Anyone else have today circled on the calendar? I'll admit I messed the date up, go me.
So first things first: the Isles made quick work off far too many Canuck mistakes Monday night. As I said in the liveblog, better they learn the hard way against a poor team than have their ass handed to them by a better one (the sting is harsher).
Is this the start of yet another scoring problem? I don't think so; the team was sloppy in their own end and MacDonald was phenomenal. If that was Toskala again we'd still be at the bar celebrating.
Meanwhile, Sanford wants to play (kinda) and Edler may jump back into the line-up tonight, liking knocking Nycholat out. Up front, Raymond is looking to get out of his scoring funk. And, on that note, it would appear Raymond has never been to NYC and took a walking tour on his own. Dude, I know where the good strip clubs are, you just had to email me. We could have split a black & white cookie while yelling at tourists and talking about Obama. Next time I'll take everyone but Vigneault, cross my heart.
Moving on...the home team tonight is that group in blue I live to hate. Just so happens they're the second best team in hockey now so the loathing goes up accordingly. Nothing like a challenge and the guys seem to have responded well in past games when it was clear they needed to bring their best game. The game will also feature two of the best netminders in Lui and Lundqvist.
Helping Vancouver will be Gomez's injury (unless he's faking it because he's about to be traded to Vancouver so the Rags can sign Sundin. [e4]). The Maven thinks the Rags will win and is still fuming over the Vancouver media's treatment of the Islanders. Then again, who takes a doddering old fuck like him serious anyway?
Enter Naslund. You had to know a lot of stories like this were coming that are sugary sweet enough to make you diabetic. You want some more? How about love from his old agent or from "I'll hit him if I get a chance" Kesler?
And how does his new home celebrate the big game? Well they love Naz so much the NY Daily News can't even identify him:
Let's cut through the crap: by and large most Canuck fans like Naslund but don't miss him as a player based on his production in the past few years (whether it's his fault, Nonis's or Vigneault's doesn't really need to be debated anymore). It makes sense and I'm in that camp, a far cry from this summer when my knee-jerk reaction to his departure was something roughly akin to killing our GM.
My reaction was simple: I wish he had finished his career here because I'm a envious, jealous fan who wants those who help the team - or dare I say personify them - to never leave. Anyone remember the day Burke brought Linden back? Yeah something like that.
However now I do feel the Canucks are far better as Luongo's team than Naslund's. Even when I was lobbying for Mitchell to be captain, all I wanted was a guy who lead by example (and the best Naslund got to that over the last few seasons was improved back-checking). With Luongo you have the only guy on the team who plays his guts out every night. You'd think on nights like against the Isles that seeing him single-handidly keep them in the game throughout that putrid second would work. Well sometimes it will and sometimes it won't. But this is Luongo's team.
As for Naslund, in a way I'm happy he got what he wanted and Luongo gets to be even more of a complete player all at the same time. Our old captain probably hated playing for Vancouver and it's certainly no stretch to say he hated playing for Vigneault. He's currently second on the Rangers with points (14), the same as Daniel Sedin. Christ he's even on the All-Star ballot (snicker). And the icing on the cake: Naslund doesn't care that Vancouver is in there tonight (that or he's a poor liar).
So pick a side and let's move on:
Glass half empty - The past is in the past. Naslund didn't like playing with us? Screw it, he's washed up and couldn't handle the pressure anyway. Better off with his millions in a market that cares more about fantasy celebrity bulimia than the Rangers starting line-up. Enjoy your baby seal skin adorned limo ride from Tarrytown back to Greenwich you soulless money whore.
Glass half full - the Canucks are empty on Cups and short on legends. But boy do we love our captains. For a brief period this team had the best line in hockey and Naslund was the face of it. We're lucky to have had so many years of his service and that his departure lead to what we can only hope are better years under a better player. Few teams have had a similar fervent drive for their captains as much as Vancouver has had with Naslund and Luongo (hell throw in Linden and we had them all on the same team for a couple seasons). For that we should be thankful for every second Naz played in Vancouver's name.
My glass? My glass will be full of overpriced MSG beer as I take the game in with rest of the Ranger bleacher creatures. All I really care about is a Luongo win and Kesler keeping to his promise. If Naslund plays well, so be it.
Until I see #19 heading towards the GM Place rafters, I've got no reason to care what this #91 does.