There was no practice, no media availability, no nothing, just one last day for the guys to max and relax with family and friends before going to hockey war.
Yesterday was also the last full day off for many Canucks employees, including myself. Taking this into consideration, the day was spent out and about with my family; we walked and walked and walked before setting up shop at the beach for an afternoon of sun.
As much as I tried to leave the Canucks at home – with the exception of the Conference Champions 2011 hat I haven’t removed since they clinched the West – it became very evident very quickly that Vancouver’s mind is on the Canucks.
Walking down Granville Street, car flags were copious. Alone they merely flapped in the wind, but as an ensemble they cracked together like a round of applause. Roughly two of every 10 cars had one, not counting the hardcore caravan with 14 flags, seven on each side, some old, some new, all awesome.
Window-shopping isn’t my thing and yet the amount of Canucks swag hanging off mannequins these days is quite appealing. Plastic men and women all over the city are unknowingly supporting the Canucks; by the smiles on their faces, they seem to be enjoying it (rumour has it those without faces are also loving it).
As we continued on to the beach, we passed a gentleman sitting on the sidewalk, his hat flipped upside down collecting spare change. The cardboard sign beside him read: Canucks Karma - $1. I gave him $5 and as I walked away, we both smiled thinking we got the better end of the deal.
Waiting to cross the street at a red light, two buses flew by one after the other, both with GO CANUCKS GO as their destination. Not quite sure where that is, but I’d love to go.
As the light changed from green to yellow to red, one last car cruised through the intersection and, of course, it had an old school Canucks black, red, yellow decal on the side.
A few minutes later the beach was in sight, yet because of the pace of the elderly ladies in front of us on the sidewalk, it remained a distant sandy mirage. We couldn’t help but laugh though as the white-haired women were in identical blue Canucks t-shirts – Daniel Sedin, 22, on the left, Henrik Sedin, 33, on the right.
Finally at the beach, the glorious glorious beach, the first guy I see is in an Alex Burrows jersey with a grey hoodie underneath and black jeans. Reminder – this is the beach and it’s 3,000 degrees out. And this teenager is in a jersey. I fully expected to encounter a dodo bird next. When I inquired about his beach attire, he simply laughed and said: “whatever it takes.”
I came across one more guy wearing a Canucks jersey while at the beach, he was sitting with a lady friend in silver chairs, staring out at the ocean as if time could not pass quickly enough until Game 1.
As we explored the area, a young fan drew his version of Vancouver’s orca logo in the sand with a stick, while on the pavement nearby a mini-stick hockey game came to a thrilling conclusion when the plump game-winning goal scorer, in a Raffi Torres shirt two sizes too small, proclaimed: "rafa-dafa-ding-dong, the Canucks win the cup!"
If Torres scores the Stanley Cup clinching goal, this kid called it.
Tuckered out and ready to head home, we began the long walk back when a fan in a white Canucks shirt approached me for a light. How did I know he was a fan? He had Canucks face paint smeared along the side of his face like Heath Ledger when he played The Joker in The Dark Knight. From what I collected, this guy hasn’t stopped partying since the big win last Tuesday.
Halfway home and all three of our stomachs rumbled so we stopped off at the quaint mom and pop shop for a quick snack. The special of the day: Blackened Bruin with beans. I didn’t even ask.
Now just a block away from home and we’re again waiting to cross the street. The guys in front of us, oblivious to our presence, had the following conversation:
Guy 1: "So what did you end up doing last night? Weird not having hockey on."
Guy 2: "I watched Just Go with It. Natalie said with all the hockey I’ve been watching, she got to pick the movie."
Guy 1: "Any good?"
Guy 2: "No, terrible, but before I fell asleep I played a game. Every time Sandler tried to be funny, it was a goal for the Canucks, every time he was actually funny, the Bruins scored."
Guy 1: "We win?"
Guy 2: "In a landslide."
At that we were home. It wasn’t exactly a Canucks-free day as I had intended, but at this time of the year, I wouldn’t have it any other way.