Canuck Brunch- I've Come To This Place, To Re-arrange Your Face- Oct 1


Forgive us if we seem a little excited about tonight's game.  But as the Canucks prepare to face the Oilers (again??  what the hell?) tonight, it marks their last preseason match before things start for real against the Penguins on the 6th.  Still a little time for Alain Vigneault to tweak things, get his star players (the ones available to him at least) tuned up and ready.  That means Roberto Luongo in net tonight for sure, as well as the majority of the opening night lineup no doubt.  One guy who will likely be there?  Aaron Volpatti, who just might have one-punched his way into a spot on the 4th line to start the year.  Volpatti has begun to show the things that the Canucks scouting team saw in him when they signed him as a free agent: tough as nails, with enough skill both ways to not be a liability on the ice.  No doubt Mr. Volpatti will get some attention from Oiler knuckledraggers tonight as they play for the umpteenth time this preseason.  I look forward to their hysterical overreaction to someone breathing on one of their precious children again.  More after the jump.

The San Jose game really hammered home the problem with fighting in  the NHL, for me at least, in that the aspect of this much maligned portion of the game that needs to be addressed is the needless fights started after a clean hit.  Keith Ballard throws a clean, legal hip check, and finally has to drop the gloves after a 3rd Sharks player attacks him.  This is EXACTLY when the officials should be utilizing the instigator penalty.  That's not a mutually agreed upon fight.  That's Jamie McGinn not only going after Ballard for that clean hit, but the one back in the Conference Finals where Ballard made McGinn believe he could fly...

I totally believe that if a player takes liberties with one of your teammates, they should be held accountable.  Dirty hits should be policed on ice as well as by the officials.  But hits that fall within the rule book?  It should be fairly obvious to the officials that someone is instigating this.  By applying this penalty more liberally, they send a message to the meatheads of the league: start needless fights and you will put your team on the PK.  It would be awesome to see Brendan Shanahan send out a message stating this.  Then all the Oilers would need to do is get someone to dumb it down for Darcy Hordichuk to understand...

Though it would be great to see the Canucks finish on a high note, it's hardly a prerequisite for a good season.  All 3 times the Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, they started their year with a sub par preseason.  Sure there are concerns with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond out of the lineup, but with Mikael Samuelsson, Manny Malhotra and Dan Hamhuis healthy to start the year, things aren't exactly bleak either.  Time will tell if sitting the vets through a chunk of the preseason pays off, but the fact that they got through it uninjured (save for Aaron Rome) is a definite plus. And while we're on this topic, Ryan Kesler has been skating, Team 1040's Jeff Patterson reporting that his mobility looks good, a promising early sign as he recovers from hip surgery.

Last night's leftovers...

The Oilers D took a horrendous beating last night against the Minnesota Wild, losing Ladislav Smid, Taylor Chorney and in a gruesome one, Taylor Fedun, who broke his leg after getting tied up with the Wild's Eric Nystrom on an icing call.  Nystrom got 5 and a game, and will be hearing from Brendan Shanahan on this one.  Shanahan will also be speaking to Clarke MacArthur of the Leafs, who hit the Red Wings' Justin Abdelkader with an elbow to the head at the end of the Leafs 4-3 OT win last night... One other game of note last night, as the New York Rangers defeated Frolunda 4-2 in front of a raucous Swedish crowd.  Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist was honored before the game.

BAND OF THE DAY- GWAR

Going back to the one that broke them worldwide 'Scumdogs Of The Universe', it's an introduction to their good friend, the Sexecutioner.  Uh, this might be a good time to dig out the NSFW label, kids...


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