The Vancouver Canucks knew heading into that beast of a 7 game road trip that it wouldn't be easy, and 11 days later when the smoke cleared, they indeed had paid a price, losing 3 forwards to injury. While we are still finding out the seriousness of the injuries to Dale Weise and David Booth, Jordan Schroeder was seen hobbling around Rogers Arena in a full leg cast and crutches. If there's some good news out of all that, it's that a) the defence came out of it all fairly unscathed and b) Alexandre Burrows could be ready to return to the lineup tonight. (BREAKING: Coach John Tortorella confirms Burrows will in fact be ready to go for tonight's game. We also learned about the injury timelines and they are as follows:
@VanCanucks: Weise out for 3-4 weeks; Booth out for 1-2 weeks. Schroeder out for two months. Hansen is 3-4 weeks away.
The NHL also just announced their 3 stars of the week, and Ryan Kesler, aka the Beast in BeastModo, was named a very well-deserved 3rd star of the week.
No matter how you try and discount what the Canucks accomplished over the last couple weeks (and some are) this historic road trip has given the Canucks a serious boost in an ultra-competitive Western Conference this season. Points are going to be hard to come by for every team (yes, the Avalanche and even the Sharks will regress), so the more W's the Canucks can rattle off, especially when it doesn't matter if they give one away in OT to an Eastern squad, the better. You don't want to have your team battling for a wild card spot coming out of the Olympic break. Get out ahead and stay there.
I've always felt that the Washington Capitals and Canucks were kindred spirits in a way, even more so than our expansion cousins in Buffalo. A history checkered with losing seasons and disappointment, and some great moments where they ultimately fell short of the ultimate prize in hockey. A star player, often ridiculed and misunderstood not just by the media and opposing fans, but the home town fans as well. And while the jury may still be out if Roberto Luongo is going to return to world-beater form, Alexander Ovechkin is doing a fine job of silencing critics who had claimed his glory days were gone, hanging right there with Sidney Crosby for the scoring lead (and it should be noted, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, 2 other players supposedly regressing to the point some feel they're no longer 'stars'). The Canucks will certainly have their hands full tonight as they try and keep Ovechkin in check.
With a Caps team coming off an ass-kicking at the hands of the Calgary Flames Saturday night (I know, right?), and a Canucks team coming off the high of trolling the heroic David Backes, this one has all the hallmarks of a classic first game back from a road trip let down. Staying focused and getting right back into the lunch-bucket mentality that Tortorella and his coaching staff are instilling in this team will be a huge factor in locking down 2 more points and keeping up with the Ducks and Sharks in the Pacific Division.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Had this song rattling around in the ol' noggin for a few days in advance of this game, a classic from one of prog-metal's finest: Fates Warning. I'm sure you'll get a chuckle out of the visuals from this 22 year old video, but the tune holds up remarkably well in the genre, and it features one of vocalist Ray Alder's finer moments in the band.