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Why the Vancouver Canucks will win the Stanley Cup: A fan’s view
When the puck drops in the first game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals June 1, the Vancouver Canucks will begin the battle to take Lord Stanley's Cup home to British Columbia for the first time ever. Here's a look at why I think they will.
"They've got a sixth sense, or a radar, or some type of communication with each other that I've never seen with any two players in my life," said Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke,
Luongo has matured into one of the best goalies in the NHL, especially since the 2010 Olympics. In game five against the San Jose Sharks, Luongo was shot at an amazing 56 times, and saved 54. Look for him to put the Stanley Cup icing on his Olympic win cake.
Canuck center Manny Malhorta took an injury to the eye March 16 that was thought to be the end of his season, and even threatened his vision. Surprisingly, doctors have cleared him to fully participate in practice, including taking contact. If he is able to play, even the suggestion is a motivator. If Malhorta skates up against Boston, that's one of the intangibles that can swing momentum.
Home ice edge, with rest
Vancouver swept aside the San Jose Sharks in five, while the Bruins had to battle it out over seven, and now must go cross-continent for game one.
I was in Vancouver when the biggest hockey game ever for Canada was played. I wasn't in the arena, but out in the streets, taking in the scene from television screens pointed out of pub windows. Roberto Luongo matured as a goalie then, and the team as a whole is ready to help the city of Vancouver recapture some of that magic.
The American team vs. Canadian team dynamic
I can't understand the mindset that doesn't accept an American being a Canuck fan. or a Canadian rooting for the Boston Bruins, for that matter. It's not a matter of national identity, but an appreciation of the game. The NHL is a North American entity, not a national one.
Speculation that the Canucks being in the final will hurt the NHL only help motivate the team to crush Boston.
How I became a Canuck fan living in Portland, Oregon is a simple story. A few years ago I worked with someone who was a rabid Colorado Avalanche fan, who got me following hockey. When she said I "had to pick a team," much to her chagrin I became a Canucks fan.
Canucks in six
Everything I see leads me to think this is the year for the Canucks to win it all. A post coming to the same conclusion in the Vancouver Sun was chided in the comments by people suggesting they were jinxing the team to suggest Vancouver would win.
I'm not superstitious and don't think what anyone says in the press will determine the outcome. Good play, strong momentum, and sound coaching will. Canucks fans can count on all three of those.
ESPN columnist and Hockey Night in Canada panelist Pierre Lebrun was so bold to suggest a Canucks sweep of the Bruins, but I'm not nearly that bold. Look for the Canucks to wrap it up in six games.
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