Why is everything bilingual in Vancouver? It's an awful long way from Quebec. A few more observations from my visit... The fans LOVE Trevor Linden! The souvenir shop manager told me his jerseys outsell everyone else's, even Luongo's. GM Place is a rather pedestrian building with only two main levels, surprising that an arena built in the mid 90's would not have a significant middle level of club seats. I think Roberto Luongo is the best goalie in the NHL, but he spent the first period on his back like a dying cockroach making saves with arms and legs alike, before settling down. The 'Nucks fans call him Louie, which I never heard when he played for the Miami Panthers.
Why on earth would Canucks coach Alain Vigneault select unskilled journeyman Byron Ritchie as his first skater in the shootout, and not use Marcus Naslund or the Sedin Sisters? The 50/50 drawings are big at the Canadian rinks. You buy a raffle ticket, and half the money goes to charity and the other half to the winning ticket holder. We're talking $20-$25,000 for the winner. Nice haul, eh?
While boarding the flight to Vancouver, I recognized Marc Bergevin, an original member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who played for a few other teams in his 15+ year NHL career. He is now a scout for the Chicago Blackhawks. He knew who I was, having seen me on the Jumbotron, and he jokingly said he was sick of seeing me, as he had been to three other games I attended. As a player, Bergevin had a reputation as a practical joker. I fell asleep in an aisle seat near the back of the plane, but I soon awoke to feel someone pulling my boarding pass out of my shirt pocket. I opened my eyes and it was Bergevin, on his way to the bathroom, who simply said, "Gotcha". Pretty funny, Marc!
I hope to get my power cord back tomorrow and tell you all about my few hours in Edmonton, which were quite interesting. Now I'm boarding the redeye to Toronto, to get to St. Louis the roundabout way!