Their Cup anticipation runneth over
Vancouver’s fans give some send-off
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The city looked as if it had just won a championship. Streets were closed, barricaded by police, as revelers paraded through a downtown ringing with the sounds of car horns. The only problem? The Canucks are still one win away from the Stanley Cup.
After Vancouver won Game 5 over the Bruins, 1-0, Friday night, it was clear the city is ready to celebrate a Stanley Cup title. The Canucks have not won a championship in their 40 years of existence, and as they headed back to Boston yesterday, they were met at Vancouver International Airport by a raucous crowd.
Players walked through a cordoned-off area signing autographs before their early-afternoon departure. There were signs, screaming fans, and loads of Canucks gear.
“It gets bigger and bigger every time we come on the road,’’ defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. “Lot of support. [Friday] night was a lot of fun, riding home with everybody out in the streets.’’
The atmosphere after Game 5 was helped by the fact that it was a Friday night, and because the game began at 5 p.m., it ended early enough for fans to head downtown. People stood on sidewalks, high-fiving and waving flags.
“The fans have been really good,’’ said Alex Burrows. “We really fed off their energy. The city was nuts after the game, and it’s nice to see that they’re behind us.’’
Rogers Arena was electric — “the loudest I’ve heard Vancouver,’’ said Raffi Torres.
And that was followed by the madness in the streets and at the airport.
“The support here is unreal,’’ Torres said. “These fans really know what they want. We’re all gunning here for the same thing. To see their support is great.’’
Glass throwing stones Boston fans don’t need to be reminded of Bill Buckner when a championship is on the line, but that happened after Game 5.
The Canucks’ Tanner Glass, who whiffed on a shot at an open net in the second period, said, “What I thought of was Bill Buckner. If we end up losing this game, 1-0, and heaven forbid we don’t end up winning the whole thing, I might end up being booed out of Vancouver.’’
And Glass knows New England, having studied (history) at Dartmouth.
“I had enough time to think about it between periods,’’ Glass said. “We didn’t score till the third. I just thought of that ground ball going through his legs.’’
Glass has received support from his teammates.
“I’ve been there a lot a few years ago, when nothing would go in,’’ Burrows said. “So I had a lot of those. At the same time, you just have to stay positive. He was physical last night, he had a good game, and we need him to play that way in Game 6.’’
Message to Milbury The Sedin twins have been criticized for their lack of scoring in the Cup Final. That led to analyst Mike Milbury’s “Thelma and Louise’’ comment, which was not taken well by the Sedins or the Canucks. “I think it’s OK if you criticize us,’’ said Henrik Sedin, who has two goals in 23 playoff games, none against the Bruins. “That’s not a problem. We know we have to play better. There’s been a lot of times that we got criticized. But if you make fun of us on TV, I think that’s what you do when you’re kids and not when you’re a grown-up. That’s too bad, but apparently he keeps doing what he does.’’ . . . Henrik Sedin addressed the lack of scoring by the Canucks, whose powerful offense has been held in check in the Stanley Cup Final, with just six goals in five games. Asked if he was surprised, he said, “A little bit, because a lot of times you’re not going to win games by scoring six goals in five games, but again, we’re confident playing in any situation. We can win games 1-0, and if we need to score more, we can. It’s going to be tough if we’re going to continue to score one goal a game. But if that’s what it takes, we’re fine.’’