Monday 26 Sep 2016

Canucks in 7
Clobber Samson

Keep me searching for a heart of gold. You keep me searching for a heart of gold. And I'm growing old."

Neil Young

Getting past Nashville and no longer having to suffer the continuous mug shots of a teary-eyed Carrie Underwood was one thing. Watching my musical hero Neil Young pace and squirm before the beginning of the third period in Game 7 of the Sharks-Red Wings series was actually painful. 

I forgot how ole Neil Young is a die-hard fan of the San Jose Sharks. Has the man not suffered enough? 

A kindred spirit, I think.

While I couldn't help myself in cheering for the Red Wing-ed ones, I have to admit the picture of a very disturbed and panicky Mr Soul started me hoping that the Sharks would hold on and move on.... to Vancouver to face my beloved Canucks in the Western Conference finals.

It happened, Despite a magnificent attempt by Pavel Datsyuk to send Detroit and Nick Lidstrom into OT, those annual heart-breaking Sharks survived to bite another day.

Can you see it, Neil and I jammin' together at last.

Now Neil, as legend has it, headed to the west coast in the early 60s, driving a converted hearse, met Stephen Stills, formed the “Buffalo Springfield” and appeared on “American Bandstand.”

The first time I headed for the coast was 1979. I took a plane, Air Canada, a direct flight I thought. I walked onto the plane with the handle of my favourite fry pan sticking out of my backpack. I met David Wheatley; he became my agent and got me a gig in a Delta pub playing on a small cramped stage right beside the dartboards. I also appeared on a local, independent TV show, on CKVU-TV, hosted by Pia Shandel and Laurier LaPierre.

Neil spent his formative years playing with The Squires in Thunder Bay. I played a few times with Sneezy Waters at Squires Tavern in Ottawa. Heck, I've been to Sudbury for a wedding and to Sault Ste Marie to visit my high school buddy Tom. 

"There is a town in North Ontario, dream comfort memory to spare."

Both Neil and I appeared at Mariposa Folk Festival, on Toronto Island, in the 70s. Neil dropped by to pick up a reason. He was a surprised guest. I was a paying customer. He played solo on stage. I tried to fool around with Lorraine Brown on the lawn.

Neil worked with Daniel Lanois. I know someone who smoked a joint with him. Neil went on to win several Grammys and Junos. I won one Razzy, that's a Rasputin’s Cafe Award, in Ottawa, in 1987.

Other than that, we've led quite different lives. Neil cheers for the Sharks. I cheer for Vancouver. Neither team has won the Stanley Cup. He's waited 20 years. I've waited 40.

In 1982, a rag-tag bunch of Canucks raised the first white towel, rallied and knocked-off the Blackhawks in the Conference Final. Then in 1994, the Canucks once again won the Conference Final, in five games, against the ever-stunned and stupid Toronto Maple Leafs. Last year, the Sharks finally made it to the Conference Final, swept out in four games by Chicago. 

This is the first time the Sharks and Canucks have met in the play-offs. To the victor goes a chance at the Silver Chalice. Someone will win. Neil will lose. 

"Someone and someone were down by the pond..."

After the gold rush, one of us will be lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in our eyes, the other will be flying mother nature's silver seed to a new home in the su,. likely Tampa Bay, Florida, after the Broons dispose of them in six games.

Good luck, Neil, remember your lyrics. Keep rocking in the free world. Just remember that not only love can break your heart, southern man, and hockey teams break more hearts, more deeply and more often than does other forms of love.

Canucks in Seven games.

Clobber Samson is a highly opinionated sports commentator, especially when it comes to Vancouver "Canucks," of the National Hockey League. Expect no balance in his columns. This is good.

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