Another game, another attempt to replace a key part of the lineup for the Canucks. Already missing forward Alexandre Burrows (injury), the Canucks welcome Zack Kassian back from his 8 game suspension tonight (though he will not play tonight, go figure) just in time to see Edler bow out for the first of 3 games for his hit on San Jose's Tomas Hertl Thursday night. I don't want to go into great detail on this, most of what I would likely say's already been discussed in the thread about it. It's pretty clear to me at least, that Edler really didn't give them much choice here. Contact with the head, previous offence, and the change to the wording of Rule 48 made this one a pretty easy call for Brendan Shanahan.
Bottom line here, is that Alex Edler and other players have to adjust. There was a lot of comments about this being the death of hitting in hockey, and I think that's over-reacting. While I am frustrated to see a Canucks player get suspended, I am happy to see that, at least for now, the Dept. Of Player Safety seems to be sending a message to players that headshots are going to get dinged. Looking out for the health and well-being of other players by letting the league know that high hits to the head of all sorts are going to be a suspendable offence isn't a bad thing. One only need look at the mess the NFL is finding itself in over not taking the concussion issue seriously to understand why it's important they address this. It does, as mentioned in the suspension thread, open up the hypocrisy when it comes to fighting though, and lord knows that debate will continue to rage on. If there's a bright side to all this, it's that we may actually see Don Cherry's head explode as he tries to figure out whether we should be mad at Hertl, Edler, Jason Botchford or Tomas Vanek? Things are tough enough trying to deal with injuries, but losing guys to suspension seems like, at least partially, a preventable thing? There's nothing wrong with the more aggressive style that the Canucks are playing, as long as they know where that line is and don't cross it. That line was clearly shown to them by Brendan Shanahan yesterday.
On to tonight's game, and a chance to do battle with the Montreal Canadiens. It's great to see the Habs back in town after not playing them in the lockout shortened season earlier this year, as the games against the Eastern Canadian teams are always entertaining. Montreal are coming off a 4-1 win in Edmonton Thursday night (and thanks for that, by the way) but we can hope that the Canucks won't be as gracious hosts as the Oilers were. There's lots of interesting stories to tonight's game: The battle between two potential Team Canada goalies in Roberto Luongo and Carey Price, the return of former Vancouver Giant Brendan Gallagher, and of course how many season ticket holders will come out of the closet in their Habs gear tonight.
A win to shake off the bad taste that another loss to the San Jose Sharks has left in the collective mouths of the Canucks will be good before they head off on this long-ass Eastern road swing next week, playing 7 games in 11 nights, with 2 back to backs thrown in there. Getting back into the groove that they seemed to have settled into before Thursday would be a good thing.
Kickass Tune Of The Day
While It isn't really metal, Faith No More is a band that will always have a spot on my ipod. One of their more underrated tracks here. Enjoy the game, everyone.