Canuck Brunch- Road Trip To Whore Isl... I mean, Colorado- November 23


It's funny how things come up like this particular game.  It was game 21 last season, that saw a struggling Vancouver Canucks team head into Colorado and win a game that not just led to a winning streak, but sent them off on a ridiculous 17-1-2 run that defined their season and established the Canucks as the team to beat on the road to the Stanley Cup.  And it wasn't just the domination they showed.  It was that from this moment on, this team became a road beast.  The Western Conference is still fairly jammed up, and a small run, even 4 or 5 games can help the Canucks in a huge way.  Can they find themselves again?  The timing of this road trip might be perfect.  And considering how well the Canucks have played against the Avalanche over the last couple seasons, along with the way Cory Schneider is playing right now, should give us all a reason to be confident heading into tonight's action.

The game against Ottawa, while far from perfect was full of things that could be looked at positively.  A tightening up defensively, especially after a couple ridiculous blowout losses this month that has seen their D play look embarrassingly bad.  They will need to step things up offensively (recurring themes ftw) and take advantage of an Avalanche team that, while they have improved things in their back end a lot over last season, still give up an average of over 3 goals per game.  Colorado is struggling in the Pepsi Center right now, having scored just 18 goals while losing 7 of 10 games at home thus far. 

Another thing that could play right into the Canucks' hands tonight is the Avs penchant for taking penalties.  The Canucks have shown a few times this season that taking a lot of penalties is akin to gift-wrapping the game for them, and when you add in our ol' pal SOB, expect a number of power plays for the Canucks.  While the Avs and their fans have been pleased with Shane O'Brien's play so far, we know better than anyone that he does relapse into the type of behaviour that saw him wear out his welcome in Vancouver. 

Mason Raymond and Keith Ballard both took the optional skate this morning meaning they will not be in the lineup tonight, but you have to think both of them are gonna be seeing game action before this road trip ends.  The return of Raymond might help the Canucks jumpstart their 5 on 5 play, which has been discussed and analyzed to death.  Both teams have struggled 5 on 5 this season and something has to give, right?  Of course we thought that about playing Ottawa too...

One thing that has to happen for the Canucks to get their 5 on 5 poop together is someone besides Chris Higgins scoring for the 2nd line.  With Booth's welcome period now over and Ryan Kesler playing in game 500 for the Canucks, it's time to start playing like the threats they're supposed to be, making teams have to make the choice as far as coverage goes to focus on them and free up the Sedins or leave the 3rd line be so that they can create some havoc.  Either way, the Canucks need everyone to provide 60 solid minutes tonight, as they've shown so far that even taking half a period off comes back to bite them on the ass.

Leftovers...

Sure it's game night for us, but the eyes of the hockey world are locked on Buffalo tonight as the Sabres prepare to face the Boston Bruins for the first time since Milan Lucic  ran Sabres G Ryan Miller a couple weeks back.  The majority of hockey fans chastised the Sabres for their lack of response to the Bruins once again bullying their way through a game, and the Sabres vowed that things would be different the next time this happens.  It's a dangerous situation in a number of respects.  The Bruins aren't going to wait for the Sabres to fire the first shot, we all know that, and will likely instigate something early in the game.  The question for the Sabres is, do they just try and go toe to toe with Boston (which would end badly), do they seek out revenge by going after Tim Thomas (which would end badly) or do they try and balance the situation by standing up for themselves AND staying focused on the 2 points against a divisional rival.  One thing we know about the Bruins, is that when they get into that Big Bad Bruins zone, they go over the top.   Maybe the Sabres need to get them there, and try to take advantage of them on the PP.  And let's face it: with no one standing up for Ryan Miller, who is still out of the lineup with the injuries suffered from Lucic's hit, someone needs to take one for the team and take out Thomas.  Here's one thing that needs to be considered:  What if Buffalo really does take out Thomas?  Will the hockey media actually have the stones to give them credit, or will they do as they have done throughout the Bruins return to their old goonish ways and simply parrot the outrage that will come from the B's scribes when they finally give as good as they get?  I have a serious doubt that we're gonna see a lot of media condemning Boston regardless of what happens.  Either way, this game ends in one of two ways tonight: either a jaw-dropping disappointment (much like that 1-0 win over Montreal was) or an utter bloodbath, with lots of hand-wringing about violence in hockey.  Remember, you asked for this.  Buffalo needs to deal with this, not just for themselves, but to send a message that the Bruins can't get away with this garbage all the time... Oh, I suppose the only good thing about seeing Brendan Shanahan levy a fine against LA Kings D Drew Doughty's gutless crosscheck on St. Louis Blues' TJ Oshie with less than 2 seconds left in their 3-2 win last night, was that Doughty is finally in the system so that his next dirty hit makes him a repeat offender.  He crosses the douchebag line far too easily, and while the difference between his hit and the one that saw the Blues' Chris Stewart get suspended for is minute to say the least.

BAND OF THE DAY- UNCLE SLAM

Continuing in my old-school kick (better get used to this, it's gonna last a while) comes a band definitely from the crossover side of the metal family tree.  They came out of the same scene that brought us bands like Excel, No Mercy, Beowulf and most notably Suicidal Tendencies (and one time ST members Louiche Mayorga and RJ Herrera were in the band).  I remember hearing this on CFOX's "Monday Midnight Metal Shop" back when I was in high school, and this track holds up surprisingly well...


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