This Canucks season ended slightly more prosaically than the last one. No fires, no broken windows, no hungover city sheepishly cleaning up after itself and swearing that its thousands of jersey-clad rioters in no way represent the fans or Vancouver.
A loss in game 7 of the finals is an emotional explosion. Two months of swelling hope and fear converted into kinetic energy in an instant. But bowing out meekly in a first-round series, having lost the first three games, there is no explosion. Canucks fans have had days to come to terms with The End, and they've been able to turn to more orthodox release valves: Sad, solitary drinking. Complaining about the refs. Giving up on their starting goaltender. There are normal, healthy reactions to grief.
Caught unaware last year, the city of Vancouver were ready for riots this time around. The mayor and police chief openly shared plans in case of a finals appearance, and players urged citizens to be respectful, and this is just dumb hockey superstition, but maybe that's why the Canucks are out. You don't win the Stanley Cup when you talk about all the things you're going to do when you win the Stanley Cup. (You definitely don't win the Cup when you erect a 6,600-pound replica in Times Square.)