Black Ice Issue #9 — Swing State

On this terrible road trip the Vancouver Canucks managed a paltry 2-4-0 record and both wins came in overtime. That means Vancouver has won only a single game in regulation so far this season.

While Obama is looking at a must-win at The Buckeye State in two weeks, it might be sometime next April when the full sting of this defeat — at the hands of the Columbus Bluejackets — is felt by the Canucks. At that point, Vancouver could find themselves, once again, on the outside looking in (i.e. playoff picture) because of stupid losses like this.

There are definitely areas the Canucks can build on, but the first goal from Jason Chimera was inexcusable and left Vancouver once again playing with a deficit (more on this in a moment). A few bright spots: Luongo loosened up later in the game and made some stealers in the third period to keep things interesting. It was a full-court press (sorry mixed metaphor) and save a hot goalie, Pascal Leclaire, the Canucks surely would have tied it in regulation — one magnificent effort was thwarted by none-other-than a laterally moving puck through the goal crease by a defeated Ryan Kesler.

The Sedin’s and Bernier looked really good in the last period but failed to put up the most important stat: goals.

During this miserable march through October (opening night victory versus the Flames notwithstanding) the Canucks have played with the lead for a grand total of sixteen minutes and thirty-three seconds. That means for the six hours of hockey played on this road-trip, Vancouver played five hours, forty-three minutes and twenty-seven seconds either tied or behind in the score. You heard me, five and a half fucking hours!

I don’t know how long Barack Obama was considered the dark horse in his campaign. Obviously Chicago micro-politics and the Clinton juggernaut were a start. He burst through the doors of the national theater during the DNC 2004 with his rousing appeal to Americans (and citizens of the world I like to think) for hope and change. This speech was only the beginning of a long, hard battle through the fog of political war. He seems to teeter on the precipice of victory now. Is there a small battle from the past that the Rovian’s are waiting to exploit at the eleventh hour? Will all the joy and phantasmagoria fade as the Obama campaign withers at the last second from some tiny mistake or miscalculation in the past? Is there a tiny firefight McCain is keeping up his sleeve for one final, last minute ambush?

It’s hard to believe at this point that Obama could lose. The genius behind the Obama campaign is that they realized confidence and caution are not mutually exclusive. They collected tiny victories all over the country for the past four years and now appear a fortnight away from the Oval Office.

When will the Canucks start winning the tiny battles? The giveaways. The errant passes. The sloppy goalkeeping. The power-play. The penalty-kill. All these little losses lead to bigger losses and before you know it, we’re out of contention.

John Kerry’s weakness in 2004 was, in the end, a loss of the small battles in the swing states.

Canucks Nation will have many peaks and many troughs this season. It’s how we roll. But let us remember this defeat if we are playing golf in early May. That sound you will hear is the sound of a Swift Boat speeding away and those assholes in Ohio tittering along with the roar of failure.
Next Up — Edmonton