You know you're a true blue fan when you actually get excited at the fact your team is now only 1 time zone away from being home. The Canucks roll into Denver tonight for a battle of the top 2 teams in the Northwest Division, on game 13 of the Road Trip From Hell (tm). How important is this game? A win tonight can go a long way to helping the Canucks clinch their 3rd division title in 4 years.
How long has it been since the Canucks played the Avalanche? You have to go all the way back to November 20th, part of that bizarre back to back that saw the Canucks play them on the 14th, then not again til they met on the 20th. After a 3-0 shutout loss, the Canucks have won 3 straight against the Avs, including an 8-2 pounding on the 14th. While I don't expect that to happen tonight, this game will be one hell of a battle, as Colorado looks to keep pace with the Canucks in the race for the Northwest.
If not for the Phoenix Coyotes, the Avs would be the surprise story of the year. Craig Anderson's goaltending and some strong play from their youngsters like Chris Stewart, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene, and the job by Coach of the year candidate Joe Sacco have had the Avs at or near the top of the NW standings all season long. Despite the earlier losses this Colorado team is strong defensively, giving up an average of 1.68 even strength goals per game, the best in the NHL. The Canucks, who are playing their 5th game in 8 nights will have their hands full, and their 5 on 5 play will be vital to their success.
Henrik Sedin got off the schneid with an empty netter Sunday afternoon in Nashville, but the team is still looking for the twins to get back to contributing more offensively. Fortunately their linemate Alexandre Burrows, as well as Ryan Kesler, Mikeal Samuelsson and others have picked up the slack. Roberto Luongo will need another strong performance tonight, he was solid, especially late in the game against the Predators, allowing the Canucks to pull off their 9th come from behind victory of the season.
From the man who brought you the newest martial arts technique, the Donkey Konga slap fighting method, Semin shows us a fail on a shootout attempt that forever trumps Markus Naslund's hilarious gaffe a couple years back:
The best part is at the :30 second mark. Pure gold. Sure, every blog will have this up, but I could watch this over and over and over.
A couple other big games tonight, but the one a lot of people will be paying attention to is Calgary on the road to take on Detroit. Both teams have won 2 in a row and are separated by just a point for that last playoff spot. A Detroit win is a serious blow to the playoff aspirations of the Flames, whose fans will set off a chinook of douchebagginess should they win.
Could hear something today about the suspension of Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke, as the GM's continue their meetings in Florida. Some heated debate on Twitter, as fans, bloggers and journalists are all taking sides and focusing on a topic that has already been raging for years. I predict Twitter crashes if the suspension is announced today.
Puck Daddy's second gallery of Golden Roar photoshops is up, and there's some killer ones in there.
And finally, if you're in Victoria, the Salmon Kings are filming a commercial on Thursday at the Save on Foods Memorial Center. If you're going to be there, let me know so I can say hi. Should be fun, and they're giving away tickets as well as pizza for all, and an invitation to the screening of the commercial once it's complete. Hope to see some of you there!