decided when the puck drops in Rogers Arena tomorrow, Wednesday, June 15 at 5pm Pacific time. May the best team win!
So some of you may have already got my first taste of Canucks talk. Well guess what’s happened since? I was at the very first Stanley Cup Finals Game at Rogers Arena! Don’t ask me how much my tickets were. The most I’ll say was they were over $500. I will say that I was glad to be in the arena for a once-in-a-lifetime event. Looking back, I can say I was there when it all started.
Tickets for the Finals games didn’t go on sale until 10am on Tuesday, May 31st,, only the morning before Game 1. They were originally intended to go on sale Monday at noon but they were delayed 22 hours for inexplicable reasons. I took an early lunch break at that time to buy a fair-priced ticket for Game 1 from Ticketmaster. By the time I got on, they were either impossible to buy or completely sold out. I know that before ticket-buying I promised myself that $500 was the most I’d attempt to spend on a Stanley Cup ticket, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I called ShowTimeTickets to place an order because I had trouble logging in to their website. Luckily, I was able to buy one ticket for Game 1, for up on the balcony. Unluckily, I broke my promise to myself. I mean it is history in the making, right?
Okay, Game Day. On Wednesday June 1st, I was finally done my job at 4:30. I was told by ShowTime to wait until 3 at the latest to get the best seats in the house for my order. Once my work was done, I took my Canon Rebel camera and bag out of my backpack to make my trek to the ShowTime office. Luckily I get my ticket just a minute as soon as I arrive. Amen! My order was for a balcony seat and I ended up with Section 329, Row 13, Seat 107. Original ticket price, $150. Luv-lee! I immediately head to the nearest path to get to Rogers Arena. I get to one entrance and security demands that they check my camera bag and backpack and removed all my empty liquid bottles. Real fun. Then my ticket was taken and scanned. Easiest part of getting in.
First thing’s first, I find my seat. Okay, first thing’s not first. I go to get a medium soda and huge pretzel. Yes, my favorite game snack is the huge pretzel! I get my goodies and then head to my seat. I find there’s no finals towel there. Which means either arena personnel forgot to put one on or the guys in the seats above me stole it as an extra thing to hock on Ebay.
I set my bags underneath my chair and have my camera around my neck. Nice SLR camera I bought for the Olympics for the sake of taking some good action shots. Now ready for another set of action shots. Before the game began, there was a rap from rapper Kyprios—whom I personally don’t care for—who rapped “How The West Was One”. Game begins with the Bruins and the Canucks on the ice. The national anthems are sung. Meanwhile Luongo is warming up the whole time. Anyways the game starts off on an exciting note. During the first two minutes, the Canucks produced four shots on goal. Boston would respond strongly. First penalty of the game would go to Daniel Sedin and that landed him 4 minutes in the box. Despite more shots on goal, Boston failed to score. The second half of the first period saw more Canucks dominance with a powerplay and six shots on goal compared to Boston’s four. After the twenty minutes were up, the period was scoreless. One thing I have to say is that being so far up in my seat made it hard to notice the Burrows Bite at the very end. It looked like a typical hockey squabble from where I was sitting and I wouldn’t know until tomorrow’s news what exactly happened.
During intermission, I left my seat and learned some yahoo spilled beer on my backpack. As annoyed as I was, I should have expected it. Anyways I made a full circle around the lobby to check out the shops, concessions, exhibits and fandemonioum. During the break, I bought another pretzel, this time salted. I took photos of the exhibits and some of the more colorful fans: both Canucks and even a Bruin or two. I hope those Boston fans inside know that Vancouver has a store that sells all sorts of ‘different’ meats, including bear meat! I bought some souvenirs in time for Father’s Day. Oh yeah, Supertramp and Michael J. Fox were spectators that night and Don Cherry was there too.
Before I get into my talk about second period, I have to say that being up there in my seat was not an easy thing. I wanted to watch the game and take pictures at the same time. It was not an easy thing to do being from my seat and sometimes using my camera as binoculars for the game. Sometimes I’d forget to take pictures of some of the highlights. I must admit that watching is easier without the camera.
I arrive back into my seat minutes after second period began. By the time I arrived, Boston had four more shots on goal and the Canucks had a power play. I returned around the time an injured Dan Hamhuis delivered one of the more entertaining tackles by flipping Bruin Milan Lucic. After that, there was some boring play for a while and then came the penalties- three in a minute. Thanks to a Bruin getting a penalty, I get my first look at the green men. Vancouver loves them but I bet every other team hates them! Vancouver soon came on strong and then Boston had more goal attempts. Nevertheless, the period ended with the game still scoreless. I didn’t want to deal with a soaked bag again so I remained in my seat during intermission.
Third period came with the Canucks coming on stronger but Boston continuing to challenge. There was music mixing from DJs Marlon J English and Jay Swing and the Canucks band played in our area. The last half of the third period saw the Canucks come out of their shell and start making more of a serious attempt to score. However in the final minute, most of us were groaning about a possible overtime after a scoreless game. Then the miracle happened. With 18.5 seconds to go, Raffi Torres delivered the goal, much to the euphoria of the full venue. It was there and then we knew the Canucks did it! Even though Boston called a time-out, we knew there was no hope for them. The game was ours and the Canucks began their quest for the Cup with a Win and Torres was the savior of the night. The final mark of the win was Fin waving the Canucks flag on top of his hockey stick.
After the win, it was a party as people were leaving the Rogers Arena and into the streets of Vancouver. As I exited arena with my backpack soaked in beer, the streets were loaded with fans. I met one guy who came from Winnipeg to see this. For three blocks until I hit the Central Library, it was like a complete parade of fans. Even after I left the library ½ hour later, it was still active with fans. Already the quest for the Cup began with a good start.
Hard to believe it was five days ago. Hard to believe Game 3, Boston’s first Finals game as host happened tonight. We had a second game on Saturday where the Canucks started good but Boston pulled a second period surprise. I was with friends in a church hall at the time. I kept on telling them ‘It’s not over.’ In the third period was the game-tyer. However with an event taking place upstairs, the church was under a strict regulation to end telecast of the game at regulation, overtime or no overtime. When we made it to the chapel, we were reassured that the Canucks won: 11 seconds into overtime by Burrows.
All I can say this last while is fan euphoria like no other. There have even been fan videos from Youtube. My favorite is of a Victoria comedian imitating a Bruins fan with Boston accent, attitude, foul mouth and all. I think he could rival the green men.
Just now, Vancouverites are recovering from an 8-1 loss to Boston. I was working when it all happened but I heard a lot and saw enough from replays on Youtube. Canuck Aaron Rome has gotten the biggest heck for that check to Nathan Horton that left Horton carried off on a stretcher. Boston sure came back with a vengeance, although many Canuck fans are complaining about bad reffing. Bad reffing or not, the Bruins won the game. Personally I had a bad feeling that Boston would win today but not by that much. I knew that both Canucks wins came from very tight games. Game One was won by a goal in the last minute. Game 2 was won by an overtime goal after just eleven seconds. Before Game 3, Boston was able to show the Canucks that they can be a formidable rival, even though they lost both games. Boston knows the Canucks are a tough team but they also have a vulnerable side and they really exploited that tonight. Many Canuck fans are claiming they appeared tired after the second and that’s where it all went Boston’s way. Now the Canucks know they will have to play harder smarter games if they don’t want to give anything else up. I believe the next Boston game will be another nail biter for both teams. Nevertheless Vancouver can take comfort that they still lead the finals two games to one. It ain’t over yet.
I don’t think I’ll ever see another Stanley Cup Finals game ever again. Not that I doubt the Canucks in the future but I believe the next Stanley Cup Finals tickets will be way more expensive the next time. It’s even possible that in the near future, $1000 won’t even be enough. All I can say is I was glad to be there when it all started. Now I have something to tell my grandkids!
Okay. Now’s when I take a break from my journalistic ambitions and I write about something on my mind.
Normally during most of the year, I don’t pay attention to hockey that often until playoff time. Then, like most Vancouverites, it’s my focus on how far they make it through the playoffs to the Cup. This year was a landmark year for the Vancouver Canucks. For years, Vancouverites have been hoping they’d win the Stanley Cup and this looks like the first year they might do it. They’ve made it to the Stanley Cup finals before–in 1982 and 1994–but they’d lose both times. The latter was especially famous for the rioting that happened for days. Since then, Vancouver has had a reputation of being the unofficial riot capital of North America.
Since the 1994 Stanley Cup, Vancouverites have been hoping their Canucks would have another shot at the Cup. The time since the 1994 Stanley Cup to the 2004 NHL Lockout were not the best of times for the Canucks. Despite a new arena with the GM Place, now called Rogers Arena, it had some difficulties including four years in a row failing to make the playoffs. Whenever it did qualify, they would only get as far as a Conference Quarterfinals of Semifinals. After the 2004 Lockout, the Canucks have had a change for the better. Upon returning to NHL play, they didn’t qualify for the 2006 or 2008 playoffs. 2007, 2009 and 2010 would see them win the Northwest Division but only make it as far as the Conference Semifinals. one bright note was that Roberto Luongo was named Goalie Of The Year by the NHL for two years straight.
The 2010-2011 was a different year for the Canucks. After the usual trades and free agent deals, the Canucks were ready to start their new year, which was also their 40th Annivarsary, with a bang. After losing their first game against the Los Angeles Kings 2-1, the rest of the season was complete magic.With 54 wins and 19 losses, including scoring 262 total goals and conceding only 185, the Canucks were the top team of the NHL in regular season. Upon having the top standings in regular season, they were awarded the President’s Trophy.
When the playoffs began, their first round pairing was against none other than the defending Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Black Hawks. The first three games were wins against the Hawks and appeared to have a comfortable lead over them. Things sure changed once the fourth game began. The Hawks showed that even though they entered the playoffs the last of the Western Conference teams to qualify, they were not going to give up their Stanley Cup chances easily, and boy did they pour it on once the fourth game started. The Hawks came back with 7-2, 5-0 and 4-3 overtime wins. That left the seventh and last game a nailbiter. Played at Rogers Arena on Tuesday April 26, the Canucks appeared poised to win with 1-0 until Hawk Jonathan Toews scored the game-tier with 2 minutes to go. This left fans nervous as the game went into overtime. It took a goal from Alexandre Burrows at 5:22 to win it for the Canucks and move them to the next round. It’s a good thing too because the previous two Presidents Trophy winners lost in the Conference quarterfinals. If the Canucks did the same, three-in-a-row would make the Presidents Trophy a curse!
After the Conference quarterfinals, things were easier for the Canucks although they still had to put in a good fight. The conference semis against the Nashville Predators was also a tight competition but the Canucks prevailed four games to two. The Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks were possibly the easiest of the bunch. The Canucks won four games to one and the Canucks wins were in spectacular fashion. They’re the first Canadian NHL team in four years to qualify for the Stanley Cup finals. For the record, the last Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup was Montreal in 1993. Will the Canucks break Canada’s 18-year drought?
Now the Finals. The Western Conference winning Canucks will be up against the Eastern Conference winning Boston Bruins. How well do they stack up?:
CANUCKS-What haven’t I talked about already. A team loaded with talent, but all coming down to how they play as a team unit, and under the pressure of the Stanley Cup. They showed they could lead well but almost give it up, as they did against Chicago. They also showed they can come on strong as they did against the Sharks. It all depends how they play against the Bruins. One thing about the Presidents Trophy winner is that those winners that qualify for the Stanley Cup final have the odds with them. Of the nine previous Presidents Trophy winners that made it to the Cup Finals, seven won. Will the Canucks be the eighth to do so or the third to lose?
BRUINS-They finished third in the Eastern Conference and won the Northeast Division. Like the Canucks, they had a tough fight in their Conference Quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens and qualified for the semis on a seventh game overtime goal. Their Semis against the Philadelphia Flyers were magic as they won four straight games en route to their Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their Conference Finals against the Lightning was a tougher affair as Tampa Bay proved to be a tough opponent. In the end, the Bruins won their seventh and final game with a single goal by Nathan Horton with 7 1/2 minutes to go in the third period. That’s all it takes! One important fact: In their one regular season game against the Canucks, they won 3-1. Even the Canucks will admit that they are a good rival. The Bruins had one of the highest goals-per-game averages in regular season this year. The defence of the Bruins is so good, even Luongo will admit it’s their strongest asset. However in playoffs, their scoring magic has taken a backseat. They’ll have to pour it on against the Canucks featuring Luongo if they want to win their sixth Stanley Cup.
Anyways on with the show. Hopefully the Canucks will win their first ever Stanley Cup. What’s especially noteworthy is that I promised my Admin team at work that if we win the Cup, I will buy them all a cake! I’ve already bought cupcakes for them when we won the Conference quarterfinals. Make it a yummy win guys!