There were many that spoke out, railing against the coach and the management. "Are they crazy? Andrew Alberts over Shane O'Brien?". They thought it wasn't a big deal. They thought it was an over reaction. And some thought they shouldn't have sat him no matter what. Yet with word coming out now that the situation with O'Brien was more about his weight gain and apparently lack of desire to fulfill even his most basic of roles with the team, I ask those of you who do things like start web sites in support of him to kindly give your head a shake. This is the kind of thing that can push a team over the edge, and they're certainly showing signs of it. More after the jump...
When you look at the ordeals this team has had to endure this season: injuries to top players, Auger-gate, that colossal road trip, Pavol Demitra's health and personal issues and Luongo's struggles, that's enough to crush a lot of teams. But to have a disruptive force in the room that pretty clearly doesn't give a damn about the team or his team mates and their goal, this close to playoff time can be disastrous for even the most solid of teams.
They don't need the distractions. And they certainly don't need the feeling that comes from knowing you can't rely on one of your team mates. And that is exactly the situation Shane O'Brien has put them in. Reports are he is working his ass off, trying to shed the excess pounds and shame he feels. He better feel shame. Am I coming across as harsh? Too damn bad. Millions of dollars invested, blood sweat and tears. This team, the city and it's loyal fans have suffered enough. There is no room for someone whose priorities are not in the right place.
Shane O'Brien is supposed to be not just doing his clearly defined role to help the Canucks advance in the playoffs. He is also supposed to be showing Canucks management that he wishes to remain a Canuck beyond this season, as his contract expires this summer. He has far from done that, and I think it's safe to say it's been to the detriment of the team. So don't you dare feel sorry for Shane O'Brien. If you're a fan of this team, he has let you down. Apology? Sure, but if the management feels he is ready and deserving, he needs to show he's sorry on the ice. If not, it's gonna be a (hopefully) long and boring playoff run for him in the pressbox.
The Canucks are back home after a split on the road, and playing in front of their 300th consecutive sellout crowd. They best not be complacent however, as the freshly eliminated Minnesota Wild will be eager to play spoiler tonight at GM Place. Roberto Luongo will be the focus tonight, as he looks to silence the critics yet again after that disastrous night in Los Angeles. Luongo's been so good in bounceback games however, and with the confidence built up after a strong game against the Ducks, including a hat trick from rookie Micheal Grabner, the Canucks should be ready to roll.
Another thing to watch is Henrik Sedin, and just how much he can expand his lead on Alex Ovechkin tonight. Ovechkin was held pointless in the 3-2 win yesterday over the Blue Jackets. After the game, president of the Ryan Kesler fan club and Jackets' winger RJ Umberger made a ton of new fans in DC with his comments:
"I don't think any team in the West would be overmatched by them," Umberger said. "They play the wrong way. They want to be moving all the time. They float around in their zone, looking for breakaways and odd-man rushes.
"A good defensive team is going to beat them (in the playoffs). If you eliminate your turnovers and keep them off the power play, they're going to get frustrated because they're in their zone a lot." And of course, you know the Capitals just laughed and brushed it off because they never, ever, NEVER complain to the media about anything.
Look... fuck breakfast. Just give me the chocolate.
A small but very sweet basketful of games today. The early game on NBC/TSN has the Detroit Red Wings in the city of brotherly love to face the Flyers. Philadelphia will be looking to shore up their chances at a post season slot, while the Wings can move into a tie for 5th with Nashville, and the Wings will still have a game in hand on the Preds, thus giving them the tie breaker. A Coyotes/Red Wings first rounder? Awesome, right? Just think of how many kickass shootouts there will... oh right. Nevermind.
Calgary and Colorado get a chance to determine their own fate today, the Flames get Chicago, and the Avs faceoff against the Sharks. As a Canucks fan, it's high comedy seeing the hoops these two teams have to jump through, knowing one of them won't make it. That being said, go Avs. I hate the Flames.