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Vancouver/Calgary: Hoping For Sloppy Seconds

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3:34 PM ET Update (h/t Kukla): Mike Keenan doesn't think Mitchell's stick is legal:

When the Flames' coach was asked about matching up Robyn Regehr against the suddenly red-hot Mats Sundin, he turned the conversation around and suggested he was more concerned about the Canucks' defensive match-up against Jarome Iginla.

Specifically, Keenan charged that defenceman Willie Mitchell used an illegal stick – too long – to defend against Iginla.

Keenan was coy about whether he'd ask for a measurement against Mitchell tonight (“I would never say”), but it was clear that he was trying to ramp up the rhetoric for the game, and maybe take some pressure off the slumping Iginla.

I have no idea why I immediately thought of Mitchell's reaction being similar to the grunt heavy Incredible Hulk: "ARGH...HULK SMASH...ARRRRGH". Or maybe that will come out by the third period.


Northwest Standings

GP W L OTL PT
Calgary 56 33 18 5 71
Edmonton 56 29 23 4 62
Vancouver 56 27 21 8 62
Minnesota 55 28 24 3 59
Colorado 57 26 30 1 53

(updated 2.17.2009 at 10:00 AM EST)


To update last night's preview for the Canucks/Flames game, Vancouver finds itself in 7th place this morning thanks to a Dallas OT win over Columbus (*spits, kicks door*) and the Oilers win over Phoenix. That win also puts the Oilers second in the division because they have two more wins than Vancouver.

Essentially, from here on out, the Stars, Blue Jackets, Oilers, Ducks and Wild simply cannot lose enough for my tastes.

The pressure is back on the Canucks tonight to keep pace with the herd. A win over Iginla's ladies will propel Vancouver back to 5th place in the conference and second in the Northwest, leaving them just six points behind Chicago and seven behind Calgary. Meanwhile the Flames have won two straight and are 20-7-3 at home this year.

You know how I harp on these guys to play all sixty minutes each game? Well keep in mind that - via the canucks.com game notes - the Flames are 19-0-3 this season when leading after two periods but 3-18-0 when trailing after two.

It's an uphill battle but no time to piss and moan about it. Vancouver needs a win or, at worse, get into the OT for the point. Tonight has all the makings of a game with playoff-like intensity between these two rivals, so it should be fun. And expect a "Hordichuk blackout" by the middle of the second at least.

If you're in Vancouver, you can take take the game in with the Crazy Canucks crew all night long.

Check out Five Hole Fanatics or Battle of Alberta for views from the other side.

Fun Fact of the day (courtesy of the Kutenblog)

Nylander and Burrows each have 27 points this year. However, Nylander makes $4,875,000 and Burrows $483,333. As the piece notes, Burrows makes less than one-tenth of Nylander's salary for the same production.

Perhaps that is why the papers this morning are talking up Burrows' contract status since he will be a UFA come July 1. I can't imagine Gillis letting him leave.

Stupid Fact of the day (courtesy of the Calgary Sun)

Harvey the Hound turns 25 today. Maybe Gillis should invite Craig MacTavish to the game.