There was a point early last season where you could easily predict what the Canucks, and more importantly head coach Alain Vigneault, were going to do. Ever the calm, collected one, Vigneault seemed in denial to what we could all see: this team was headed nowhere fast, and proved it against tonight's opponents, the San Jose Sharks. As Yankee mentioned in this Morning Buzz, the Canucks have lost 9 straight games to the Sharks. There hasn't been a team who's had that kind of dominance over Vancouver since Colorado's heyday. Success for the Canucks in the new Pacific Division this season, they're going to need to figure out the Sharks, and no better way to do it then get one of the matches out of the way early.
And so with Vigneault gone, we officially usher in the John Tortorella regime. And while the fiery coach has sworn he's a changed man, and seems to be taking a kinder, gentler approach to the media, we've seen signs that the Canucks are playing with a little more of the grit that his teams are known for, something that is going to be necessary to get them through a division with some pretty tough teams.
One of the keys to this season will be redemption, not just on a team level, but personal as well. There were a number of Canucks who were, well, bloody awful last season. Alexander Edler and David Booth spring to mind, though to be fair Booth staying healthy would be a victory in and of itself. Ryan Kesler will need a return to form, as well as the kind of goaltending we saw from Roberto Luongo in seasons past. We don't need to rehash the whole situation, unless you were in a coma, you know what the deal is. It's his team again, and he is gonna get the majority of the workload. Their success is on his shoulders once again. Can a more mature Luongo overcome this ridiculous circus-like atmosphere and lead the Canucks forward once again? We'll see...
Egg Salad? Eh, why not?
While it's silly to think the first two games are a sign a team's headed for success, you have to think the Leafs are pretty happy with the way they've started off, grinding out back to back wins against Montreal and Philadelphia on the road. The interesting thing will be to see if a media circus involving that team's goaltending develops like the one we saw here for the past couple seasons, with Jonathan Bernier looking pretty sharp in the win over the Flyers last night. You know it's just a matter of time, and one bad game for James Reimer before the T.O. media go into a feeding frenzy over that... The good thing about Torts making his debut tonight? Pretty unlikely he will be able to upstage Patrick Roy in his coaching debut for the Colorado Avalanche last night. It's likely to be a costly one for Roy, as you can guarantee he'll be getting a call, and a fine from head office... Still waiting for Oilers blogosphere to chastise Ladislav Smid for his gutless hit from behind/cross check to the neck combo on the Jets' Mark Scheifele on opening night. Then again, still waiting for Brendan Shanahan to get involved as well...
Kickass Metal Tune of the Day
It's been 17 long years, but the wait was well worth it, as Carcass have made a triumphant return with their new album 'Surgical Steel'. It may have been almost 2 decades since their last record, but they sound as sharp and on point as ever. They recently played the Noctis festival in Calgary, and I am pretty sure we can expect a full North American tour next year.