Clichés are here for a reason

SportSlice

There are almost as many sports clichés as there are sports fans and they all make perfect sense.

The ones relating to a winning team are, naturally, more fun to spout but there’s some comfort that comes from the losers’ library too.

The ultimate point I hope to arrive at is this: If we believe the clichés and never forget them, we’ll be better off.

I and many others, for example, have been thinking one series at a time in regard to the current Stanley Cup Playoffs instead of one game, one period, one shift at a time. 

Sadly, our Canucks and some others (SJ) appear to have been doing the same.

At the first sign that things were about to go as expected – with Vancouver following the script and dispatching the Tennesseans – I had mentally pushed the pesky Nashville Predators aside with a patronizing pat on their collective helmeted head. Yes, the game-two win had been close, but after going up 3-1 with two straight wins in Nashville, the Canucks and too many of their backers felt a five-game series win was pretty much a given.

If there was one thing nobody in the Vancouver outfit wanted it was another visit to Music City. 

Air travel (especially when it involves multiple time zones) is far more grueling than many folks realize, not to mention when it’s accompanied by the strain and risk of injury in professional playoff hockey.

Game five was a time for the club to prove it had matured to the point where it could finish off an opponent. With a win they could relax in familiar surroundings and simply wait for the Sharks or Wings to show up.

Enter a committed group led by big Joel Ward and the ever-stingy goalie Pekke Rinne in game five, earning a 4-2 win to serve notice that another round trip across the continent was in order. The idea of as many as two more games in the conference semi-final suited the Predators just nicely.

The Canucks, like me, were likely thinking about Detroit falling behind 3-0 to the Sharks. 

They probably had visions of Joe Thornton and his teal-tinted mates rehabbing and catching up on their rest at poolside after ending the Red Wings’ season. 

They had to get Nashville dealt with so they could focus on their third-round adversary and still have the energy and manpower to do so.

It’s not too hard to deduce that the Canucks and Sharks each looked past their second round opponents. For their gaffe they may have ended up being punished by (unlikely, yes) having to watch Detroit and Nashville in the conference final.

Pro athletes should never forget the cliché, that’s a big part of what they’re paid for.

But the failure to heed the timeless cliché is also what makes being a sports fan such an emotionally wrenching experience. 

If we had just given coach Vigneault credit for knowing what he was talking about when he dusted off the “one game at a time” gem, it may have helped us steer clear of the wild mood swings that are now disrupting our lives.

When the playoffs are over we can move on. Sure there are other “more important” things going on but if something has the ability to make you feel great or feel lousy… that’s kind of important… isn’t it?

In the meantime… let’s not underestimate our opponents, throw the baby out with the bath water, or count our chickens before they hatch.  

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Investigators seized sophisticated equipment including credit card embossers, credit card PIN machines, heavy duty printers and computers used to create fraudulent cards. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP arrest two, find 1,000 pieces of stolen ID in Langford

Investigation began after fraudulent bank draft used to buy vehicle in Colwood

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Victoria and Nanaimo

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

The 1946 building in Sooke known as the Tin Grotto, located at 2076 Otter Point Rd, is set to be demolished. Council awarded the demolition contract to Maple Ridge-based T&T Demolition. (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke approves demolition for dilapidated downtown building

‘Tin Grotto’ to be reduced to rubble in weeks

Police continue to investigate a break-and-enter in this Sidney jewelry store in the 2500-block of Beacon Avenue. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Thieves hit Sidney jewelry store

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP says incident is not part of a larger trend

Sam Liu, an assistant professor of kinesiology at UVic, has found extroverts, particularly people who are very active and social, are experiencing higher levels of distress throughout the pandemic. (Provided by UVic Photo Services)
University of Victoria study finds extroverts experiencing higher stress levels during pandemic

Degree of extroversion influences individual perception of stress during the pandemic

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson leaves the stage after announcing he is stepping down as party leader, during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Too rural, not enough diversity, soul searching needed, say BC Liberals

Elections BC says there are about 600,000 mail-in and absentee ballots across the province still to count

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read