Vancouver is listing in a calm before the playoff storm.
For a city that collectively goes post-season bananas, there has been a noticeable absence of jersey-clad Canucks fans wandering the streets and a dearth of tiny flags whipping excitedly from car windows.
But that should change today, as the Canucks take on the Los Angeles Kings in the first game of their best-of-seven series.
“It’s starting to pick up now,” said Mike Jackson, manager of Granville Sports Corner. “If they win this first game, it’ll be a relief to everybody. They won’t be scared to buy.”
Jackson predicted that it wouldn’t be long before flags start budding on car windows and people start catching playoff fever. He said that fervor will rise the deeper the team goes into the playoffs. He’s already placed another jersey order with Reebok.
For local pubs and restaurants, the playoffs can be a boon.
Sparky Makarenko, a bartender at the Shark Club, a sports bar a slapshot distance from GM Place, said the playoffs are his favourite time to work — despite the fact that he misses most of the game because he’s so busy making drinks.
“We’re expecting it to be crazy,” Makarenko said. “It’ll be packed with people, but it’s not just that. It’s the energy … Once playoffs hit, everybody and their nine best friends are rushing to watch it somewhere. It brings the city together.”
On regular season nights, he explained, the Shark Club is most busy before and after games.
During the playoffs, the bar is packed throughout the match with people who want to celebrate (or possibly mourn) in a pub with others.
One drawback for staff is that they can’t take in much of the action because they’re so busy pouring and serving drinks. They are, however, pretty aware of what’s going on in the game because of the reaction from patrons.
The bar, Makarenko added, sells a lot of beer during the playoffs. He didn’t have exact numbers, but admitted the “beer orders are a lot harder to fit into the cooler.”