Yankee is traveling and Sean apparently hasn't taught his newborn how to blog yet, so I am pinch-hitting here on the game thread. Hemingway was not writing about sports when he penned this novel, but its title nonetheless captures the juxtaposition between the two teams in tonight's game - the Haves sit first in the NHL with 101 points, while the 'Av Nots languish 41 points below near the bottom of the league. See Sean's game preview for more statistical disparity. Suffice it to say, this is a massive mismatch on paper.
Given the difference in performance between the Canucks and Avalanche, it would be easy to dismiss this game as meaningless. Yet this is Game #72 for the Canucks, so while there is still a decent chunk of games to go before the playoffs, they are fast approaching. It is important that the team continue to build toward the second season without looking ahead to it at the expense of their overall team play. While a loss to the Avs would not be devastating, it would not reflect well on the mental focus of the Canucks down the stretch. If the Avs play us with their usual Canuck-killer instinct then it would be very easy to lose this game - but the Canucks are good enough to weather a tenacious attack and strike back to take this game.
There are some NHL accolades and team records that are still very much up for grabs for the Canucks, so if you need extra motivation to cheer you can get behind these chases:
Most points in a season: 105, set in 2006-07 (currently at 101)
Most wins: 49, set in 2006-07 and 2009-10 (currently at 46)
Fewest goals against: 194, set in 2003-04 (currently at 167)
Hart: Daniel is a contender; Ryan Kesler has also received some dark horse love
Selke: While it is unlikely he will be a serious Hart candidate, Kesler is a near-lock to capture the first Selke in Canucks history
Vezina: Roberto Luongo is among the top four in wins, GAA, and SVP, and should get some serious Vezina consideration; now if only he had more than three shutouts...
All-Star Teams: Daniel is a lock on the first team, and Henrik has a very good shot at centering the second team; Luongo could sneak on as one of the goalies
Jack Adams: AV is very deserving of this award, but so are half a dozen other coaches who have kept their teams together in the face of injury and adversity; it remains to be seen who will earn nominations
So, Canucks fans, there is plenty to cheer for tonight. Let's drop the puck and GO CANUCKS GO!!!