If you were looking for a sign that the preseason means a whole lot more to the NHL than it used to, I suppose the fact that the Canucks are part of a Hockey Night In Canada doubleheader would do nicely. And as fans we certainly aren't going to complain, right? Well, some of us anyways. I am sure someone will take issue with whatever lineup the Canucks ice tonight. Someone on the Canucks will do something that will cause an appearance of the fail whale, there will be fights and people will be outraged, likely due to the fact that just like against the Edmonton Oilers, there are NEVER fights when the Canucks play Anaheim. And some hockey writer will take issue with something that Alain Vigneault or Mike Gillis has done during the off/preseason. I haven't even mentioned the words 'goalie controversy' yet, you will note. It's gonna be a long year...
The Canucks injury list is starting to get a little crowded, and wouldn't you know it, it's occupied by veterans. You can hear the clicking of keys already if you listen close enough. The most notable addition is Owen Nolan, who has suffered a groin tweak. It's a shame, because he's been impressive in his 2 outings so far, and it won't come as a surprise to see him with the squad on opening night. Andrew Ebbett (groin) and Steve Begin (foot) are also questionable for tonight. Byron Bitz (groin) is on injured reserve, and there's no change in the status of Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and Manny Malhotra.
Cory Schneider will get the start tonight, and you can expect to see him play the entire contest. He let in 3 goals on 20 shots against the Flames Tuesday night, so look for him to have a bit of a bounce back game tonight against the Ducks, a team he plays well against. The Ducks meanwhile could start Jonas Hiller, who hasn't seen any preseason action so far. Anaheim will likely start a much different lineup than the one that suffered a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the San Jose Sharks last night, meaning we probably won't see the line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. Teemu Selanne is expected to play however.
Last night's leftovers...
Hardest working man in the NHL right now? Apparently it's Brendan Shanahan. Shanny's got two more potential suspensions to hand out after some ugliness in the Minnesota/Columbus match last night. The Wild's Brad Staubitz was given a game misconduct for a hit from behind on Columbus forward Cody Bass and the Blue Jackets' James Wisniewski has been suspended indefinitely for a Rule 48 violation, a head shot against Minnesota super-pest Cal Clutterbuck. Both players have hearings scheduled with the head of player safety soon, and we can expect suspensions similar to those handed out against Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Jody Shelley earlier in the week... A couple NHL veterans had goals for their new teams last night; Dany Heatley got the OT winner for the Wild in that previously mentioned match against Columbus and Jaromir Jagr scored in his 1st game for the Philadelphia Flyers as they beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1... First half of tonight's doubleheader on HNIC could see us get our first opportunity for Christianfreude as the Buffalo Sabres take on the Toronto Maple Leafs... The Oilers and Flames meet tonight, though calling it the Battle Of Alberta is a little sad these days. Perhaps something like 'The Slapfight Of Alberta' would be more appropriate?
BAND OF THE DAY- DIAMOND PLATE
Much like the Canucks new AHL farm team, thrash maniacs Diamond Plate prove that Chicago's not a complete disgrace. This new video comes from the debut album for Earache Records 'Generation Why?'