Dustin Brown, mid-dive. The master in action. - Victor Decolongon
A lot was made about Alain Vigneault's 'coin flip' method for deciding which goaltender would start. In a way, that's pretty much become a symbol for their whole season. Is this year a write-off, with injuries to key players, disappointing performances from the ones that are healthy and a rather large dose of bad luck? Or is the mounting adversity the team's facing a blessing in disguise?
On the surface, this one has ass-kicking written all over it. Mounting injuries, a suspension to a top defenceman and an afternoon matchup on the road? One could hardly blame you if you plunked down some money on the Kings to win today. At the same time, given the way the Canucks have battled last year's Champs in their two previous meetings, and the way they gutted out their last 2 wins should give you hope for optimism. Things have been looking pretty bleak of late, and there's a lot of issues this team needs to fix heading into the post-season, but with a win and a little help, they can wrest control of the division lead out of the hands of the Minnesota Wild today.
Obviously it's gonna be difficult with Alexander Edler being forced to sit for 2 games thanks to that ridiculous suspension handed down by the NHL yesterday. I don't know what else I can say about it, really. Edler had nowhere else to go on the play, braced himself for impact, and as a result got the book thrown at him by the Department of Player Safety who got hoodwinked by one of the NHL's premiere charlatans. When Chicago and Boston fans come to us and tell us they actually think it's garbage, you know there's an issue. It's not that there's a conspiracy. Despite the fact that the Phoenix Coyotes are run by the NHL, (and yes, I know what I said in frustration on Twitter yesterday), I don't believe that the suspension was handed down as part of some grand deal to protect their asset. If that was truly the case, Dustin Brown would have been suspended for his dirty knee on knee job on Michal Rozsival in the playoffs last year. No this is all about a constantly changing set of parameters, rules that seem to apply to some hits and not to others despite being virtually identical. We joke about the 'Wheel of Justice'. But it's clearly a case of laughing, so we don't cry. The frustration of the apparent lack of competence, and the seeming appearance of favoritism towards teams or star players is maddening. The league does little to keep their fans from thinking they exist by constantly contradicting themselves when it comes to player discipline. You may remember Canucks fan MAKAVELI's great YouTube videos, and he's just released a new one taking a shot at the Dept. Of Player Safety, and this is exactly what the NHL reaps with their incompetence.
Anyway, nothing more to say. Time to move forward. The Canucks can at least breathe a sigh of relief that Chris Higgins is back in the lineup after missing Thursday's game with a sore back. Chris Tanev was hobbling yesterday at the morning skate, but says he's good to go as well. Gotta give credit where it's due, while Tanev may not look the part, that is one tough son of a bitch. In the last week or so, he's taken a puck to the head AND a Shea Weber shinpad-shattering slapshot to the knee, and not missed a game. Not bad for a free-agent pickup.
Cory Schneider gets the start today, and looks to build on a couple really solid games. He's had some ups and downs so far this season, but his last two starts have been among his best, the only shots beating him being lucky bounces for the other teams, really. They'll be facing an LA team looking to take out their frustrations on the Canucks after getting shutout by Dallas the other night. Not that this game needed anymore build up, right?
Is it going to be a shock if the Canucks get their asses handed to them today? Nope. Between the patchwork lineup and their record in afternoon games, this one has loss written all over it. At the same time I can't shake the feeling that this game reminds me of another daytime tilt in recent memory: the epic battle last season when the Canucks walked into the bear's den in Boston and walked out with a win. Let's just hope it has a better impact on the team, and they build off a win today as opposed to having some kind of psychological letdown afterward like they did against the Bruins. It's not the end of the world if they lose, but a win today is bigger than just the two points available.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Going back to our buddies Prong today, with the inspiration for the title post. This is a remix of the title track from their 4th album, and as a bonus, gonna throw in another track from that album, Brainwave.