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Home Run

With just four games remaining and all at home, the Canucks look to some other home stands for inspiration.

Monday, 31.03.2008 / 1:05 PM / Features
By Scott Rintoul
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Home Run
Home Run Must-win games at this time of year are nothing new to Canucks’ fans, and they’ve seen it go both ways.

It was only two seasons ago that Vancouver lost six of its final eight games en route to missing the playoffs, which resulted in the end of the Marc Crawford era and a partial dismantling of the Canucks’ core players. Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cloutier were shipped out, Ed Jovanovski signed elsewhere and Roberto Luongo became the new face of the franchise.

INSIDE THE BOX
Scott Rintoul is a host of the BMac and Rintoul show on the Team 1040 broadcaster in the mornings starting at 6am.

Send him and e-mail.


FAST FIVE
However, the 2000-01 Canucks did manage to squeak into the postseason despite losing fourteen of their final sixteen games thanks to Harold Druken. The oft-forgotten Newfie scored both the tying goal in the third period and the overtime winner against the LA Kings nearly seven years ago to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 1996. That game was played on April 5th, the same date as the Canucks’ regular season finale this season.

And so it comes down to this: a four game home stand to determine the fate of this year’s Vancouver Canucks. It doesn’t really matter how the Canucks got here, just that they find themselves with a weeklong opportunity to salvage a season that began with so much expectation.

As it stands today, the Canucks will need wins in all three games in order to guarantee a spot in the Western Conference’s elite eight. With that in mind, here’s a look at a few of the more successful home stands that the Canucks could potentially draw inspiration from.

HOME ALONE

After missing the plane to France for his family’s Christmas vacation, little Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Caulkin) has the pad to himself. While most 8 year-olds would be curled up in a corner calling 911, Kevin is livin’ large and in charge with the family overseas.

He’s eating what he wants, doing what he wants and becoming the envy of grade schoolers everywhere until a couple of burglars show up to jack the joint.

On paper, it’s a mismatch: a little whippersnapper against two grown men (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) with a long history of B&E.

But thanks to his ability to use a blowtorch, his vast experience with Micro Machines, and his precise calculation of paint can trajectories; Kevin fends off the would-be “Wet Bandits” and saves his house from a Christmas looting.

GLADIATOR

Once the courageous leader of the Roman army, Maximus Meridius (Russell Crowe) escapes his unjust death sentence only to find himself a slave battling for his life in a North African gladiator ring.

Though initially opposed to the concept, Maximus rises to the top of the gladiator hierarchy just as the current Roman Emperor, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), reopens the gladiatorial games back in Italy. Known only as “Spaniard”, Maximus and the rest of his weapon-wielding warriors are taken to Rome’s Coliseum for the purpose of entertaining the locals.

For Maximus, it is a chance to avenge the savage murder of his family and the improper rule of Commodus on his home soil. After the now-recognized gladiator surpasses the emperor in popularity, the two square off in a fight to the death in the Coliseum.

Though fatally wounded by his opponent prior to the duel, Maximus slays his corrupt counterpart prior to succumbing to his own injuries. Though he won’t live to see it, Maximus has initiated honest rule in Rome by defending his homeland from a ruthless dictator.

RETURN OF THE JEDI

Though it’s the entire galaxy that’s under attack, it’s the Ewoks defense of Endor that qualifies as a triumphant home stand. When the Rebel Alliance lands on Endor to deactivate the shield generator that is projecting a force field around the unfinished Death Star, it discovers a few furry foresters.

The Ewoks quickly become allies after adopting C3PO as a god, and are eager to help the Rebels. After an ambush by the Imperial guards, the situation looks bleak for both the Rebels and the fate of the galaxy.

But those crafty little critters aren’t about to let their planet become an unwillingly participant in galactic tyranny. Armed with rudimentary spears, catapults and gliders, the Ewoks engineer the overthrow of Imperial forces on Endor, culminating with the destruction of the shield generator that had previously been protecting the Death Star.

A home stand of planetary proportions calls for a party, and the Ewoks celebrate with quite a shaker when all is said and done.