The Vancouver Riots

I am embarrased and ashamed.

After Boston won the Stanley Cup, chaos erupted in downtown Vancouver. I'm sure you've seen the pictures, and watched the video.  It was something that we shouldn't be seeing in a country like Canada. Just 16 months ago, Vancouver hosted the Olympics in what many can agree was one of the most unifying moments this country has ever seen.  The world watched Vancouver celebrate the winter olympics, and watched Vancouver, and the country, celebrate our game.  Last night and today the world again has been watching, watching a city burn.  They watched looters destroy businesses, and violent fights.  Exact numbers aren't yet known, but there have been several stabbings, and all we can hope for is that no one died in the riots.

I don't remember the riots of 1994. I was 7 when they happened, and didn't really care what was happening in the world.  But I, like many others, have seen the videos of it, and were appauled at how Vancouver acted in 1994.  After the Olympics of 2010, many thought that Vancouver was past that. Clearly, they were not.

Now, lets be clear.  The people who rioted for hours were *not* the majority.  There were over 100,000 people in downtown Vancouver last night for the game.  Only a few thousand were really involved in the riots, with only several hundred likely doing the most damage.  The type of people that will do something like this are the type of people who would have done the same had Vancouver won.  They were a group of people who were just looking for an excuse to incite a riot, and having 100,000 people in a (relatively) small area to basically serve as cover for them was an easy setup.  Many of the worst rioters covered their faces with bandannas to try to hid their identity.  The people who would do this are the type of people who were prepared to do this.  Not many people who would "spontaneously" join a riot would even think of doing something like that.  Those people knew exactly what they were doing, and they were there for one reason, and one reason alone.

I stayed up very late last night watching live coverage of the events, and it sickened me to watch people causing that much damage.  I am almost afraid to look at the pictures that will come out this morning, of the charred vehciles, glass and garbage in the streets.  This riot will cost millions of dollars, and the people who will be hurt the most are the small business owners.  It is disgraceful.

It is shameful that a small group of people have put a black eye on the most beautiful metropolitan area in the country.  Here we are, the morning after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and the game almost seems like a distant memory right now.  At a time when we should be celebrating our sport, we now have this to deal with.  Instead of talking about hockey, the playoffs, or the final, we have to try to defend our country's image and our reputation to the world.  There are many countries in the world where hockey is a sport that they barely know the name of, but this morning they are talking about Vancouver, for all the wrong reasons.

The worst part of this is that Vancouver, Canada's olympic city, has now list the wonderful respect and reputation it garnered worldwide in February 2010 during the Olympics.  The years of planning for that event, and the wonderful 2 weeks that the world witnessed have been erased, replaced with pictures of cars on fire and people looting businesses.  A small group of people have done this, and destroyed Vancouver's reputation to the world.

MAny efforts are already being made to work to clean the city up.  The Vancouver Police are asking everyone who was downtown last night to submit their video and photos so the police can identify those who caused damage, and bring them to justice.  Facebook groups are being organized to help clean up the streets of downtown Vancouver, as well as posting pictures of those who did take part in the riots. While I don't necessarily recommend putting the pictures directly onto Facebook, I hope that the Police get everything they need.

I'd also like to say that CTV had by far the best coverage of the riots last night.  While other news organizations stopped their coverage for part of the night, CTV pre-empted everything, and continued to cover the riots, even after I finally went to bed.  Their reporter on the ground, Rob Brown, did a simply sensational job covering this, along with his camera man.  They put themselves in danger to bring what were by far the best pictures and video I could find last night.  Last night CTV provided an example of journalism at it's best, and I thank them for that.  On a similar note, all of that coverage was streaming live on CTV's website, which is where I was watching it.  that was also a great example of how "traditional" journalism can use new media to provide news, and I wish it happened more often. I've been saying for years that news should be streamed live to the internet, and this only cemented that.

Here I am, about 12 hours after the Stanley Cup was awarded to Boston, and I've written nearly a thousand words. Not about the game, or anything to do with the game.  I've written a thousand words about the shameful act of a few thousand people who decided that last night, they were going to do everything they could to destroy a city.  I know that the majority of the people in the lower mainland were not involved with this riot, but that does not change the fact that the morning after, we are not talking about what we should be talking about.  We are talking about one of the most shameful things I have ever seen in my life.  It is very unfortunate because 10 years from now we will not remember the amazing run by the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup. We will not remember some of the truly fantastic hockey games along the way in the playoffs, and we will not remember how Boston was able to celebrate their first win in 39 years.  We will remember Vancouver, and the night the city was set on fire.

I am embarrassed and ashamed.

Game 7 - Stanley Cup Final

Tonight is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and I can't wait.  Game 7 of the Cup final is one of the biggest stages in all of sport, and, as cliche as it may be, is a time when household heros are born.  Not only will this conclude the season, Game 7 of the final does not happen often, which makes this spectacle even more special.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Stanley Cup is not the hardest trophy in the world to win.  That distinction goes to the World Cup, but I do believe that the Stanley Cup is the hardest in North America by a wide margin.  This will be the 107th game for both Boston and Vancouver.  That is 107 games of hard, physical play.  Tonight, the season will come to an end, and one team will get their 16th win of the playoffs, and win the Stanley Cup, 8 1/2 months after the season began.  It is a grind like no other.  In something of a rarity, of the 40 active players that will likely play game 7, only 2 have won the stanley cup in the past.  That means that for both of these teams, it is their first, and possibly only chance, to win the Stanley Cup.  I hope the players recognize just how special and rare this chance is, and we get a fantastic game out of it tonight.

The first 6 games of this series hasn't been as good as you would initially think.  Yes, each team has won 3 games to get us here, but it hasn't actually been that good.  The games in Vancouver have all been 1 goal games, with one being decided in overtime, and another with 19 seconds left.  Either team could have easily won those games if not for stellar goaltending in both nets.  In Boston, there simply has been no series.  Boston outscored Vancouver 17-3 in 3 games, and Vancouver looked like a team that had no business being in the playoffs, never mind the Cup final.  In each game, the team who has scored first has won, and there has only been one lead change during a game, in Game 2 when Boston took a 2-1 lead after Vancouver scored first.  Tim Thomas has easily been the best player in this series.  At home, he has posted a .982 save percentage, which is almost impossible.  Even in Vancouver, in 3 losses he has a .945 save percentage, a level most goalies can only dream of.  If Boston loses this series, it will be solely because Boston was unable to score in Vancouver.  Krecji, Seguin, Chara, Bergeron, and Seidenberg are all players who are capable of playing at another level. If even one or two of them can elevate their game tonight, Boston will win.

That being said, Vancouver has earned home ice in Game 7, and with that, anything is possible.  A Stanley Cup Final Game 7 has not happened in Canada since 1987 when the Oilers beat the Flyers at the then Northlands Coliseum.  That makes this game even more speical and rare, if that's even possible.  Vancouver does have their work cut out for them though  The Sedin twins have been non existent, Kesler is playing hurt, and the defence, while being very good in shutting down Boston's offence while at home, has contributed very little offensively.  If the Sedin twins can actually show up, Vancouver has a very good chance of winning.

I know that many of you reading this will be watching the game later.  16.2 million people watched at least part of Game 6 on CBC on Monday, averaging 6.6 million. Who knows how many more were watching on NBC like I was.  I will be watching at home, enjoying the biggest spectacle this great sport has to offer.  It is Hockey Night in Canada.

I said on twitter before the series that I thought Boston would win in 7.  I'm going to stick to that.  Boston, 2-1, in overtime.  The only thing we don't know, is who the hero will be.