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Friday Morning Coffee - Drop the damn puck already...

A friend of mine once told me that being a Canucks fan was easy for him, as he was a sucker for punishment.  It just doesn't seem to get easier, does it kids?  Every time it looks like we can focus on some hockey and good, positive things about the team we love, in roll the black clouds.  How many hockey fans in North America can name the current league scoring leader?  And how many of them can tell you that Alex Burrows is worse than Sean Avery?

This isn't complaining so much, though according to some "journalists" if we dare open our mouths out here on the wet coast about a slight towards our team, real or perceived, it's whining pure and simple.  Sometimes it feels like the media and a lot of other teams fans just sit there hovering over us, waiting for the opportunity to pounce.  Is that true?  Sometimes I wonder.  With the hockey world focused on Vancouver even more this year because of the Olympics, the Burrows/Auger incident gave them the opening they needed.  The attacks have come fast and furious, some to the point of ridiculousness.  We didn't get justice served in the Burrows incident, but a lot of us realized it wasn't about justice for Alex Burrows or even justice for the Vancouver Canucks.  It was about justice for the fans of this great game to know the game is decided solely by the play on the ice.  To know that a referee will call the game with a level hand, and not exact punishment because his ego or even reputation was tarnished in the past.  It has to be this way.  Without the correct and fair administration of law, there is no justice.  Is there anything else to say in the matter?  Nope.  We all have our opinions.  Fans continue to vent on both sides.  Media people for the most part continue to miss the point of the whole thing.  In the wake, we have people accusing Alain Vigneault of sending players out to fight in a game that was past the point where the Canucks (due to their effort level that night) could come back.  And who did this charge come from?  Minnesota's coach Todd Richards?  Their captain Mikko Koivu?  No, it came from Derek Boogaard.  The fact that anyone takes anything that comes from the mouth of the 6'8" troglodyte as fact is stunning in itself, but to try and manufacture a scandal out of this? 

Some even went so low as to compare this to the Bertuzzi incident.  And there it is.  The reason for the anger, the irrational (at times) hatred for the Vancouver Canucks.  A black mark on the franchise, for sure.  But all key players are gone from this team.  Moved on to other teams.  Some will come out and say it, never missing an opportunity to throw that into the face of a Canucks fan.  Others don't though, but you can't tell me it doesn't color their opinion.  There's a similarity here though, but much to some people's disappointment, it has nothing to do with Todd Bertuzzi.  It's the NHL.  Had they issued some kind of penalty to Steve Moore in the first place, this is a non-issue.  Here's where I have to put the disclaimer: I AM NOT BLAMING STEVE MOORE OR IMPLYING ANY PART OF BERUZZI'S ACTIONS WERE GOOD.  Clear enough for you?  I just believe that the NHL's justice department is a microcosm of the league itself.  Constantly trying to paint the picture of sunshine and lollipops, yet beneath the surface, it's hellfire.  A punishment to Auger for any of his actions that people could actually see, would have done a world of good.  The message sent was that Alex Burrows shouldn't have broken the rule about speaking to the media about officiating.  Fine, no problem there.  The fine was well deserved and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced he handled it the wrong way. 

But by trying to paint the picture of Auger as one of the league's most respected officials, is it any wonder no one ever thinks justice is done?  If Auger is one of the best, why has he not worked a playoff game the last 4 seasons.  Bob McKenzie of TSN had a good point, Auger was not the official who levelled the charge in the Shane Doan matter.  Yet when things got incredibly stupid, Auger left him out there to hang, and let the vultures circle and swarm not once, but twice.  That, along with the NHL's scolding of Burrows for sullying Auger's repuation and because he has a family, speaks volumes.  So that's it.  Not much more to say on the subject.  Wouldn't want to be accused of whining.  In a way, it's the same as it always is.  There's only one way they can shut them up.  In the mean time, just drop the damn puck.

Something to go with your coffee

Is it just me or are injuries up this year?  When you look at the injuries suffered by the Canucks, Red Wings, Bruins, Oilers, and now the Ducks, it seems like there's a spike in the number of players getting banged up.  The Ducks lost Teemu Selanne for 4-6 weeks with a broken jaw, and now Saku Koivu left the game last night with an undisclosed injury.  Speaking of the Ducks, Bobby Ryan might get a call from Colin Campbell for a hit on Oscar Moller of the Kings last night.  Ryan was given 2 for roughing, 5 for charging and a 10 minute misconduct for the hit with 7 seconds remaining in a 4-0 LA win.  The Rangers were shutout on back to back nights by Brodeur, only this time it wasn't Team Canada's starting goalie, it was Ottawa's Mike Brodeur.  I bet John Tortorella loved that one, and congrats to Brodeur on his 1st NHL shutout, he needs just 106 more to tie Marty's record.  Good Luck! 

It's not often I feel compassion for a player on a division rival, but you did have to feel for Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk.  The Oilers collapsed in front of him, allowing the 2-0 lead they had developed to disappear, and the Penguins scored late to steal a 3-2 win, sweeping Alberta.  The former Kamloops Blazers goalie managed to stare down Crosby and Malkin but in the end the Pens were just too much for the hapless Oilers.  The Leafs actually looked good last night dismantling the Flyers 4-0.  And yes, that was Vesa Toskela in net for the Leafs.  Make sure and take some Gravol reading the gushing coming from the center of the universe.  Given Dallas's inability to make any ground in the West lately, do you get the feeling the Stars are getting close to pulling the plug on their season?  There's rumblings from Big D that they might be looking at asking Marty Turco to waive his NTC.  Turco would make a nice pick up for a team looking to shore up their goaltending for a playoff run. 

Big chance for the Canucks to bounce back and get the focus back on hockey as the Sidney Crosby show comes to town.  Looking at the excitement we've seen with the visit of Ovechkin and now the Penguins, it's pretty pathetic that this is his 2nd visit to Vancouver in his career.  It should be a great game, something about these upper echelon teams that really brings out the best in the Canucks, and they have been very strong on HNIC this season.  Nucks Misconduct as always will have full pregame coverage, and as always we are all over any breaking news, so make sure to check back often.