Tears of pain have inexplicably replaced tears of joy as the Vancouver Canucks dropped Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final 4-0 to the Boston Bruins at Rogers Arena.
Now, as I type this from the press box, hundreds of people are on the ice, including the Bruins, celebrating the team’s sixth Stanley Cup victory. Boston players are being interviewed left and right as their kids scamp around in oversized Bruins jerseys, their wives wearing 2011 Stanley Cup Champion hats while Celebration by Kool & The Gang blares; it’s a horrible mess of black and yellow.
I assume Gary Bettman handed the Stanley Cup to Zdeno Chara, but I didn’t stay to see it.
No, I was in the Canucks dressing room following the most painful loss in franchise history.
Vancouver’s equipment wasn't supposed to be neatly hung on hooks in each player’s stall, it was meant to be scattered all over the ice like a poorly planned yard sale.
Chris Higgins, still bottom down in equipment, wasn’t supposed to be sitting head down with his hands on his face.
Ryan Kesler wasn’t supposed to be clean-shaven with his chin quivering, fighting back tears, trying to explain what happened.
There wasn’t supposed to be a mere seven reporters and three cameras covering Alain Vigneault’s post-game press conference.
The streets of Vancouver were to be gleeful with the biggest celebration in the city’s history, not engulfed with angry fans, a few of which caused and are probably still causing mayhem.
Are there any words I could write that would ease the despair we're all feeling? I’m borderline too numb with pain to put sentences together, let alone detail what happened on the ice in a game the Canucks simply could not lose.
The Bruins scored first, which hurt, because in this series the team scoring the first goal of the game won every game.
Stats like that were not kind to the Canucks throughout the Stanley Cup Final and in the finale they were as bad as ever. The four-goals scored by the Bruins puts them in a three-way tie for most goals ever in a Game 7. Not only that, the Canucks are just the fourth home team to ever lose in Game 7 and the first ever shutout on home ice.
Fitting that Tim Thomas was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Final because he again shut the door making 37 saves to finish the playoffs with 798, the most ever made, on 849 shots, the most ever faced.
An emotional Kesler summed it up best, “we didn’t score.”
Kesler and teammates were understandably at a loss for words encircled by inquisitive media looking for answers.
“It’s tough,” said Kesler. “I really thought we were going to win. I can’t put it into words right now.
“It’s Game 7, no excuses, you’ve got to lay it out there. I’m proud of our guys, we laid it out there, we had everything we had, a couple of bounces, that’s the difference. It’s tough right now, it’s really tough.
“I’m a leader on this team and I did everything I possibly could today. I can hold my head up high, but it hurts, it definitely hurts right now.”
The ice is now cleared, the Bruins are currently swimming in champagne in the visitors locker room.
Fans of both teams have cleared out of the arena, a neon green sign that reads “40 years, It’s Our Time” is all that remains in the seats.
That sign says it all.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way.