It's not too much to ask, I think. A 60 minute effort from the Canucks would be such a treat, as it certainly hasn't happened to date. Even the games they've won thus far haven't seen them play a solid, let-down free game. And while it's hardly something that should induce panic, there's little things that are starting to eat away at me. And yes, once again I am not going to dump this on Luongo. First and foremost? Score first. Seriously. And defence. One of the main reasons why the Canucks finished first overall last season now seems to be an afterthought. And it's not just the defencemen. Last night, the first line especially did a poor job in their own zone, looking lazy and disinterested at times, as they left their goalie hung out to dry. Again.
No time to dwell on last night's disappointing performance, which is usually a good thing. This time around? Not so much. I really hope that it's imparted on our top line just how vital it is that they be the top line. And that means coming back to play defence. It means playing strongly in all 3 periods. It's not like they can't just take over a game anytime they want, as they showed last night. But this whole leaving things until the 3rd to kick into that high gear has to stop. It's nice to know they can do it if they need to, but personally we've seen too much of that already.
I thought the 2nd line played decently last night, and showed all of the signs of trying to adjust to a new linemate. In a couple games, those missed passes will be tape to tape, and we will see just how well Ryan Kesler and David Booth can gel. They had a number of chances, and showed lots of jump, but the timing was just a smidge off. It will come, and that line will give teams fits.
Many thought that Booth's arrival meant doom for Cody Hodgson, but the kid turned in a decent game, with a nice goal in response to the Oilers' 3 goal outburst. Manny Malhotra however appears to be struggling on the wing, and hasn't looked right yet this season. Not overly alarming, but it will be good when he gets into a groove with Hodgson and Hansen. The fourth line was good last night, they had some scoring chances and didn't look like a liability out there. These 3 really seem to have gelled, and while I think Volpatti is the weak link there, he wasn't awful last night and it's so nice to have a 4th line that doesn't make my stomach churn every time they're on the ice. I am sure Tanner Glass is a hell of a guy, but he fights pucks more than bears.
Tonight, it's our first look at the St. Louis Blues. Not sure what it is about the Blues, but these games are always feisty, high-scoring affairs. Let's hope for whichever goalie the Canucks put in, it's lopsided in our favour. And just when you think things couldn't get more dramatic, we have word that Stephane Auger will be officiating the game tonight. Is this something to fear, or the perfect distraction to get people to talk about something besides Roberto Luongo. Probably both.
The Blues come into this game winners of 2 straight with a 4-4-0 record. This is a much different looking Blues team, as they went out and made some significant free agent signings over the summer to bring a veteran presence to go along with a core of good young players. Guys like Jason Arnott, Kent Huskins, Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Nichol will certainly help, and they have a goalie controversy of their own, as Brian Elliot has gotten off to a 3-0-0 start as the backup, leading some to question if he will steal the starter's job from Jaroslav Halak. The question that remains is have they done enough to get this team back into the top 8 come April after missing the dance the last 2 seasons? The Blues are missing two key components right now on the injured list, with Andy MacDonald and David Perron both out with concussion issues. Getting them back should help them compete in a tough Central division, Perron especially.
BAND OF THE DAY- EVILE
These British thrashers are back with 'Five Serpents Teeth' ready to tear the world a new one... check out 'Cult' from the new one on Earache records...
And as a bonus, here's Napalm Death from last night at Club 9One9 in Victoria doing the Dead Kennedys classic 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' (h/t to PettyBlogs for the upload)