10-5-4. Or as some like to call it, 10-9. The Canucks record is being touted by many as a sign that they're in deep trouble, that the window is slamming shut, and it's time to blow it all up. The events of the last 7 days certainly had me wondering if in fact that the Hockey Gods had decided to crush the hopes and dreams of Canucks fans once again. I try to be a positive guy when it comes to looking at the Canucks, for the most part, and with good reason. This is a team that's been very good for a while now. You don't get to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals being a shitty team. Of course that's not to say that there aren't things that I would love to see changed. But the notion of firing Alain Vigneault or Mike Gillis? Ludicrous.
Now, should this tail spin for the Canucks continue, I might be a little more open to the idea of a coaching change. I think that I have more issues with the assistant coaches right now than anything else. Rick Bowness, who handles the defence, and Newell Brown, special teams coach should likely be under the microscope a little more than they should be. But to hear cries from Canucks fans to see Gillis removed? Idiocy at it's finest. I get that people are unhappy, but there's a portion of the Canucks fan base that is NEVER happy. They're unhappy when they lose, like we all are. But they're also unhappy when the Canucks win. No win is ever convincing enough. Any mistake is a sign of doom. And most frustrating of all, losses and goals are 100% the Canucks blowing it, and never the fact that the other team might have played well. The notion of parity is non-existent.
Another thing I find myself wondering about, is whether or not people should still be trotting out the whole 'The Northwest Division is terrible' narrative? Take a look at the standings right now. With a couple wins and losses by certain teams, you could very well see all 5 Northwest teams in playoff contention. Even the Calgary Flames, who are pretty much universally dismissed as being awful are just 4 points back of tonight's opponents, the Los Angeles Kings. Yes, we're hearing much about how the Kings are back right now, what with them winning 5 in a row and all, but had Anaheim not done the Canucks a solid last night, we'd be talking about the Minnesota Wild leading the division. The fact is, that when you have this little separation from 3rd to 12th, it's a tad premature to be damning any division. Those Central and Pacific teams could easily find themselves on the outside looking in within days should they lose a couple, and does anyone believe that San Jose's plummeting is going to stop any time soon? It sure as hell doesn't look like it.
I guess what I am trying to say here, is that while there's some issues because of things like injuries, and some uncharacteristic bad defensive play, it's not time to push the panic button. Mr. Zandberg mentioned in his post that the Canucks slipping out of the division lead might be good for them, and I agree. That kind of adversity might be just the thing to snap the Canucks out of this funk and get them back on track.
Tonight we're going to see Tom Sestito make his debut as a Canuck, but we shouldn't expect much. Sestito hasn't played in about 3 weeks, so expect him to look out of sorts until he gets used to the systems, etc. And while we've heard that Sestito has penalty killing experience, I would imagine it'll be a couple games before we see him get a look on the PK, even with the team's top penalty killer in Kesler on the shelf. With the way the Kings like to throw the body around, Sestito's physical presence will be a good thing, and I will not be surprised if he doesn't show the fans what he's best at to try and endear himself to them tonight.
Gotta say I am looking forward to seeing the Canucks play in their 3rd jerseys tonight, the tribute to the 1915 Stanley Cup Champion Vancouver Millionaires. I have wanted to see them use these for a long time, just a shame that we won't see Kesler, who posed for the sneak preview pics of the jersey, wearing it tonight. Last night on CKNW's Sportstalk, Cory Schneider sounded pretty excited about them, as the colours were very similar to the ones he wore during his Boston College days.
Now, take a deep breath and repeat after me, Canucks fans: The Canucks are going to be fine. They can beat this team. Let the Kings and their fans yap. Just nod, smile and wait for it. Payback is coming.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Going to do a double shot for you today, first up the song I got the title of the post from, Inhale/Exhale from the almighty Nasum. Wicked Swedish grindcore to get your day moving. The band was forced disband in 2004 after frontman Mieszko Talarczyk was killed in Thailand, perishing in the tsunami that struck the region in late December. The band had a small reunion last year to celebrate their 20th anniversary, with Keijo Niinimaa of Rotten Sound filling in.
We'll go old school for the 2nd half of this double shot, and bring you a rager from Seattle thrash legends Metal Church off their 2nd album 'The Dark'.