Lots to talk about after that game, huh? A first period that rivals any we've seen this season. The team once again showing the fatigue from that schedule they've been on. Some incredible individual efforts. Roberto Luongo once again allowing the team to hang on. Ryan Kesler showing the slump is soooo over. So let's get started, shall we?
From Ryan Kesler's 2 goal performance, to the power play once again hurting another team, to some great efforts on the penalty kill from Alexandre Burrows and Jannik Hansen (Happy Birthday to him today, btw), to Raffi Torres getting the Canucks on the board early, the Canucks showed once again that they can withstand adversity. The Minnesota Wild were MIA in the first but came roaring back in the final two periods, but despite making it close on a Mikku Koivu goal in the 3rd, the Canucks were able to fend off another playoff hungry squad and come away with the victory on Harold Snepsts night.
Luongo picked up his 33rd win of the season to help the Canucks reach the 100+ point mark faster than ever in team history. They now have a 20 point lead over the Calgary Flames for the division lead, and a Calgary loss to Phoenix in regulation means the Canucks clinch the division and a playoff spot. Personally, I won't be watching for one simple reason: this Canucks team makes it's own destiny, and doesn't rely on others for it.
One thing really stood out for me in that game: We all get a kick out of Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck missing Burrows and going ass over tea kettle into the Canucks bench, but we really should be looking at that for what it really was: another attempt at a dangerous hit by a player who gets away with this kind of stuff far too often. I shudder to think of the consequences had Burrows not been able to spin off the hit. Clutterbuck came from halfway across the ice for that hit, a clear charge. I am gonna go out on a limb and predict he will be one of the first to be suspended next season under the beefed up definition of charging. He's a dangerous, reckless player, and someone will be seriously injured by him one of these days.
And how could I let this post go without mentioning Sami Salo? While the Canucks have been dealing with defensive injuries all season, given his history this was seemed inevitable. It's frustrating, as he has been playing well since his return. The Canucks will continue to roll however, as they have all season long. This team was built with depth on the back end, and the players who have stepped in when others went down have been almost seamless.
Who can eat at a time like this?
A lot of talk at the GM's meetings in Boca Raton, FL has centered on head shots and player safety. It's good, and Bettman's 5 point plan is stunningly progressive and simple. So why exactly has it taken so long for them to implement a plan that a number of people have been asking saying would actually punish dangerous hits, and act as a deterrent? A lot of praise is being heaped on Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux for his plan for progressive discipline with fines relating to the number of games a player is suspended for and doubled if the person is a repeat offender. The cynic in me says he's certainly glad that this wasn't in place a couple years ago. Had this been taken seriously, Evgeni Malkin might have been listed as an offender under this already... great interview with Pavel Bure by Puck Daddy's Dmitry Chesnokov this morning, but doesn't ask the question a lot of Canucks fans want to know: What will it take for him to make up with the Canucks organization so his #10 can hang from the rafters. The fans want to see this and I would love to see both sides kiss and make up... The Philadelphia Flyers have learned they will be without D Chris Pronger for 3-4 weeks after having surgery on his injured hand...
WAACH 'Cast's Band Of The Day- VOIVOD
One of Canada's legendary metal acts, Voivod emerged from Jonquière, Quebec in the 80's, with a ferocious brand of speed metal. They began to turn heads as they experimented with progressive and psychadelic elements, even reaching some mainstream success with 89's 'Nothingface' album. Their lyrical themes often delve into the world of science fiction, and their re-emergence in 2002 with former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted saw the band put out some incredible music, that wasn't even slowed when guitarist Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour lost his battle with colon cancer in 2005. The band released two albums after his death, using riffs he had pre-recorded as he prepared for his impending death.