Canuck Brunch- Say Hey, May Ray!- December 1

After a pretty solid November the Vancouver Canucks are looking to tackle December in much the same fashion, and welcoming back Mason Raymond in the process. Raymond, who had been out since suffering that horrific spinal injury at the hands of Johnny Boychuk of the Bruins in game 6 of the finals, will play his first game of the season on the third line tonight with Jannik Hansen and Cody Hodgson. Raymond had actually declared himself ready to go on Saturday, but with the Canucks playing so well of late, Coach Alain Vigneault was hesitant to disrupt the chemistry. Can't say I blame him, but it makes me think that keeping a player with the kind of skill that Raymond has out, while keeping Aaron Volpatti in the lineup is a bigger controversy than the one everyone is spending so much time focusing on. And on that note, let's take a look at some Canucks controversies need a bigger spotlight shone on them, plus Gabby does Disney, another reason why shootouts are the worst thing about the NHL and wild speculations galore...

I don't want to say that Aaron Volpatti's done a bad job on the 4th line this season for the Canucks because he hasn't. He's been physical, defensively responsible, and answered the bell when needed. But when you have a guy that even though he won't be up to speed for a couple weeks (and all you Raymondites need to remember this, it's gonna be a Kesler-like curve back to his old self. Be patient), Raymond's speed and skill should not be in the press box if it's ready to go. And while Manny Malhotra has improved from his dismal October, a team guy like Manny will be just as effective on the 4th as he is on the 3rd. Obviously everyone will be watching Hodgson, what with AV's penchant for stapling the kid to the bench for things like dribbling gatorade on his jersey and forgetting to yell out 'BOOM!' when he beats out an opponent on an icing call. You have to think this will motivate Silent G into another strong game. Unless he screws up early and we don't see him get the chance.

As has been discussed to death, Cory Schneider has been given his 7th straight start, as the Canucks look to move their win streak to 6 in a row. All this discussion of controversy (and whether or not there is a controversy, right @passittobulis?) made me think of other Canucks controversies that should probably get more attention:

Burrows or Lapierre- Who trolls harder? From 'Bitegate' to 'Benchgate' to basically just about every game these two have played. World-class instigators of le merde, which one of these two is the bigger pest? Tough call. On one hand, you've got Lappy's smirk, which is one of the few pure facial expressions in the NHL that can drive players to take a penalty. Burrows meanwhile once uttered one of the legendary chirps of all time (with a nice assist from another skilled yapper, Ryan Kesler).

Aaron Rome or Cody Hodgson? Which is stronger: AV's love for the burly defenceman, or his thinly-veiled hatred for the kid that they call the Franchise? Aaron Rome gets his ice time bumped when he screws up, yet Hodgson coughs and gets benched. Bonus monkey wrench into your arguement: Keith Ballard. Boom. Discuss.

Best hipcheck? Ballard or Hamhuis?- Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis are two highly skilled practitioners of this lost art. Which one of them is the more deadly? Ballard's hit on Jamie McGinn is legendary, but Hamhuis' hit Lucic so hard he hurt himself instead. Ponder that...

Normally we would have leftovers here but Bruce Boudreau ate them all...

Usually when a coach gets fired it happens after a 'straw that breaks the camel's back' kind of loss, so it was a shock to many when Anaheim pulled the trigger on Randy Carlyle in the wee hours of the morning after the Ducks rattled off a 4-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens. Even more shocking was how they introduced Bruce Boudreau as their coach, just a scant couple days after he was let go from the Washington Capitals. I bet he still has leftover chicken in the fridge from that consolation barrel sent over by his pals at KFC. While the Ducks are said by some to still be listening to offers for Bobby Ryan, this is a hell of a move by the Ducks. Boudreau for all his quirks is the kind of coach that young players really respond to, and if anyone can help this team salvage their season, it's Gabby. I just love the fact that the coach with one of the loosest mouths in hockey is now coaching a team once owned by the Disney corporation. The way Boudreau curses the Ducks might want to consider grabbing a .xxx domain name for the team website... If you've read my stuff for any length of time you know I am one of those people who vehemently dislikes the shootout. I've heard all the so-called positives before and you can stow them. It's embarrassing that the NHL still allows the fortunes of it's teams to be decided in a glorified trick shot competition. Last night's game between the Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers was the 1000th shootout in league history since it was introduced in 2005. The win was Minnesota's 4th shootout victory this season, and 3rd against the Oilers. It propelled them into 1st place in the NHL. 4 gift points, that 7 years ago they wouldn't have. No disrespect to the Wild, who have played remarkably well for new coach Mike Yeo, but this is so wrong. You couldn't have a clearer example of how the shootout, and Bettman's flawed thinking for not allowing ties have artificially manipulated the standings. It's a joke...

BAND OF THE DAY- TESTAMENT

I thought I would throw these guys out here for today after hearing their drummer Paul Bostaph is retiring because of wrist injuries that make it too difficult for him to play. A shame, he's one of metal's all-time greats.


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