So which Canucks team are we going to see tonight? Is it the one that utterly dominated the Los Angeles Kings a week ago? Or will it be the one we've seen far too much of this season so far? I see a lot of people saying that they're guilty of playing down to their opponents, but I think that's incorrect, because it implies an effort was made. I wish I could put a finger on just what is causing this complete and utter lack of effort some nights, but if this game isn't enough to wake them from their slumber, they're screwed.
On the bright side, this is the first time in years that a game against Minnesota actually meant something, which is good news as you all know from watching them play over the years. All of these games spent handing over precious points to conference opponents is coming back to bite the Canucks on their collective ass, as it's allowed the Wild (and other divisional opponents) to stay within striking distance. With half the season gone already, they really need to start stringing some wins together, or they'll be starting the playoffs on the road, or worse, missing them outright.
One bit of good news is that Keith Ballard looks like he should be ready to go for tonight. Apart from a couple bad recent games, Bally's been pretty solid this season, and seeing him back with Chris Tanev would be a great thing. It's obvious Tanev and Alex Edler simply do not mesh well, as we saw in that stinker of a game from Columbus. Speaking of defencemen, I may get violent tonight if we don't see Newell Brown slotting Jason Garrison in at the point on the power play. A lot of people blame AV for this, but the PP is Brown's baby, and he better do something to shake it up, cuz that baby is near death at the moment. (Please note: I know you're not supposed to shake a baby. It's not meant to be a literal analogy or anything like that...)
Cory Schneider gets the nod again tonight, and though he played well in their last visit to the Xcel Energy Center, it's the Canucks' Sunday record that has me nervous. Not sure what it is about games on the Sabbath, but damn do they just stink it up lately. Time to just get back to basics, play the kind of hockey they're capable of playing and get out of Minny without giving the Wild any points. This team needs some outright wins to get some breathing room back into the equation as they head into the last 2 months of the season. They're basically playing every 2nd night the rest of the way, so we're going to need a better effort than we've gotten to date, and guys like David Booth and Zack Kassian are going to have to start scoring if the Canucks hope to achieve that.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Because one can never have too many songs featuring an Arnold Schwarzeneggar impersonator, here's Austrian Death Machine from their debut album 'Total Brutal'. We can expect a new album from these guys later this year apparently.