Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Canucks Inches Away: Stanley Cup Awaits

“They communicate like dolphins” ~ Alex Burrows on the Sedin twins
Summer is around the corner, the wild mountain thyme is blooming, but ice is the only element that matters. My beloved, feckless and heroic Vancouver Canucks are only one game away from making history and nabbing the holy grail of Canadian sport, the Stanley Cup. But one obstacle stands in their way - themselves. As Dave Babych, who was there in 1994 when the Canucks lost in 7 to the New York Rangers, put it, "If you give it your all, and you come up short, what will it take to win?"

The Canucks have an incredible line-up this year led by Swedish twins, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Raffi Torres, Ryan Kessler and anchored in goal by one of the NHL's great schizoids, Roberto Luongo. So how could they have blown a two game lead over the Boston Bruins and allowed ass-kicking losses of 8-1, 4-0 and 5-2 while barely squeaking through with single goal victories? How so, Johnny Canuck?! Because Lord Stanley isn't convinced you want it.

The Bruins have so far succeeded in dragging the Canucks down to their game and it's not a championship level. They've played so much better before, ripping up the Nashville Predators and then the San Jose Sharks. They were also the favourites going into these finals, but the series has been lackluster so far, to say the least. True, the Canucks don't deserve to lose, but it's still an open question whether they deserve to win. Today's game could make history or it could be another typical reminder of their forty-year nemesis: the fever. Yet they've never been as favoured as they are now and they've even got home-ice advantage. I've been waiting all my life to say my team is a champ...it all comes down to today...go, you bloody 'Nucks!

Below is an awesome video making the rounds of Al Pacino's "Inch By Inch" pep-talk from the 1999 film, Any Given Sunday:

"I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes
to the biggest battle of our professional lives
all comes down to today.
we heal
as a team
or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch
play by play
till we're finished.
We are in hell right now, gentlemen
believe me
we can stay here
and get the shit kicked out of us
we can fight our way
back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can't do it for you.
I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces
and I think
I mean
I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I uh....
I pissed away all my money
believe it or not.
I chased off
anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately,
I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life
things get taken from you.
That's, that's part of life.
you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that's going to make the fucking difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you.
Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see a guy
who will sacrifice himself for this team
because he knows when it comes down to it,
you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen
and either we heal now, as a team,
or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys.
That's all it is.
Now, whattaya gonna do?"

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