(This Cow & Chicken video has nothing to do with this post. It is however going to make milk spray out your nose when you watch it, so...)
While you know some of us in these parts would rather just see wins than worry about style points, it's hardly a surprise that Canucks fans are still on edge despite the team looking like they're slowly righting the ship. They've rattled off three straight wins against potential first round opponents while keeping the 1st place St. Louis Blues. While we can ponder whether or not there should be some sort of mandatory urine testing going on in Saint Louie, the fact remains that the Canucks are still very much in the hunt for the Presidents' trophy. Tonight, one last shot at the Avalanche, a chance to deliver a fatal blow to their playoff aspirations and perhaps address their rather blatant attempts at goonery the other night. Apparently an Avs fan has issues with my labelling Mark Olver a scumbag for his cheapshot attempt Saturday night. Comparing Olver running at Tanev and leaving his feet to Daniel Sedin's hit on Duncan Keith is as delusional as some of the stuff spewed from the mouths of Keith apologists. You don't like what I said? I'm heartbroken. I also stand by it. Just because you don't believe it doesn't make it right. I'm anticipating a nasty game tonight, and a continuance of the Canucks domination of the Avs.
The playoffs are fast approaching, so I guess now's as good a time as any to re-stoke the fire that is the Vancouver goalie controversy, right? And once again, a lot of the discussion centers around the Canucks giving Cory Schneider the start tonight, with Roberto Luongo coming off a 1-0 shutout over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night. Those in the fan base who take sides in the never ending goalie debate are getting exactly what they want. More drama that has little to do with the success of the team, and more about the perpetual pattern of self-loathing that comes with being a Canucks fan. So much of the past is filled with goalies ranging from average to truly terrible, and it's because of this that a portion of our fan base actually includes Roberto Luongo in this nonsense. It's embarrassing to see the way people talk about Lu. This is not some sieve, but one of the best goaltenders of this generation. 16th all time in wins. 16th all time in shutouts. Laugh all you want, but by the time he's done his playing days, his numbers will have him sitting amongst some pretty elite company. So why the insistence upon treating him like he's not worthy to back up Dan Cloutier? Yes Cory Schneider is a good young goaltender and is quite likely going to be a star. Can't you all just be happy that regardless of who starts, the Canucks have an advantage on nearly every opponent they play? Or are you too busy buying into media distortions, enemy fan misrepresentations and other nonsense to realize it?
The Canucks have managed these 3 wins in a way we're not used to seeing, and there's some debate on whether or not it's a good thing. They've managed to beat teams best know for smothering defence at their own game. I've seen hand-wringing that it's never good because you're playing down to the level of your opponents. I would counter that with an alteration to the way the Canucks play the game ultimately throws their opponent off. And despite their offensive struggles of late, this team is talented enough to do exactly that: lock things down and wait for the other team to screw up, then make them pay. Obviously they need to get the power play resembling even a fraction of it's former self heading into the post season. And while they await Daniel's recovery from the concussion he suffered, along with other injured players, perhaps adopting the 'Just win, baby' mantra to close out the season isn't such a bad thing. Sure, some of the games have been brutal to watch. But the real fun begins soon, and we'll get to see exactly what the Canucks are made of.
No word on what the ailment Kevin Bieksa is dealing with, but it looks like he will be in the lineup tonight. He was given a rest day yesterday. That's a bit worrisome, but with Keith Ballard and Andrew Ebbett returning to their first practices since their respective injuries, it appears as though the Canucks could head into the playoffs a lot healthier overall than they've been all season.
The Avalanche are battling for a playoff spot, but you couldn't tell by their play of late. Apart from the Saturday night nastiness, there's hardly what you could call a sense of urgency as they try and salvage a season that looked totally lost at some points this season. With just one point to show for their last 3 games, the 10th place Avs are playing game 79 of 82 tonight, and sitting a point back of 8th are in tough to try and pull this off. The teams ahead of them holding games in hand certainly doesn't help that cause. And in the two appearances at Rogers Arena this season they've been outscored 9-1, so there's that little black rain cloud, too...
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Why am I excited today? Not just because it's game day, also because there's new Ministry to hear! The new album is called Relapse, and this is the first release (I apologize for the chick in the Hawks jersey, but Al's from Chicago, so it couldn't be avoided, apparently...).