Few things are more taxing than having to relive the failures of a previous season's efforts. And as Vancouver fans know...this happens a lot.
Let's start with Mr. Mitchell who the Hawks exploited time and time again in the playoffs. What's his take on seeing Chicago five months later?
"We tried to say we were the tougher team. But all we did was spend a lot of time in the penalty box. We spent a lot of our energy trying to fight guys. While all of their guys just turned a cold shoulder and played hockey...I think, collectively as a group, every one of us got caught up in that...Guys like me have to make sure we tone things down. Because that's what got us into problems."
This is true though it's equally important fellows like Bieksa, SOB, Edler and - yes - Henrik aim to stay out of the box tonight too. If I see another lazy Sedin interference call, I'm putting a chair through the television.
Across the ice the Hawks are coming off a loss to Dallas (wait, didn't we beat them?) in which a deplorable goal given up by Huet helps to explain why Vancouver will be seeing Antti Niemi in net. And joining Huet in the doghouse is Brent Sopel who won't suit up either.
Patrick Sharp is leading Chicago in points (10 pts) but the same names that screwed the Canucks in May are all there and doing fine, including Kane (7 pts), Campbell (7 pts), Vertsteeg (7 pts), and everyone's BFF Dustin Byfuglien (6 pts). Speaking of which, his ass is excited Vancouver is in town. Splendid.
Obviously this is a big game for Luongo, he of the game six meltdown shakes and all. He's looking at it as a shot at redemption which is fair though I'd love to know what defines redemption here. Anyone who has watched the Canucks - especially in the last handful of games - knows it'll take their best game of the year to leave the United Center with the win. Chicago is bigger, more skilled and don't have this pent-up drama from half a year hanging over them. For the Hawks, it's another game
And that's why personal redemption is useless here. If Vancouver wins 9-8 and Huet and Raycroft are in net by the end, so be it. If Buff gets the better of Luongo again but Vancouver eeks out a win in the SO, who cares? With a losing record, the best redemption now is just getting the win. Do the little things right defensively and be smart on special teams. Ignore Brouwer or Bolland or whoever else has their elbows up (Mr. Hordichuk - if you actually play tonight - I'm looking at you). Ignore Chelsea f'ing Dagger. Ignore it all. The past is done and attempts at any sort of personal redemption are probably going to ensure the Canucks return home on Saturday against Toronto still winless on the road.