One of the beautiful things about sport, is that our passion for whatever game we embrace allows us the opportunity, through merchandising, to spot others like ourselves. We can see those who cheer for the same team, or for opponents, and often wearing a team's colours can work like an open invitation. There aren't many fans wearing team gear you can't just approach and have a word about the team's fortunes, right? And while the conversations can range from elation and excitement to despair and disgust depending on the team in question's position in the standings,when it comes to our beloved Canucks, there are days that I absolutely dread being able to identified as a fan. Not because there are roving packs of Bruins fans out there (sure they exist, but they're easily distracted by something shiny like a candy wrapper, or confused by a multisyllabic word), but because some of our own fans are among the most virulent of Canucks haters. And it was at the grocery store the other day that I encountered one of these types.
"Well, it's about time they started Schneider" the guy said to me as I was moving through the produce section. I turned to see a 30 something guy, looked like your everyday Joe. "They've been bloody awful lately" he said. I nodded and replied "It's been a bit of a frustrating experience watching them, that's for sure" I replied, and tried to explain that there were signs that this funk was wearing off and they would beat the Blue Jackets. When I tried to express my contempt for the team's horrendous defensive play of late, his eyes widened and he blurted out "Dude, come on! This is all just Luongo letting us down again. He lost the Cup for us, and he's gonna blow the season too. We won't make it past the 1st round, hell I won't be surprised if we miss the playoffs. He and AV have to go". I stood there for a moment. I'd seen these types online, but it had been a long type since I'd encountered one face to face. I think I deserve a medal for not lunging at the guy, wrapping my hands around his throat and choking him amongst the potatoes and onions, screaming "IT WAS NOT LUONGO THAT LOST THE FINAL YOU FREAKING MORON!!!!". Fortunately, I kept my cool.
There are some who no doubt feel that Saturday's game was a loss, in spite of what the scoreboard told us. I mean, if you don't beat the Blue Jackets by 4 or 5 goals, it should be ridiculed, should it not? Forget that this Columbus team recently knocked off the best team in the NHL at moment in the St. Louis Blues. Was the game the Canucks played Saturday one that should be filed away as an all time great? Not a chance. There's still a lot of defensive issues that they'll need to adjust in the 11 games remaining. They did however see the offense start to find it's way back to something resembling normal, as did the power play over the last couple games. This road swing, while a tough one, will give the Canucks a chance to take a little pressure off themselves, and try to get their groove back as they head into the home stretch.
As far as the Chicken Little in the produce section, the Canucks aren't going to miss the playoffs, and are actually in a pretty good place. Sure they're 6 points behind St. Louis, but they hold 2 games in hand on the Blues. A lot can happen over the next couple weeks, and I for one won't be surprised if the Canucks manage to vault back into top spot before this is all said and done. Either way, there isn't a team in that pack of 5 battling for the last two spots in the Western Conference that puts the fear of god into me for the Canucks fate.
So a Canucks team looking to fine tune and rebuild their confidence are in Minnesota to take on the Wild, tonight. Oh, the lead up to this game is electric, is it not? 26 points back of the Canucks, you could hardly believe that at one point, this is the team that led the NHL. Some of us didn't believe then, mind you. It went from amazement at how a team with Dany Heatley as their only legitimate star shocking everyone with their solid play to the same ol' same ol' Wild in just a matter of weeks, and I will be honest: as much as they hate us (and lord, how they hate us. It's pathological and a tad scary because of the one-sidedness of this relationship), I feel for Wild fans. They're a passionate bunch in Minny, and they're as knowledgeable about the game as any in the league. And even though they can be big jerks to us sometimes (right, Bryan? :p), their fans deserve better than this. Hopefully next season will see a little more of what they showed early on, as opposed to the bulk of the season. But that's next year. Tonight? Another Canucks win. Book it.
***BREAKING NEWS*** Team 1040 just tweeted that Mason Raymond will be a healthy scratch tonight.
He's coming. He's not. He's coming. He can't. Well, it looks like the ridiculous tale of Alexander Radulov is taking another twist. After being told by many media outlets this weekend that the KHL was not letting him out of his contract until the end of April, news broke late Sunday night that the Nashville Predators had reached a deal with Ufa Salavat Yulayev, his KHL squad. He could be in the lineup as early as Thursday. There's been a lot of outrage from Western teams over this, and rightfully so. The NHL's weak loophole, allowing Radulov to play elsewhere but return for the playoffs with no penalty and not having to clear waivers is embarrassing. It's tantamount to letting them bring in a ringer like it's a softball league juicing up their lineup with a guy who played in the big leagues. Radulov wanted out, so he could make more money in Russia. The NHL sends a horrible message by allowing him back without so much as a slap on the wrist, and this will only encourage others to do the same. The problem is, it's still legal. Of course Nashville is going to do this, and every team in this situation would do the same. Don't kid yourselves. It's the league that is in the wrong here. Not that I often sympathize with the Detroit Red Wings, but they can't be happy about this as they head towards a 1st round date with the Preds. Here's to this blowing up in their faces...
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
The inspiration for today's post comes via a snappy little ditty from back in the day. Scatterbrain were a funky, funny thrashy band that grew out of the ashes from the trashier, and just as funny Ludichrist. This was one of the most popular videos we featured on my old 'All The Rage' video show in Kamloops back in the late 80's/ early 90's. Enjoy.