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Seven and One

Saturday, 29.12.2007 / 3:15 PM / Features
By Jeff Paterson
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Seven and One
The poll question at team1040.ca late Friday night asked hockey fans in this city which was their most memorable Canucks game in 2007. And not surprisingly, the first and last games of last spring’s opening round playoff series against the Dallas Stars topped the voting.

The marathon quadruple overtime thriller garnered 40% of the response while the Canucks’ Game 7 victory that allowed them to advance to the second round was a close second coming in at 33%.

The other options in the online survey were Sidney Crosby and the Penguins visit to Vancouver on December 8th (12%), Daniel Sedin’s three goal and five point performance in a 5-2 win in Edmonton in February along with Markus Naslund’s hat trick in a 4-2 win at Minnesota in November (both received 5% of the votes). And the Canucks clinching the Northwest Division title with an overtime win in San Jose on April 7th rounded out the balloting.

INSIDE THE BOX
Jeff Paterson is a Team 1040 broadcaster and a regular contributor to the Georgia Straight.

E-mail him at jeff.paterson@team1040.ca


FAST FIVE
The results of the radio poll echoed the discussion inside the Canuck locker room earlier in the day Friday. When asked to recount their most memorable game in 2007, a select group of players all pointed to the series with the Stars, too. But unlike Canuck fans who said they enjoyed the seven period epic the most, the players themselves all gave the nod to the end of the series and their seventh game showdown with the Stars.

“Winning at home in a Game 7 is always important. It’s important to the franchise. There’s the thrill of victory of winning a game seven and the agony of defeat of losing a game seven at home. I’ve felt both and it was sure nice to be on the winning side,” says Trevor Linden who’s third period deflection that night turned out to be the winning goal in the 4-1 victory on April 23rd. “So that’s probably ‘the’ game.”

Across the dressing room, Willie Mitchell agreed.

“Game seven, that was a big one obviously because at the time you feel like it’s your big win to continue your journey to get the Stanley Cup. We fell short of that, obviously, but at the time, you feel like you’re going to do it. So that was a big moment,” says the Canucks defenceman. “But really, I remember that whole series just because of how long it was and how gruelling and the flight schedule and stuff like that. That’s probably what sticks out for me.”

For Alex Burrows, that series with the Stars marked his first taste of National Hockey League playoff action. And months later everything about the post-season still stands out for the feisty forward. But it was the atmosphere for the opener against Dallas that really hit home.

 “Game One against Dallas. The energy in the building, the towels, you just felt the whole buzz in the city. And coming out for our warm-up and seeing all those fans with the towels. It was a great feeling,” Burrows says. “And obviously Game Seven when Trevor scored that big goal for us that put us ahead and then at the final buzzer when Louie put his stick in the air. Those games were the highlights of the year.”

It almost seemed unfair to ask Roberto Luongo about his most-memorable moment in 2007. It’s like asking Tiger Woods about his favourite shot or Tom Brady about his best touchdown pass – there were simply too many great ones too recall.

But for a guy who has experienced hockey at its highest level in both the Olympic Games and the World Cup, Luongo agreed with his teammates and fondly recalled his first trip to the National Hockey League post-season.

“I have to go with two games – Game 1 and Game 7,” he said unable to choose between his 72 save performance in the opener and his 19 save effort to propel the Canucks to the second round. “Those are two that were the most-exciting and most-memorable games I’ve ever been part of.”

And it only seems fitting that Luongo should be allowed two choices. And with two games remaining on the schedule in 2007, perhaps his best is yet to come. And certainly Canucks fans have many reasons to believe that with Roberto Luongo in goal that 2008 will, indeed, be a Happy New Year.