82 games. Where the hell has it gone? It's hard to believe 6 months have gone by so quickly, let alone the 10 since the Finals. Yet here the Canucks stand, ready for the playoffs and a possible second straight President's Trophy win, as long as they get at least 1 point, they'll defeat St. Louis for the Western Conference title, and one more than the Rangers earn tonight gets them 1st overall. And although the playoffs don't start until Wednesday, things actually are already underway in that mental game when it comes to the fans. We may not know who the Canucks play until the smoke clears at the end of the day, but rest assured the media blitz telling other hockey markets just how horrid and undeserving the Canucks are is well underway. Unlike last year, we as Canucks fans know it's coming. So take a deep breath and repeat after me: "I will not overreact to trolling articles, they're written to antagonize and get website hits. Freaking out and RT'ing them is their desired reaction from us. I will pick my battles wisely. There's a time to respond and a time to ignore. Riot jokes and misogynistic references to the Sedins are the opiate of the weak-minded, giving them an audience validates their existence. All teams dive. All teams have players people think are dirty. Let them say what they will, facts disprove their argument every time". Oh yeah, and Embrace The Hate.
While the Canucks let one slip away Thursday night against the Flames, I am confident they will be fired up to round out things at home with a victory against the Oilers. A chance to win the President's Trophy back to back is a rare thing, and if you think it means nothing, take a look at the road record of the other teams in the West, most notably St. Louis and tell me the Canucks wouldn't want home ice all the way? One last game to fine tune things, to get the little kinks worked out. The powerplay struggles are still a bit worrisome, but overall this team is heading into the post season relatively healthy, positive, and hungry as they wrap up their 2nd best season in franchise history.
No pokes at the divided fanbase now, from me at least. While I would love to see Canuck Nation a united front, there's simply no hope for some who've bought into the insecurities and media garbage that have made them think our superstar goaltender is somehow a liability. That battle's been fought all year, and I tire of it. There are bigger dragons to face, friends. By the end of the night, we'll know which one it is. And what a good stroke of luck they'll not have to face the Blackhawks in the first round. No, not because I fear a loss. Travel is the big thing here, and with the potential opponent Los Angeles, San Jose or Phoenix, the Canucks will travel less, and with the exception of Phoenix, stay in their own time zone.
Not much else to say as we head into tonight's match, really. The key is to get through the game injury free, and hope for some sign of life from Canucks players like Ryan Kesler, David Booth and Mason Raymond most notably, and take care of the defensive lapses they fell back into the last couple games. That's pretty much it, though if someone were to say, pummel the hell out of Darcy Hordichuk tonight, that would be pretty sweet. Remember kids, it's gonna be Mark Lee tonight, so use your PVR's to sync Team 1040 and enjoy John Shorthouse's call of the game rather than Lee's pathological obsession with Ryan! Nugent! Hopkins! You'll thank me for it.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
The title track from their 3rd album, it's the kings of Florida Death Metal. I saw Obituary here in Victoria a couple years ago and they were amazing. The place went off when they played this track, as expected.