Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Under Pressure

Americans are pretty rabid sports fans. Not quite at the "I'll shoot you down like Andres Escobar if you mess up" level (thank goodness!), but still....we give crazy about leisure activities the ol' collegiate try. Clapping thundersticks, waving towels, forgiving people felonies....America is here for its sports!

But fanatic as we are, the level of pressure to win falls short of Canadians and their hockey. Now some of you might be saying, What you talking 'boot Willis? (Ok, so maybe you're not, but I really wanted to use the word 'boot instead of 'bout. I'm speaking Canadian, eh?) It seems like children of our northern neighbors come out of the womb in pads and carrying a hockey stick, ready to take the ice before they even open their eyes. As such, they are expected by God and Country to perform to their upmost ability in putting a puck in a net more times than the other team they're playing.

Case in point....remember the panic that struck when the US beat Canada in the men's qualifying rounds during last year's Winter Olympics? The powerhouse team, led by NHL star Sidney Crosby, was expected to bring home the gold in front of the Vancouver home crowd. I imagine that none were more happy to beat the same US team in the Gold medal finals than those players, if simply because they knew they wouldn't be chased across the border by a swarm of Mounted Police. Oh Canada!

Now that we're reaching the finals of the NHL playoffs, once again a Canadian team is feeling the immense pressure. Vancouver, who finished with the most points in the regular season (earning them the President's Trophy), was immediately predicted by many to win the Stanley Cup*. Furthermore, the Cup hasn't been brought home to Canada since Montreal won it in 1993....almost 20 years ago.
Vancouver looks to be the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since 1993
Vancouver's regular season success, combined with such a long drought, has turned the boilers up to red hot under the Canucks. I've been told that should the Canucks meet up with the Bruins in the Cup Finals, the Bruins would have the advantage, mainly due to goaltending. Regardless, I hope that the immense pressure is an equalizing factor. Cause I'd hate to see an angry Canada, wouldn't you?

So, NHL fans....can Vancouver do right by its country and bring home the cup? Can Luongo keep from sucking? Do you really wish the Mounted Police ride Moose instead of horses? Holla at your girl and let me
*I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend who provided me with some NHL insider info that inspired the post. Of course, he also thought the Blackhawks would beat Vancouver in the first round, so what does he know? Just kidding....god bless friends in (somewhat) high places, eh?

Thanks to the Sports Betting Journal for the image.


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