The Canucks got 2 goals from Mikael Samuelsson and Alexandre Burrows, more solid goaltending from Roberto Luongo and welcomed back Sami Salo as they dispatched the Calgary Flames 4-2 last night at GM Place. The Canucks wrapped up this 4 game homestand going 3-1 and are 5-1 for the month of February as they prepare for three games in 4 nights on the road against three teams they have struggled against in the past. A look ahead at a busy and crucial week for the Canucks after the jump...
21 games without a regulation loss for Luongo now as this Vancouver squad continues to roll. He is now tied for 1st in wins, 4th in save percentage and 5th in GAA. It might be time to start looking at him as a Vezina trophy candidate again. Can anyone beat Tim Thomas for this? There's still lots of hockey to be played, but Bobby Lu is playing like he literally doesn't know how to lose in regulation.
Last night on HNIC the topic of toughness as it concerns the Canucks was raised, and a very good point was made: do you need toughness when you have a powerplay as lethal as the one Vancouver has? It's a point worth mentioning, as teams often focus on trying to avoid taking penalties as part of their game plan when taking on the Canucks. It presents a problem for some teams, who need to adjust their styles sometimes to take the PP into account. The problem with this is some teams will simply take their chances and take liberties with us. Therefore the Canucks need to be able to have some kind of physical response should things cross that line. Chicago exploited that the past couple seasons and they need to send a message that Canucks team is long gone.
The Canucks start their 3 game road swing in St. Louis tomorrow against a Blues team struggling to stay in contention for a playoff spot. That window is closing fast for them, as the injuries they suffered to key players and sub-par goaltending from Jaroslav Halak have them 8 points out of 8th place in the West. They will be fired up for this one, and no doubt still pissed about Saturday's loss to the Minnesota Wild, which got a little ugly at times. The following night the Canucks will be in Minneapolis to take on the Wild. Is it just me or do we always seem to face the Wild on the back end of back to backs? I would imagine we will see Cory Schneider start that one. Thursday they head to Nashville to take on the Predators and then back to Van Saturday to battle the Dallas Stars.
I would imagine that barring any further injuries you will see the lineup stay the same as they hit the road. Some seem to think the Canucks will make a deal for a defenseman at the deadline or before. With Keith Ballard out for at least another 3 weeks, and no way of knowing what the time frame for Dan Hamhuis' return will be, the only way I can see them making a move would be if they got the worst possible news on Hammer and went into a prolonged losing streak. And sorry Eklund, I don't think the Canucks are going to bring Chris Phillips to Vancouver, especially with his cap hit despite the room they have with Alexander Edler on LTIR.
Fried Potatoes and Sausages
Seems like the NHL dropped the proverbial ball on suspensions once again. While they did a decent job giving Trevor Gillies 9 games, and fining the team $100k, the 4 game penalty for Matt Martin's sucker punch, and the lack of penalties to the Penguins apart from the one they had no choice to levy does little to prove that Colin Campbell isn't the biased, vindictive bastard he appeared to be in those emails that surfaced a while back. How about suspending the coach that sent Eric Godard on the ice? If you're going to admonish the Islanders in your public statement about their responsibility in controlling their players, by saying nothing does that mean the Penguins get a pass? And considering how many times the Bruins sent players out for the sole purpose of fighting the other night against the Canadiens, why wasn't there any fine or suspension doled out there? Oh yeah, that's why... Is PK Subban making a case to be the heir apparent to Sean Avery's douche crown? The Montreal rookie fought new Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul last night, suckering him as Lupul went to remove his helmet. Lupul was far too nice in giving the kid the benefit of the doubt, but Subban is heading down a dangerous path if he continues the trend of disrespectful play. That being said, Toronto's Darryl Boyce was also a D-bag for firing the puck at Subban after a whistle last night... Colorado lost again last night, and the triumphant return of Floppa reads like this: 0 pts, -4. It will be interesting to see how Adrian Dater spins this as it continues. It certainly looks like it was as much about the Avs bringing Forsberg back to try and get some fans in the stands to watch their over-rated team as it was Forsberg not able to walk away from the game, despite the fact he no longer has what it takes... Speaking of teams in the spiral, the Blackhawks tied it late but lost in the shootout to the Phoenix Coyotes. They continue to sit in 11th, 3 points behind 8th place Minnesota, and you have to wonder if they won't try and make some kind of major shakeup at the deadline to repair the damage wrought by shipping out so many of the key components of the squad that won it all in June. It's becoming apparent that they likely don't have the goaltending to get it done, as an aging Marty Turco and
NotAnttiNiemi Corey Crawford are both struggling down the stretch... Los Angeles continues to push towards the post-season as the Kings went into Washington and rattled off an impressive 4-1 against the Capitals. The Caps continue to struggle, and you have to think they too will try and do something to stop the bleeding as they fall further down the standings in the East... Mike Fisher made his Nashville debut last night, assisting on the empty net goal by David Legwand in that 5-3 win over the Avs. 3 things are apparent from that win last night: 1) Fisher in a nice fit on a Preds team that looks to win their 1st playoff series in team history 2) they really should wear those 3rd jerseys all the time. They're so much better than the regular ones and 3) The whole Ottawa boycott of Carrie Underwood's music and calling her the NHL's Yoko Ono is one of the most ridiculous things ever. If the Senators were half as good as the Beatles, they wouldn't have to blow up the team and trade away beloved players like Fisher. Instead of looking for a Yoko Ono, they should be looking at this situation's Malcolm McLaren: Bryan Murray. It's his team, and he's the one who took them from the Stanley Cup finals to the NHL's basement in just a couple years. I'm no country fan, but lashing out at Underwood is asinine. I don't blame Fisher for wanting out of that septic environment...
WAACH 'Cast's Band Of The Day
This week I wanted to do something different, so in honor of Sami Salo's return to the Canucks lineup, today I present you with some of my favorite Finnish metal bands. How much do the Finns love metal? All you need to do is look at their music charts. Bands like Ajattara, Apocalyptica and Stratovarius share the top of the charts with Eminem, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. And it's not just homegrown metal, as you'll also find Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Volbeat there. Heck, there's even a band called Hevisaurus, a band of dinosaurs that play metal geared to children. So here are a few of my favorite Finnish bands for you, showcasing some of the best the nation of heavy metal has to offer.