After close to two months of wondering whether or not something was wrong with the Vancouver Canucks (in spite of being one of the hottest teams in the league), a pair of weekend games showed that not only are the Canucks back in form but seem to have found that confidence that was noticeably missing of late. Don't discount who they played, the utterly dominant wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers this weekend were a shot across the bows of their Western Conference foes: Underrate this team at your own peril. Forget what anonymous polls tell you, the Canucks are every bit the juggernaut they were last season, with thoughts of playoff redemption burning brightly in the backs of their minds. Especially on the road, it might be time for even the best teams to start being concerned. CBC was bang on Saturday when they highlighted the laid back and workman like response to scoring the Canucks have adapted of late. Cold, calculated, assassin-like. This team goes out on the road and just flat out wins. Doesn't matter how, they find a way. The writing is on the wall, and the rest of this week will see the Canucks sending a message that will be hard to misread: They want the Cup.
They have a tough task ahead of them tonight as they meet the Nashville Predators for the 4th and final time this season. Nashville tightened up some defensive concerns a few days ago when they acquired Hal Gill from Montreal. Gill is a solid shutdown guy and great on the PK, which means we should see a fair bit of him there tonight. Speaking of penalty kills, the Canucks have certainly looked great of late. They've gone 5 games without giving up a goal on the PK, their longest stretch of the season. With the power play reawakening this weekend, the Canucks appear to be firing on all cylinders.
One guy who had a heck of a weekend is in the spotlight tonight, and let's face it: there aren't many out there who thought Alexandre Burrows would be playing game #500, given his path to the league, let alone playing on arguably the top line in the NHL. A testament to hard work and perseverance, Burrows' detractors are running out of ammunition, forced to bring up his past as his game evolves into that of a dominant two way player, relying less on the rough and tumble, pure aggravation style that helped him battle his way into the NHL. Check out his penalty stats, they've continued to tumble each season to the point where it's an insult to have him on lists of the most notorious pests in the NHL, it's simply no longer a part of his game. He's not a shrinking violet mind you, and can still chirp with the best of them, but he's too busy feeding Daniel and Henrik on highlight reel goals and being one of the league's best penalty killers to do that.
KICKASS METAL SONG OF THE DAY
Some guys start side projects and they seem to go on and on... but when Sepultura's Max Cavalera and Fudge Tunnel's Alex Newport created Nailbomb, they did it right: 1 album, 1 official live show. That's it, that's all. Thank dog they recorded it. Live from the Dynamo Festival in Holland in 1995, here's 'Wasting Away'...