I love being wrong. I was convinced that the Canucks would have nothing left in the tank when they took on a San Jose Sharks team eager for a little payback for a 6-1 embarrassment back in November. Not only did they not look like a team playing their 3rd game in 4 nights, but they marched into a rink they've not had much success in and with the help of a rookie backup goalie stole another 2 points to remain on top of the NHL. It's getting a little freaky to be honest, but this team is playing like they simply don't know how to lose.
The Canucks fired a whopping 47 shots at Antti Niemi last night, and kept the pressure on the Sharks, refusing to fold even when the Sharks took a lead in the 2nd after a bad goal by Jamal Mayers. Cory Schneider stumbled in the crease on the play giving Mayers a wide open cage to fire the puck into. After getting outplayed by Dallas and struggling at times against Colorado, the Canucks were the best team on the ice last night. Alexandre Burrows had a strong game with the Sedins and it was nice to see him pick up his 8th of the season, another gritty hard work goal at the front of the net.
I was a little concerned about the play of the third line last night, as they were on the ice for two of the Sharks goals, and ended up a -1 for the night. The most glaring stat of the night however? Joe Thornton was a -3 for the Sharks, meaning he was on the ice for all of Vancouver's even strength goals. The Canucks have done a hell of a job neutralizing him this year so far.
Speaking of numbers, there's a lot to be positive about. A win or OT loss against Calgary Wednesday night sees the Canucks tie a franchise record for the most consecutive games where they earned at least a point. Cory Schneider is now 7-0-2, and has won his last 4 starts for the Canucks. Is there a goaltending duo as solid as Roberto Luongo and Schneider right now? The naysayers will remind us this all means nothing, and that's not necessarily true. Finishing 1st in the conference and having home ice throughout the playoffs would be a huge thing for the Canucks. Look, we're not stupid. We know they have to get past the 2nd round. But even the most casual observer could tell you this is the best team the Canucks have ever put on the ice. This team is built for the playoffs and barring a complete collapse or catastrophic injuries (knock on wood...) they are capable of going all the way.
Ham and Mozzarella Omelette...
Just how bad have things gotten in Calgary? CBC's Elliotte Friedman reports that Darryl Sutter wanted to fire brother Brent, but the team's ownership fired him instead. The two haven't talked in weeks from what some are saying. Imagine how uncomfortable that Christmas dinner was... Who's been playing surprisingly well lately? The New York Islanders. They went into Calgary last night and handed the Flames a 5-2 defeat despite losing Rick DiPietro to another injury... The 6 top votegetters were announced for the All Star Game this morning: Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Fleury & Keith, Toews. Anyone else see this as lame? Duncan Keith is a great defenseman, but he's a -7 this season on a team currently sitting out of a playoff spot. Sorry, how exactly does he qualify as an All-Star... Could Team Canada have played a better game last night? They came out and silenced their critics, absolutely dominating the Americans on their home rink with a traditional Canadian game: strong defensive play, extremely physical and tenacious on the forecheck. There were many bloggers and others doing a lot of shit-talking yesterday, and it felt good to see them eat it. The facts were true: Canada had to overcome many challenges through the tournament, while the USA hadn't faced any adversity since the first game of the tournament. The game Wednesday against Russia is going to be epic.
WAACH 'Cast's Band Of The Day- KATAPLEXIS
Today we're gonna get a little heavy with a death/grind band out of Calgary. Kataplexis is an amazingly technical band that really stands out in one the country's best metal scenes, and drummer Dave Callahan is not only a good friend of mine, but a diehard Canucklehead representing over there in Cowtown. Dave and I used to work together in Kamloops, and he was the drummer for my band in our brief existence.