On to the next one…
Well that happened.
The Canucks, who held a 3-2 lead in the third period during Saturday afternoon’s game in Denver, ended up losing to the Avalanche 4-3. Bonkers, blarg and bummer.
We’re halfway to Nashville as I write this and the plane is noticeably quieter than normal. That was an uncharacteristic loss for the guys, so I think they’re all taking a little time to reflect. Or I can’t hear them because I have noise-cancelling headphones on. Either way, I’m sure the ride will get livelier as we get closer to the Music City.
Post-game a lot of reporters were quizzing the Canucks on if they took the Avalanche lightly and from what I observed, they most certainly did not. I’ve never seen a team so focus on a common goal than this squad; I even think it trumps the preparation I saw during the incredible run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. (Ugh – sorry to bring that up out of nowhere. Makes me punchy.)
Anyways, all I’m saying is that when it’s time to focus, these guys lock into the zone and become robots – think Terminator, not Johnny Five. BUT when it’s time to play, they play.
Friday was a great example of that. Soccer is normally the team’s warm-up game of choice, yet for whatever reason, when we arrived to the rink for practice, the Sedins, Edler and Hamhuis (who had all taken a cab to the Pepsi Center ahead of the team bus), had created ‘volleysoccer’ and were in the middle of a heated game.
Two players to a side, kick to serve, ball can hit the ground upon service, then three dribbles or less and it had to be over the net, constructed of three long pieces of blue foam padding. The Sedins beat Hamhuis and Edler and it looked like the game was over when Kevin Bieksa came in and kicked the net over in a hilarious half-kidding fit of rage that more players couldn’t play. Henrik told him he could play, Kesler too.
Kesler joined the Sedins, while Juice partnered with Eager and Hammer and the World Championship of Volleysoccer played out, much to the amusement of everyone.
Teammates, pretending to stretch and prepare for practice, stood around and watched the back and forth battle; Derek Roy, riding an exercise bike behind the makeshift halfway court, laughed and laughed and laughed. He admitted being a bit caught off guard with the level of competitiveness in pre-practice warm-up – apparently they play nice in Dallas?
The game came down to a thrilling final point and after Hamhuis blazed a serve over the net, he got a toe under Daniel Sedin’s header of a return, allowing Edler to wallop the ball onto the ground past Kesler for the point and the win and a little celebratory hoorah.
Moral of the story: the Canucks compete hard at everything and I mean everything. They don’t even take warm-up lightly.
Sunday is a practice day in Nashville, then this trip gets real, like really really real, with three games in four nights beginning Monday.
Vancouver’s final game of the regular season plays out two weeks from now, and then it’s playoff time. The Canucks will be ready, what about you?
Time to get honk tonk!
P.S. – Say whip. Whip. Now say Cool Whip. Cool WHip. Whip. Whip. Cool whip. Cool WHip. Bahahahahha.