Canucks Brunch- The More Things Change...

Rich Lam

One certainly can't say (Tony Gallagher not withstanding) that the Canucks don't provide their fans with more than enough drama. There was an electric buzz around the team as they got Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, Dale Weise and Keith Ballard back from injury over the course of couple games. Their return certainly was noticeable in the wins over those two games. But just when we started feeling hopeful, they lose Chris's Tanev and Higgins. Bloody hell...

It may be a shortened season, but the injuries the Canucks have had to endure just to get through it are starting to resemble some sort of hockey version of the Trials of Hercules. They have to be close to the top of the list in terms of man-games lost to injury this season, right? Talk about a tease, the Canucks give us a little bit of Chris Higgins and Derek Roy together, looking like they'd been linemates for life, only to see he of the chiseled abs to go down with a reported knee sprain. Add in the loss of Chris Tanev to an ankle injury Saturday to the Flames (thus effectively killing rumours that he is in fact a cyborg sent from the future to help the Canucks finally win hockey's Holy Grail), and we are back to where we started, slotting in people further down the depth chart.

Granted, having Kesler back in is a huge thing, but let's not discount the work that Higgins has done this year, putting together one of his best seasons as a professional and getting rewarded for it with a 4 year extension from the Canucks. So while the top two lines will be as they were intended, the bottom 6 will once again see some shuffling to fill the void left by Higgins. The Flames are going to have some injury issues of their own, as they will be without Jiri Hudler and Matt Stajan. It will be the same goaltending matchup in the meantime, as Cory Schneider and Miikka Kiprusoff get the nod for their respective teams.

Schneider is making his 12th consecutive start and is also starting to get some consideration as a potential Vezina candidate. His numbers certainly suggest it: Tied for 1st in shutouts, tied for 3rd in Save %, and 7th in GAA. Chances are if he continues to play he has, he'll be one of the nominees later this spring. And don't get me wrong, it would be great to see him get the recognition, and I understand why some Canucks fans are getting excited about the possibility, but there is only one trophy I want to see Cory Schneider's name on, and that is a Stanley Cup for the Vancouver Canucks. We've had awards for them (Schneider and Roberto Luongo, as well as Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and Ryan Kesler) and the team over the last few years. I want the only one that matters.

Fresh Brewed Costa Rican Coffee...

Quite a rollercoaster ride for Ilya Bryzgalov over the last 24 hours. Headlines out of Philly had him quoted as saying "To be honest, I don't care" when asked about the possibility of a buyout next season. Then this morning, the home radio of the Flyers had put up a headline stating that Bryz had been benched for allegedly falling asleep during a team meeting. It was quickly denied by Coach Peter Laviolette and a number of teammates. Poor Bryz. His life is a mess that's humangous big right now... After stumbling through the start of the season, the Washington Capitals really seem to have gotten their ship righted, and it's all thanks to a shift to right wing by Alexander Ovechkin. Ovi's been hands down the best player in the league over the last month, leaving egg on the faces of so many experts who had declared his career essentially over. While they might not clinch the Southeast Division title (and a playoff spot) til the end of the season as they battle the struggling Winnipeg Jets, a fired up Ovechkin could help the Caps be dangerous in the postseason... One game to watch tonight is Phoenix visiting Edmonton, as both teams try and get some momentum up in their quest to make the playoffs. It's a surprise to some that the Oilers still aren't good enough to make the dance (and by some I mean Adrian Dater), but Phoenix's tumble is a tad surprising, given they've got essentially the same lineup as the one that made the Western Conference Finals last season. You have to think that the team that's been such a gawd-awful mess that they've been propped up by the league the last few seasons while they search for an owner who gets their money from something that doesn't sound like Crackberry, missing the postseason and the potential to actually make money as opposed to getting what amounts to welfare is going to be a nail in their coffin down in Arizona...

KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY

Vancouver's Anciients are turning some heads in the metal world right now with their new album 'Heart Of Oak', and have landed the opening slot for this year's Death To All Tour, a tribute to the late Chuck Schuldiner featuring some of the musicians from the various incarnations of the legendary band. Progressive, and devastatingly heavy, fans of bands like Opeth will really get into this. I am really digging what I hear so far, and you should check out Heart Of Oak, they're streaming the entire album on their Bandcamp site.


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