This is word-for-word from the first half of my regular Blog just posted, but I thought it deserved a spot all on it's own ...
The Canucks did just about everything right last night in the season opening 6-0 win over the Flames, but the part they pulled off without a hitch came before the game itself, during a moving, yet under-stated tribute to Luc Bourdon.
These are things that have to be done, things that everyone from fans to people associated with the team genuinely want to happen; but at the same time they can end up being awkward, over bearing and unfulfilling on many occaisions. Not this one, it is hard to imagine the team being able to put on a more fitting ceremony for their lost teammate.
From the permanent "Wall Of Dreams" dedicated in Luc's honour in the concourse of GM Place; to bringing in Tom Cochrane to perform a reflective rendition of his anthem-like Big League in unison with a Video Montage; to Luc's mother and girlfriend being presented the last jersey Bourdon wore in a game from the "Sweater off our backs" night to close out last season in April; to the fabulous graphics of pictures of Luc himself and the LB the team will wear this year projected onto the ice; to giving everyone in attendance a commemorative lapel pin honouring Bourdon; to giving the charitable portions of a $82K 50/50 Draw carry-over from last year and the same from last night's draw in Luc's name, everything was done with ultimate class and respect.
Then you have the story of how Bourdon's closest friend on the team in Alex Burrows managed to put all his emotions aside and pick up the game's first star after scoring 2 goals on seeing-eye one-timers.
Burrows had been out for dinner the previous night with Luc's mother and girlfriend and they had all talked about him getting a goal in the game.
"They were were wishing for me to score a goal tonight, last night at dinner," he said. "That was maybe a little gift for them."
He kept the puck for the Bourdon family and celebrated his first goal by shooting with a Bow and Arrow motion to the heavens as his own little tribute to his fallen friend, a move that Luc himself used to in his younger days.
"He used to do this move after he scored goals in junior like he was pulling the bow and shooting," Burrows said. "It was just a little tribute to him. I thought about it right away after I scored. I remember he used to do that all the time."
The Canucks not only impressed everyone with the ceremony itself, but perhaps just as impressive was how the organization prepared the team for the emotional event ... mourning one's teammate is generally not the best way to step into a season opening tilt against your biggest rival.
Every detail of the event was explained to the players so that there would be no surprises. Over the last week or so the team was shown the video twice as a team and extra copies were made available for anyone who wanted to watch it at home with their families ... Burrows has now watched that video almost 10 times and still had to stop watching it a bit last night to fend off the emotions.
Canuck's management can not be praised enough for everything involved in honouring the tragic passing of a young man who touched a lot of poeple along his chosen path to play in the Big League ...