Morning Buzz: Canucks close to claiming comrades, the Rangers are a contender, and the Seattle Coyotes?

After a terrible tragedy, Russia deserves another shot at glory.

While the country mourns another disappointing World Junior result, remember this: that Russian team had two players on the Lokomotiv plane that crashed in September — the biggest tragedy in hockey history — so it's an understatement to say they deserve a little good fortune. It was a hell of a comeback attempt by Canada, but ultimately wasn't meant to be.

Moving on, we have the greatest league in the world to watch on a daily basis, and our favourite team is one of the best in it, so chin up and click some links!

First, a funny story about last year's World Juniors. I was at a bar with friends watching the gold medal game between Canada and Russia, with Canada up 3-0 in the 3rd period. A reporter from CTV was there doing his game story, a friend from media school. He decides the game is over and wants to interview me for his "fan reaction" as if Canada just won gold so he can get out of there. It felt wrong, but I did it, and immediately after we watch Russia score 5 goals to win. He has to re-interview me after the game, while my friends are livid, blaming him for the collapse. The lesson here kids is "don't be lazy", especially when it comes to Junior hockey.

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Vancouver Canucks news & notes:

  • Derek Jory has the latest Canuck Report, which basically writes this section of my post for me. Highlights: Byron "Ballroom" Bitz has cleared himself to play and is with the Chicago Wolves; David Booth will be having a CT scan this week and the results will determine whether or not he travels with the team on the upcoming road trip; Aaron Rome sounds like he's close to returning from a broken thumb; and Roberto Luongo doesn't get mad when Don Cherry mis-pronounces his name. "Nah, it's fine, my dad doesn't get anybody's name right either, I don't get mad at him for that, it's just the way it goes." Translation: my dad is also an old man, and these things happen to men who are old. [Canucks.com]
  • I feel bad bringing this up in every post lately, but it's the hot topic: Cody Hodgson's ice time. While Hodgson himself is saying all the right things, are the Canucks flirting with a dangerous situation with his agent, Ritch Winter? [Pass it to Bulis]
  • Stanchion added this to yesterday's post, but it deserves another link. Daniel Sedin vs. Brad Marchand. [Legion of Blog]
  • Does Sami Salo need a rest? The Tinfoil Toque thinks so. [Canucks Army]

Today in Canucks history: [Jan 4, 1984] Thomas Gradin earns his 408th career point, moving past Don Lever as the Canucks' all-time scoring leader. Vancouver and Los Angeles play to a 3-3 tie.

NHL news & notes:

  • Good piece by Jesse Spector on the Rangers showcasing themselves as a Cup contender during the Winter Classic. I agree, and think the Blueshirts have the right mix of skill and character (not to mention unreal goaltending) to come out of the East this year. [Sporting News]
  • Last word on the Classic: it drew a crowd of 3.74M viewers, more than last year's game. It had a few elements working against it: the last minute time change, and the fact that it was played on Jan 2nd, a Monday, not New Year's Day. [Puck the Media]
  • Interesting note from last night: Loui Eriksson scored a goal assisted by Jamie Benn and Jordie Benn, who are brothers from Victoria. It was the NHL-debut for Jordie. Might not seem like much, but as a city we don't see many of our own make the NHL, much less many as good as Jamie Benn. [NHL VideoCenter]
  • Seattle has arisen as an unlikely contender in the Phoenix Coyotes saga. [Puck Daddy]
  • Elliotte Friedman's latest 30 Thoughts has some additional stuff on where the Yotes could be headed. [CBC]
  • The Leafs have sent Luca Caputi to the Ducks for someone named Nicolas Deschamps. That's Luca Caputi, not to be confused with Luca Brasi, one of Don Veto Corleone's muscleheads who ends up like this:

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Today in NHL history: [Jan 4, 1984] Wayne ‘The Great One' Gretzky scored eight points (four goals and four assists) for the second time in his National Hockey League (NHL) career. Edmonton's Oilers defeated the Minnesota North Stars, 12-8. The game was the highest-scoring NHL game to date. [On-This-Day.com]

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