As close to a 60 minute effort as we've seen from the boys in Blue & Green last night in a rather convincing win over the defending Stanley Cup Chumps. A far better defensive effort as they did a great job of keeping the Kings to the perimeter, made few mistakes, played a fairly disciplined game despite a real feeling of residual hostility left over from last April, and most importantly, showed that Jonathan Quick is human. Not only did they get him moving laterally in the net, which seemed to be the common link in 3 of the 4 goals he allowed, he also seemed to not have the best focus. It wasn't over the top, but he was clearly agitated, giving pokes, prods and whacks at any Canuck that ventured near his crease. Food for thought when they play the rubber match in LaLa land later this month.
Another thing that was great to see was the top line playing like a top line. They went head to head against the vaunted top line of the Kings and neutralized them fairly well all night, and when they weren't doing that were putting on what at times looked downright Globetrotterish. Mason Raymond may not be the answer at center, and I am pretty sure there will be something in the works, but he still had a pretty decent game, lots of zip especially on that goal in the wild (by Canucks standards) 2nd period. We saw signs of Zack Kassian may emerge from his slumber. He seemed far more engaged in the game than he has in weeks, and that's a good thing as the Canucks look to soldier on without Ryan Kesler for the next month or so.
So what do the Canucks do here? It's obvious that Mason Raymond, Jordan Schroeder and 'The Artful Dodger' Maxim Lapierre are not the kind of depth at center that is going to help the Canucks succeed. And that brings us to Keith Ballard's puzzling scratch last night. Wait... what? No one really knows why Ballard, who's played far more like the Dman the Canucks thought they were getting when they signed him as a free agent, was in the press box last night. And considering Cam Barker took the warmup, it really makes you wonder what's happening. Ballard's time in Vancouver could best be described as trips in and out of Alain Vigneault's doghouse, and while he didn't play well in the last couple games for the Canucks, you could easily make the argument that there were few if any who played better. So that's leading some to speculate that with the Canucks having a glut of defencemen right now, that maybe a trade is in the works for Ballard. His contract isn't all that appealing, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that some team out there might want Ballard's skillset, even at that price. So we'll keep an eye on that situation.
And not a terrible debut for Tom Sestito last night. The guy came as billed, a physical player with a knack for big hits, and a pretty entertaining tussle with LA's monstrous Jordan Nolan showed him to be solid in that department as well. I thought AV did a great job of keeping his shifts short and therefore effective. It will take some time before we get to see what they really have with Sestito, but I didn't hate his game last night by any stretch.
It's likely that we see Roberto Luongo tonight as they take on the Flames. Luongo's been stellar in Calgary of late, winning 4 of his last 5, and a 1.77 GAA to go along with it. The Flames are unsure if Miikka Kiprusoff will be ready to go tonight as he continues to rehab from his knee injury, so we'll likely see Joey MacDonald in goal for Calgary. Yeah, I like that too. It has all the makings of another night of Wizardous Sedinery.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
The world knows them as Ghost (or Ghost BC in America), and they hail from Linköping, Sweden. Now in the course of researching the band I discovered a couple names familiar to Canucks fans playing for Linköping HC, Lee Goren and Daniel Rahimi. It was also the former team of Jan Hlavac. This is the first track from their 2nd album Infestissumam, featuring 'new' vocalist Papa Emeritus II, who replaced Papa Emeritus. Yeah, it's the same dude. Though it's believed Emeritus is former Crash Diet vocalist Tobias Forge, no one's been able to solve just who are the other band members, simply listed as Nameless Ghouls. A real late 60's/early 70's psychedelic vibe, and a brilliant video to go along with it. They've also done covers of Abba's "I'm A Marionette" and the Beatles "Here Comes The Sun". We'll follow that with the song I had stuck in my head that was today's post title. Back to the days of the Power Hour we go for The Hangmen's "Rotten Sunday".