Game 2 of the 6 game roadtrip sees the Canucks roll into Minnesota don'tcha know? The Wild have to be pleased with their start, despite their struggle to score goals. It's not something we see their fans getting terribly upset about as there are still residual effects of the Cult Of Lemaire years, so 2-1 games don't bother them a bit. And let's talk today about their goaltending situation. You know where we're going with this, right? Wild coach Mike Yeo insists there's no controversy. We know how this works. The moment the question is asked, regardless of the answer, it's already begun. And with Josh Harding off to a great start, and Niklas Backstrom having lost as many as he's won (more so if you include the OT & SO games), it seems very much like a goaltending controversy, starting the #2 guy against a divisional rival. And don't start talking about why Cory Schneider is playing. This is about them, not us. It makes you wonder what the Wild fans are gonna do after realignment and we're not in the same division anymore. Where will their irrational, pathological hatred be focused on? Hmm, probably Detroit...
With new players and new coaching, the Wild are definitely trying to move out of the doldrums that they've been locked in for some time now. Adding guys like Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi gives them an offensive punch they haven't had in years, and their defence has performed well, one of the reasons why their GA is significantly lower than the Canucks. It's not just about the goalies. That being said, they have just 23 goals in 11 games, and are going to need more contributions, especially from guys who weren't wearing teal last season if they want to continue to stay in the top 8.
Looks like there won't be any changes tonight for the Canucks apart from the aforementioned start for Schnieds. Aaron Rome isn't being inserted back into the lineup just yet, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on Keith Ballard and Alexander Sulzer tonight, and see which of these two performs better. The one who doesn't could be the one that sits for Rome's return.
Another thing to watch tonight is L2, and will this be the game we see David Booth finally light the lamp. He and Ryan Kesler seem to be starting to click, but these near misses mean nothing. It's time for Booth, and Kes to be playing like the dominant 2nd liners they're capable of. I have to say I am excited for Mason Raymond's return, that just might be the fastest line in the NHL once MayRay is at 100%. It will certainly do more to free up the threats that are the other lines the Canucks are rolling right now. I think once Raymond returns, this team might even be deeper than last year's incarnation. Scary thought.
Last Night's Leftovers
The Leafs continue to roll, as they spoiled Martin Brodeur's return to the Devils' lineup with a 5-3 win. Joffrey Lupul's 3 goals in 6:42 on Brodeur might have had something to do with that... Is there a bigger weasel (apart from a certain big-nosed douche in black & gold) in the NHL than Patrick Kaleta? The Sabres forward has a date with the Shanahammer after he headbutted the Flyers' Jakub Voracek last night... Big news out of Nashville this morning as the Predators re-signed Pekka Rinne to a 7 year deal worth a reported $49 Million a year. While that's a great message to send to their fans in terms of making sure their star netminder is locked in for the long haul, when you consider they still have to try and figure out how to get Ryan Suter and Shea Weber re-signed, this makes it that much more difficult. And with Suter being an UFA, I won't be surprised to see Weber in a new uniform come next season.
BAND OF THE DAY- DECAPITATED
Polish death metal stalwarts Decapitated have managed to persevere through some things that would have destroyed other bands. They managed to reform after a horrific tour bus accident in Russia in 2007, in which they lost drummer Vitek and then vocalist Covan (who I interviewed previously on this tour during their Victoria stop) suffered injuries that left him in a coma for a period of time. Now comes word the band survived a plane crash in Warsaw, on a flight from New York:
Got a couple tracks for you from these guys, first from 2000, my favorite track featuring Vitek (who was 14 when this was recorded), 'Blessed' from the compilation album 'Polish Assault'. And 'The Knife' from their latest release 'Carnival Is Forever'.