Thursday, October 23, 2014
A Canuck is more than someone who plays for the Vancouver Canucks.
At 10 o’clock every morning in most cities, children are in school studying, while other folks are busy in their work places.
Not in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian honour guard, was in front of the National War Memorial. He was on location to greet anyone who came by. But, on this day, he met a man with a rifle and was shot dead.
That gunman was later identified as 32-year-old Michael Zehab-Bibeau.
After killing Cirillo, Zehab-Bibeau made his way to Parliament Hill, where all three of the major political parties were holding their weekly caucus meetings. He managed to enter the building and began firing.
Officers returned fire, and Zehab-Bibeau was shot dead.
Immediately, a lot of the city was placed on lockdown. People were told to stay at home, employees stayed in their offices, and students were locked in schools. No one was doing what they had expected to be doing.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators were scheduled to play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs at 4 p.m.
“I can't speak for the players,” Dave Nonis, the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager said when asked how the team was handling the situation. “From what I saw, they handled (the situation) very well. We're very fortunate to be in a safe environment here. You think more about what's going on outside.
“You hear a lot, obviously from the sirens and what you follow on television, that it was a serious and significant event. I don't think the players could probably shield themselves from that. It's something that was in every players' room and, unfortunately, that's the world we live in today.”
The NHL only had one decision to make, though, and that was to postpone the game after such tragic events.
“It catches you off-guard,” Nonis told reporters. “But unfortunately these events have happened in the past, (just) not necessarily with hockey. The league was quick to react to it. We were aware very early on that this was a possibility that the game may be cancelled. The players prepared to play, they went through the morning rituals that they normally would. But, unfortunately, the situation put out that it wasn't possible.”
It goes to show that there are more things in life than hockey.
“Well, obviously, we respect the league's decision to cancel the game,” Nonis said. “(These) events far outweigh a hockey game. We look forward to coming back and playing the game when they see fit to schedule it. Our thoughts go out to all the people affected and the police force that you could hear working so hard all day. Again, a hockey game is definitely secondary (to this).”
The shootings didn't just affect Ottawa and the everyone in the city. They took a toll on the entire country.
“On behalf of our organization, we'd like to (send) all of our thoughts and prayers (to) everyone affected by the events this morning in Ottawa,” Edmonton Oilers' head coach Dallas Eakins said. “It's a sobering day.”
While the game in Ottawa was postponed, the Oilers were scheduled to play host to the Washington Capitals.
Barry Trotz, the Capitals' head coach, was born in Winnipeg, so has Canada in his blood.
“That's just where society is right now,” Trotz said. “I mean, we probably face a little more of that type of thing in the United States, but we also have 10 times the population. It is becoming a little more common. I think the NHL is doing the right thing by keeping people safe and keeping people off the streets until they can find if there's more people involved. I think it's a real strong move by not only the city of Ottawa, but also by the NHL to recognize that, (to) keep people in their houses and safe.”
A moment of silence was held prior to Edmonton facing off with Washington.
The Oilers were able to honour the military with a 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
As well, the United States showed great support during Canada's difficult times. So did the Pittsburgh Penguins.
When two American teams play, as a rule only the Star Spangled Banner is played prior to a game. When a Canadian team visits an American team or vice versa, both anthems are played.
But the Penguins decided Wednesday would be an exception to the rule. They played host to one of their arch-rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, and O Canada, the Canadian national anthem, was included as a way to pay tribute.
One day after the horrific goings-on, the Vancouver Canucks had to find a way to do the same. After all, a Canuck is a Canadian.
Vancouver not only represented the city, but also the country.
The visiting Canucks defeated the host St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Thursday night, snapping their two-game losing streak.
“I think that was a total team effort,” Vancouver forward Nick Bonino, who finished with a goal and an assist and was a plus-2, said. “That's something we've had all season. We just weren't getting the wins the last two games. So it's good to get (this) one, especially for (goaltender Ryan Miller, who played his former team for the first time). He was a wall back there. He made some huge saves and we are happy to win it for him.”
Miller made 31 saves.
But this victory was more than just two points. It was more than just the end of a two-game losing skid. It was more than a victory for Miller, who played against his former team.
This was a victory for all the soldiers who put on the uniforms for the nation.
They are the true Canucks.
NOTES: The game between Toronto and Ottawa has been re-scheduled for Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. PST. . . . Canucks F Daniel Sedin's point streak ended at six games in St. Louis. . . . Vancouver D Alex Edler played in his 500th career game. . . . The Canucks are right back at it on Friday when they visit the Colorado Avalanche.
(Dickson Liong is Taking Note’s Vancouver correspondent. Follow him on Twitter at @DLLiong.)