Despite the numerous changes with the Canucks in the off-season, it was a familiar refrain Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks. A 4-1 loss that showed us that despite slotting in some parts that were shipped out, the bottom 6 is still a gawd-awful mess. Sure there were positives. Roberto Luongo was outstanding, and the score was not at all indicative of his play. We saw a glimpse of the PP that, if they can continue to operate like they did on the Jason Garrison goal, should serve them well this season. And there was the shot-blocking and overall more aggressive nature on the forecheck. All good things. All nowhere near enough to get them even close to being in that game.
Consistency is still an issue, as is the constant barrage of penalties, especially when playing San Jose. Blame the refs or whatever. The Sharks quite obviously know what they need to do to get calls against the Canucks, and have turned it into an art form. If John Tortorella and his coaching staff don't address this soon, it's going to be the blueprint to defeat this team.
It wouldn't be a start to the season without a major cog going down with injury, though I imagine you're as shocked as I was that it was Alexandre Burrows, and not David Booth hobbled. The cries went up almost immediately, chastising Tortorella's gospel of shot blocking, but the coach is having none of it, saying "Alex Burrows made the right play and if he doesn't make that play, he'd probably never play a 5-on-3 again here, so don't turn it into that. It was the right play. Injuries happen in a lot of different ways, so we'll continue to try to play defense – not just shot block – play defense the way you are supposed to." And he's right. If you're sitting there bitching and moaning about Burr going down after blocking a shot on a 5 on 3, you likely haven't been following this team over the last few years. Burrows has been one of the Canucks best penalty killers during his tenure, and this is hardly out of character.
The Canucks won't be calling anyone up from Utica for tonight's match against the Oilers, and if Thursday night's game wasn't enough to drive you to drink, this might: Andrew Alberts is projected to skate on the 4th line with Tom Sestito and Zac Dalpe. I will give you a moment to let that sink in, and pour yourself a drink. While the Oilers are like the Canucks still searching for their 1st win of the season, I am willing to bet that Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins' comments about possible retribution that was speculated by some and nearly demanded by Edmonton media might not pan out. "We’ve instructed our guys to play hard every night and every shift but we’re not going to look for guys who have made dumb plays" Eakins said, " The league handled it and we’re good with it."
If that were the case, the Oilers would certainly not have rushed out after the incident and signed Steve MacIntyre, who promptly injured himself, leading to them grabbing Luke Gazdic off waivers from Dallas. I don't even think it's going to take a 2 or 3 goal lead. There are Oilers who are going to be out for blood, creating a weird feeling of deja-vu around here. While I am sure many Oilers fans would love nothing more than to paint Kassian as the 2nd coming of Todd Bertuzzi, the whole incident is more like the original infraction, where Steve Moore took a run at Markus Naslund (not comparable hits I know). The big difference is that while there was no justice for the Canucks after Moore's cheap shot, the NHL did indeed deal with the incident, as well as the Dale Weise elbow on Taylor Hall. There's no defending what Kassian did. There's also no excuse for vigilante justice, especially when your team is preaching it's not even crossed their minds.
Kickass Metal Tune Of The Day
In keeping with the theme, here's some wicked folk metal out of Toronto to get you in a beer-chgging mood. Vespiria have just released their 2nd album 'An Olden Tale'. 'Pints Held High' is off their 2011 release 'Voyage From Vinland'. Check them out at http://vesperia.bandcamp.com/