The Vancouver Canucks that is.
I say almost because the truth is I loathe the Canucks, I never liked them but after John McCaw swooped down and fleeced local boy Artie Griffiths and the team became a group of carpet baggers I lost any affection at all. The sale to the son of a slum lord, local though he is, did nothing to bring me back and the Canucks fans are the icing on the cake.
I can't imagine having the sense of entitlement Canucks fans have when your team has been in the league for 40 years and never won anything, but that's not really the issue.For me tonight my empathy is with the players and coaches .
These are guys who for whatever reason now find themselves in a "must win" situation about three weeks earlier than might have been expected, and should they lose they will be forever tarnished. Yes, the team won the regular season crown, the President's Trophy, but ask the average man on the street who won the President's Trophy last year and I bet less than a third will know. Team success in the NHL is measured by one thing alone, winning the Stanley Cup, apologists will drone on about Conference finals and consecutive playoff appearances and blah, blah, blah but it's all a sham.
Win the Cup or you have failed as a team, a year's efforts are wiped away and you have to rev up the engine again in October to try again.
The Canucks have had a marvelous season but lose tonight and they are forever footnotes. There is always the possibility that the team will rise to the task tonight and this first round struggle will be what galvanizes them on their run to a Championship .
Don't worry though, if they do lose it will be someone else's fault.