Ready Or Not, Here They Come, So Let's Liveblog It

Jan 28 10:40 AM ET Update - The morning rags bring us the same song and dance as you'd expect.

The unfortunately titled "Time for Sundin to get big" can only mean the exact opposite. "Sundin feels the pressure" suggests much of the same, but includes this gem:

Sundin suggests that he's still a work in progress, but he nearly scored on a breakaway on Jan. 20 at San Jose and has had nine shots in his last three games.

Oh, nearly scored a breakaway goal? Nearly? As if to suggest that's a sign of good things? What if he had fallen flat on his face and slid into the post? Moreover, if that was Raymond nearly scoring on a breakaway, would we jump up and down applauding or still give him grief for never scoring when it matters? Ugh...stop this stupidity. Think of the children.

No caution in this optimism...really? I won't pretend to know what the average NHL hockey team goes through over an 82 game clip, how much bonding and belief in themselves it takes to become a Detroit and not a Long Island. But I see a team sitting this morning in 10th place and a loss or two more will likely push them to 12th. They've been going backwards for a few weeks now. That alone is not a reason to be cautious?

"I would expect so," GM Mike Gillis said. "We're extremely optimistic. I don't think there's one person I've spoken to in this organization who isn't optimistic as to where we're going."

But a lot has changed since November. Instead of being in first, the Canucks are barely hanging on to third in the Northwest. Alain Vigneault has gone from coach-of-the-year candidate to next-coach-to-be-fired contender. There are legitimate concerns about whether this team is headed for a liquidation sale at the trade deadline.

"The next month will dictate that," Gillis said. "We've had our best player out for two months, and we have to see how the team reacts. Roberto clearly is getting back on top of his game and when he's on top of his game, we have a chance to win every game. We'll have to see how the next 30 days play out and make decisions as we go along."
You got to hand it to Gillis: first everyone from the Aquilinis to the sushi stand guys are all fat and happy about the sunny trajectory of the team. However, that said, the next 30 days will tell him what he really has to do which could include blowing his team up for spare parts (i.e. the St. Louis Blues yearly game plan).

Optimistically explosive! Screw hockey, get this man in politics.

Check back in for the liveblog tonight. The power of Belgian beer will fuel me until then (it's a new diet, goes great with Cinnamon Toast Crunch).

***************

Did you enjoy your All Star break? Thanks to the magic of not paying for Versus, I didn't see (nor check) for a single update from the Montreal PR fest. I caught up on work, drank good Belgian beer and forgot about hockey all weekend long.

Only yesterday did I realize Luongo got to play in the shootout. Poor guy. He must love his hometown to put up with Bettman's Detroit Hate-On. I mean Montreal box stuffers. I mean...whatever. I miss Rory Fitzpatrick.

Annnnnnyway, as the post title goes, they're coming back whether we like it or not. I hope Hawaii was kind to those who needed it because they've got a mountain to climb starting tomorrow with Nashville and Saturday with Minnesota. Man oh man do they need these four points.

On the plus side, Luongo feels he's back and ready for the playoff drive, especially coming off his heroic effort against San Jose.

On the negative side, we have his holiness. The chrome krona used the break to work on his skating yoga positions in Vancouver Whistler with other players his lady friend and the dog. Holy fuck. It really must be tough to take half the season off and then get more penalties than points in seven games played. You deserve the break guy.

"I don’t know if anybody recognized me"

I wish someone did! Maybe they would explain to you a few of the basics you've been missing over your seven game Canuck career.

But no worries sports fans...because Vigneault thinks he'll be just fine. Of course! The coach who is a poor 20 minutes away from being another statistic in this global recession thinks the big free agent signing who hasn't done anything yet will, naturally, be the big gamer who we all still hope and believe he can be.

"We need him to play well and I think he's going to rise to the occasion."

Remember that quote - let it ring softly in your head, almost internally verbalized to the melodic tango of a Bon Jovi ballad - when you see #13 sitting in the box as the other team scores. Again.

As far as I'm concerned it would be nice if both Vigneault and Sundin stay the hell away from Luongo and let him (and whoever else on this team wants it bad enough) to get the job done. Give the Kesler line more icetime if they're the only three willing to go out there and pay the price for a win.

I'll tell you another thing: the likelihood of Sundin helping this team down the stretch (even with all his question marks) is still better then the positive impact of Vigneault's coaching down the stretch. If this team starts flat tomorrow night, Gillis is derelict of duty keeping his coach behind that bench.

Postscript: I started off writing in a pretty happy mood and it took about 5 minutes for me to be back in a world of shit remembering how bad this team has been the past ten games. If they lose again I may resort to straight out voodoo. Suggestions and live chickens are welcome.

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