VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup visits Vancouver this Sunday. And Canucks fans are still hurting it's not theirs. For some of the more pained and juvenile of the bunch, Milan Lucic presents an outlet for their angst.
Posters of the east Vancouver native dressed in his Boston Bruins gold and black were reportedly defaced outside a cultural community centre. His eyes were poked out. His face scribbled on.
And at the annual Greek summer festival that shuts down a section of Boundary Road, the presence of the 6-4, 220-pound former Vancouver Giants star was enough to inspire fisticuffs.
Lucic didn't brawl. But words and then blows were exchanged in the crowd around him. You could say because of him, but that assertion would be false. Poor sportsmanship is the cause. That same seething and riotous beast that awoke when the Canucks' Cup destiny wasn't fulfilled, entrenching the continent's adopted and perplexing hate-on for the club during the playoffs.
"There is a certain amount of tension right now," acknowledged Lucic's mom, Snezana. "It's not all of Vancouver, just certain individuals."
When he celebrates with the Stanley Cup this weekend, Lucic will keep the festivities relatively private and low-key. He won't be gloating, at least where the public eye can see. Potential to bring hockey's holy grail to Kitsilano Beach Park for the weekend's popular sports festival, Kits Fest, were scuttled, according to an event organizer.
Seeing Lucic with the Stanley Cup would be bittersweet for Canucks Nation, just as it must be acutely bittersweet for him to keep in check the pride he rightfully feels.
Such a woe-begotten attitude is beatable by recognizing Lucic for the accomplishments he realized right here at home. However, too many are still hurting over the hometown champion who helped conquer the hometown.
Said Snezana: "That's why Milan does not want to be out there, parading the Cup around his hometown."