You’re a fan of an NHL club and the season is about to begin. You scan your team’s roster and part of you, deep down, thinks this could be a special year. You wouldn’t be a fan if you didn’t have this gift for delusion, which survives in even the most jaded of us.
If your team happens to be one of the powerhouses, you tell yourself: “Check out all that stone-cold talent! Here we go!”
If, on the other hand, your team is among the league’s punch lines, you might go with something more like: “Check out all the potential! This 18-year-old high draft pick from Hyvinkää could change everything!”
That’s why another term for fans is the faithful.
But their faith always ignores the fact that any successful record is the result of a million tiny variables, most of which can be grouped together as one great big variable: luck. Pure, dumb, money/shit-falling-from-the-sky luck.
As the proverbial window continues to close on this Sedin-based core of the Vancouver Canucks, the club needs a serious run of good fortune, a kind of astral alignment, for things to turn out anything like well. An analogy would be flipping a coin repeatedly and having it come up heads each time—possible but far from a sure thing.
So the specially minted 2013 Canucks heritage coin (depicting Gino Odjick on one side, Mike Keenan on the other) is now in the air, and it had better turn up…
Heads: Key members of the roster stay healthy through most of the 48-game sprint to the playoffs, especially the twins, Cory Schneider, and the hobbled but essential Ryan Kesler.
Heads: Underachieving players suddenly and simultaneously have strong seasons. We’re talking Mason Raymond, Zack Kassian, and the like. Maybe even new guy Cam Barker.
Heads: A similar lucky streak doesn’t happen to another team in a position to inflict misery on the Canucks—specifically a team in the Canucks’ division. The young lineups in Edmonton and Colorado do not catch fire.
Heads: Roberto Luongo doesn’t get traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then lead them to a freak Stanley Cup win—in six games over the Vancouver Canucks. Kidding! I’m kidding! But you have to admit, that nightmare would fit nicely into Canucks’ lore.