Canucks fans were dejected but mostly peaceful despite another disappointing playoff run.
Unlike the chaos that erupted last June when Vancouver lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, the city’s downtown streets cleared quickly and there was little sign of trouble last night following the Canucks’ 2-1 loss in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings and their early exit from the NHL playoffs.
For the second year in a row, the Canucks managed to rack up the most points in the league during the regular season, winning the Presidents Cup, but they lost the first three games to the Kings, including two at home.
A win in Los Angeles last week gave fans new hope, and the flames of that hope were fanned when the Canucks scored in the first period Sunday night. But the Kings tied it up in the third, sending the teams into a short and for Vancouver, disappointing, overtime period.
”Everybody was stunned silence. Nobody can believe that they are out,” Rick Yuck of Calgary said, as some passers-by outside Rogers Arena chanted ”Next year, next year.”
Keegan Grant was inside the arena when the Kings scored early in overtime and said other fans just got up from their seats and began to swear under their breath.
”My heart stopped,” he said. ”I was so sad. Words can’t express my feelings right now.”
Ben Basran, of West Vancouver, said he was really mad and disappointed with the loss, but the 13-year-old was quick to put the Canucks’ defeat into perspective.
Basran said he will now cheer on the Ottawa Senators and begin to watch the city’s other professional sports teams.
”You’ve got to get over it soon,” he said. ”You can’t dwell on the past.”
Mike ”the Piper” MacDonald was outside Rogers Arena, trying to help fans passing by do just that by playing ”Amazing Grace.”
”Well, everybody knows it as a funeral tune, you know, end of an era, end of a life, end of the Canucks’ life,” MacDonald said of the song. ”So that’s very appropriate for tonight.”
Hanging like ghosts in the twilight sky, the pipe’s haunting notes greeted the hockey faithful, some of whom smiled, while others cast their eyes down to the cold, gray sidewalks.
”I usually try to keep it upbeat, but not tonight. You’ve got to toy with the emotions of the crowd,” MacDonald said. ”You know, it helps them overcome their sorrows.”