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"This is crazy! It's happening again!"

Dave "Dabbles" Riddle is on the brink.

Of tears.

Dave is Canadian.

His teeshirt reads "Canucks."

"We've been 40 years in the League. This is the second time we've lost it in the seventh game. First was in '94 against the Rangers. It's too freakin' much."

Talking ice hockey, of course. We're standing outside the Stout Public House, the pub at 1125 6th. It is totally packed. Upstairs, downstairs, inside and out. All eyes are glued to the two giant screens. Boston Bruins are pounding on the Canucks. It's 3-zip so far.

One clump of pro-Bostonites is cheering. Most of the house is groaning.

Dave Toth's one of the owners. "He's from Vancouver," says Dave LaSorte, who's out here on the mini patio helping his English buddy, Nick Coombes, munch down a long plate of calamari. Whew. Nick. For a moment I thought this was Dave Nite Out here. Also turns out the other owner is Mark Prendergast, an Irishman.

Calamari cost around five bucks, during happy hour (4:00-8:00 p.m. daily).

Me, I'm chowing down on a plate of Canada's national dish, poutine, basically fries and gravy ($3).

I'm only here because I heard the racket from the 5th Avenue trolley stop. Haven't seen such a crazy scene since maybe last time the Padres had their big chance.

Officially this is an Irish pub.

Not tonight, though.

"It's kind of Little Canada here tonight," says Dave "Dabbles" Riddle. "And you know what?It's cheaper for a Canadian fan to fly down here, spend a couple of nights, and watch this game on TV right here in San Diego than to buy tickets for the actual game in Vancouver. My buddy just sold four tickets for $20,000. That's how fanatical they are up there."

The fries with the poutine are pretty delish in a gravy-crisp sort of way, and soon we're sharing them and the calamari. There's certainly a good vibe here.

I also order a half-pounder Stout Burger ($8) to take back to Carla. What with all that's going on, the noise, the crush, it's a miracle that Stephanie the server gets it to me in fifteen minutes. Looks pretty big.

One thing I know. I'm coming back, give this place a serious work over.

Uh oh. Maxi cheers, groans. Game's over. Bruins. Four-zero. Someone behind the bar hoists a full-size replica of the Stanley Cup above his head anyway. Does an Un-Victory Lap.

"Maybe next year," says Dave Dabbles.

"Time for some more poutine," says someone.

Guess I should go.

Bound to be poutin' with the poutine.

Little Canada is going to need time to deal with this.



Canuck fanatic


Inside Stout, during anxious moment in the Stanley Cup Final


Dave "Dabbles" Riddle


Un-Victory Cup


Plate of poutine


Stout-hearted men, Dave LaSorte, Nick Coombes, John Cadwell

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