|Time||Saturday 7:00 PM
|Season Series||3-1 Canucks
|The Enemy||The Copper And Blue||Scoring Leaders||H. Sedin: 11-37-48
What kind of positives can be drawn from even caring to watch this game against two Canadian teams that will not be in the playoffs? I will give you five answers.
1. This is more opportunity for new Canucks President Trevor "Lord" Linden to access the team. Not just the players, but the coaching staff. Linden again stressed recently that he wants to see an up-tempo game from this Canucks team moving forward. Can John Tortorella and crew deliver the goods? Is his termination already a foregone conclusion? Linden will meet with players and coaching staff after the Sunday game against the Flames. I can't wait for the aftermath. We are going to have so much to talk about moving into the draft and free agency.
2. It appears the majority of the core of the Canucks' team is going to be safe this offseason. Yes, they are signed to various types of no-trade or movement clauses, but surely a few of them may be approached (ahem Kesler!) this off season about being traded. Some big shots believe Ryan Kesler could / should be moved at the NHL Draft.
David Booth scored last game vs the Avalanche. Good god what are we going to do with this guy? That was his first point in 4 games, but he does have 4 goals and 1 assist in his last 8 games. I say: don't be fooled by Booth. Many say he is no longer a buyout candidate. Personally, I don't give a shit about his recent play. He's playing for his NHL life right now! Buy him out or trade him please! I have seen enough of this guy.
3. This is the time for the kids to shine. Mike Zalewski, who has been practicing with the team since his signing weeks ago, may slot in here. We also look to Nicklas Jensen to get back on the scoreboard again. Frank Corrado is probably going to play (Garrison may be out). I hope Torts starts Jacob Markstrom again. It only makes sense that the Canucks further analyze what they have going with this guy. I liked his play last game.
4. Tank Nation. The Canucks have sunk to a new low in the standings, as they are now in 12th spot in the West. That means they currently have the 6th overall pick in the Entry Draft this season. Can they pick higher? Nope. Only if they win the Draft Lottery.
5. This is the final game of the Oilers' season. I am not going to point fingers at them and laugh about their futility. No, this is the final NHL game of one Ryan Smyth. Every Canucks fan knows who Ryan Smyth is. He's basically the Oilers' Trevor Linden. Gutsy, gritty, talented, relentless leader of the team, with a big heart. A warrior. Both played in the WHL. Both were drafted in the first round by their respective teams. Both were traded away and played for 3 other NHL team before returning home to play where their heart was. Both have about the same amount of points in their NHL careers (Linden-867, Smyth-819). (Smyth played less games though.) Both led their teams to improbable playoff runs only to lose in the Stanley Cup finals. It's uncanny really. But their style was a fair bit different. Ryan Smyth was gold at making goalies' lives hell, standing in front of the net and raising hell.
-Ryan Smyth has won a total of 6 gold medals for Team Canada at various levels. Known as "Captain Canada".
-Ryan Smyth announces retirement.
But as time wore on and great players like Curtis Joseph, Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, and Todd Marchant moved along for more money elsewhere, Ryan Smyth was the constant. And watching him night after night helped you to appreciate the little things he did to help the team win. Things like playing through pain, blocking shots, standing in the crease, flat-out cheating in the crease. One of my favourite live goals was a night when I and a friend who cheered on the Canucks watched the two teams play at Rexall. With a shot on the way to the net, Smyth hit the goalie's glove down with his stick as the puck snuck past him. Both the 'tender and my friend looked apoplectic. Both Smyth and I wore huge grins. One of my favourite sequences on tape is this one from 2005-06. Ryan Smyth drove poor J.S. Giguere mad.
That from Scott Reynolds at The Copper And Blue.The incident with Giguere he is referring to:
Hahaha. I hate Ryan Smyth as he is an enemy of the Canucks. But of course that is a compliment to his agitating / effective abilities.
A tribute in Edmonton while he played for the Avs:
My absolute favorite Ryan Smyth moment was this:
Thanks for the memories, Ryan! Enjoy retirement!
Score-Predicting Wizards Update
You know, I've never won an SPW contest, but thangs are lookin' good right now. A few of us called a 4-2 Avs win last game.
Bobby Canuck: 22
Geordie Nuck: 18
Nathaniel Perlow: 18
Passive Voice: 15
Coach Ryan: 13
The entire list can be viewed here.
The title of this game preview post has been brought to you by Nazareth...and a hot ginger:
GO CAN..I MEAN..TANK CANUCKS TANK!
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