The playoffs go a long time. It has been two months since the post season began and six weeks since the Ducks were eliminated in the first round.
A lot has happened between then and now.
On a personal note, there was no conflict for me between family stuff and watching the Ducks continue in the playoffs. While having Anaheim in the thick of things would have been a nice diversion, my attention was instead focused on my father in law, who passed away on May 6. He had been very ill with cancer and lymphoma and fought until the very end. A retired Air Force colonel, he simply ran out of troops to battle his disease. Two weeks later my mother’s heart finally said it was done, and she passed away on May 21. Since her stroke in March, I had spent much time with her in the nursing facility while she recovered, and I am grateful for every minute with her.
Personal things like that meant not a lot of time to ponder hockey.
My father in law and mother were not the only passings in May. A die hard Ducks fan lost a battle with a rare blood disorder at age 27 and a fellow hockey and sports writer, Jon Moncrief, passed away at 43 of an aneurysm. And player Derek Boogaard left us at the age of 28, due to a dumb combination of alcohol and oxycodone.
It has been a bit overwhelming and a reminder of how fragile life is and how precious. The sort of thing that makes the rest of the playoffs take a more realistic dimension.
Both the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins have made it through the first three rounds to get to the finals. Five games later, and the Canucks hold a 3-2 edge over Boston, with home ice being a deciding factor in each game. So far there has been the good (great goaltending), the bad (some not so good goaltending) and the ugly (finger biting scenarios and a brutal hit by Aaron Rome on Nathan Horton.)
Both teams want the Cup something fierce. Boston hasn’t won it since Bobby Orr graced the line up in 1972. They haven’t even been to the Finals since 1990. That means Cam Fowler has never seen Boston in the Final for his entire life. Teemu Selanne was two years old when Boston last won.
The Canucks came closest in 1994, but the New York Rangers snatched it from them. Vancouver wants to touch it this time and Canada would love to be back on the silver chalice, not having been a winner since 1993, when Montreal took it home.
For non playoff teams (28 of them now), life moves forward. Rehabbing from injuries begins. Surgeries are scheduled. Teams start looking forward to next season.
The Ducks will be starting the season in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. How sweet would it be for Selanne to play one more year and join them there on the ice?
Corey Perry had a miraculous year, winning the Rocket Richard trophy and being nominated for the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay award. The Lindsay award is nominated by ones peers, making it even more of an honor. His competition for that award? Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay and Daniel Sedin of the Canucks.
Tonight, Sedin could be lifting the Stanley Cup with his brother in Boston. Or, they could be flying back to Vancouver with a game 7 ahead.
Whatever happens, it is merely a moment in time, a distraction from the realities of life. But it is one of the best distractions around and you should not miss it for anything!