Well, that solved exactly nothing. The Canucks rolled into Denver, played about 8 minutes and change of a hockey game and walked away with 2 points. It's messed up. We know that. Such is life in Gary Bettman's world of manufactured parity. Winning the shootouts doesn't make me hate them any less. I'm getting sidetracked here so I need to stay focused. The Canucks record over the last 12 games is 8-2-2, yet they're not playing even close to acceptable hockey right now. What is happening and why? Is this a sign the team isn't as good as we all thought? Or is this streak of ridiculousness a sign that they are in fact, who we thought they are, and being able to win these games they don't deserve to win a sign of just how good this team is? One thing is for sure, with the trade deadline fast approaching, Chris Higgins once again battling a staph infection and this funk the team is in, the winds of change are blowing through Vancouver, starting with the unthinkable: ALAIN VIGNEAULT HAS SPLIT UP THE SEDINS!!!
It's often said that sometimes to get a player or a line going, you need to break them up to either get them in gear or motivate them to play better so they may be returned to their normal spot. I suppose that message is being sent as Daniel will see time with Ryan Kesler and regular linemate Alexandre Burrows, while brother Henrik is on a 2nd line with Mason Raymond and um... Byron Bitz? That's right. Cue the outrage (please note, we are well aware that the people upset about the fact that AV is tinkering with the lines are predominantly the same people who usually get upset that the coach 'does nothing'. Take it for what it's worth).
Third line duties will fall to David Booth with Jannik Hansen and Cody Hodgson, and the 4th line of Dale Weise, Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre remains untouched. Oh, and that goalie that stole the game in Colorado gets the start tonight too. Roberto Luongo continues to shine, and while we will see Cory Schneider on this trip (likely Thursday in Minnesota) it's a no brainer that Lu gets the nod tonight.
And what of the opponent tonight? The Nashville Predators have long been a team with a Defence First mentality, but this season they've learned to actually score more than they let in. And it's this offensive prowess that has them nipping at the heels of the Detroit Red Wings for the Central Division lead. We all got a look at Nashville finally starting to realize their potential last season (before Ryan Kesler decided to destroy their little world and make Carrie Underwood cry), so it's not a surprise to see them in the running again this season.
And while much of the buzz around the Preds centers on which of their dynamic duo of defencemen they will keep, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter have many teams interested in luring away one of them, including the Canucks. Will it happen? Time will tell, but for now the Predators continue to roll along, getting that goaltending from Pekka Rinne that earned him that fat contract extension, and one of the more potent power plays in the NHL. The Canucks will, as they usually do, have their hands full with those boys from Nashville tonight. The question is, and stop me if you've heard this one: Will we see a return to a 60 minute effort and more of the dominant Vancouver Canucks than we have lately? Not that it's mattered much, mind you. The team finds ways to win. It does need to get better though, and the team, to a man needs to put in more complete efforts.
The league announced that they've rescinded the game misconduct given to the Ducks' Luca Sbisa for his hit to Calgary's Tim Jackman. Looked accidental to me and the NHL agreed... He had barely made it back, but once again Ryan! Nugent! Hopkins! is out with another shoulder injury. Makes you wonder if the Oilers made the right move by keeping the highly touted youngster up in the bigs in the first place? Sure, he's not in need of going back to the WHL for development purposes, but it's beginning to look more and more like this boy is not able to handle playing with men at this stage in his career. Just another stellar draft pick that the Oilers have compiled that has done exactly jack squat to help the Oilers advance out of the NHL cellar. So why is it that Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini still have jobs? So... Owen Nolan has a press conference to announce... something... with the San Jose Sharks. If Nolan is joining the Sharks for the playoff run is this a) a crafty move to bring on a battle-worn vet with great leadership or b) a sign that they have subconsciously already surrendered? Nope... probably just announcing he will retire as a Shark. Hm.
CLASSIC METAL SONG OF THE DAY
I was thrilled to hear that doom legends TROUBLE have recruited former EXHODER vocalist Kyle Thomas as their new frontman. So in honour of this, a double shot of these legendary metal acts: