While the Canucks continue their march to the top of the Northwest Division, the respect for this team and the way they have handled some of the elite teams in the NHL certainly is slow in coming. A lot of it has to do with Auger-gate, as writers and other media types piled on the team for defending Alex Burrows. They attacked the team, the organization and the fans. They brought up that the team hasn't won the Stanley Cup. They called us every derogatory fan-related name under the sun for daring to believe in this team. What do I think? Good. Bring it on. All you've done is forced Canucks fans to come to terms with their pride, and realize this team is something to be excited about.Go on. Call us names, accuse us of everything under the sun. Whine about us being whiners. It carries that much more weight after they've handed your team another loss. This team and it's fans don't care. Not willing to respect the team for it's accomplishments? Fine, but that list of those who do is getting smaller as people start to wake up and realize what's going on over here on the Wet Coast. We have one of the best goalies in the world, the top scorer in the league, and play a style that blends a responsible defensive mindset with a speed-based offensive attack. This team is as billed at the start of the season: a contender. Bitch and moan all you want, it's merely fuel for the fire that drives the legion of Canuckleheads forward.
Okay... off the soapbox and on to the actual important stuff. Big game against our expansion rivals tonight. And a lot of the hype on Buffalo leading up to this match was their stellar record against Western teams. That has cooled somewhat as they are 0-2-1 in their last three on the trip, but still not a team to take lightly. Ryan Miller has been an unbelievable force in goal for the Sabres this season, well deserving of the Vezina and Hart trophy talk. I haven't had the chance to see them in action too much, but they appear to be a smaller team than some of the other top squads in the East, lots of lunch pail guys who work hard, shoot the puck a lot and rely on their speed to create chances. A lot of the talk focuses on the match up between Miller and Roberto Luongo tonight, as two Olympic goalies battle for a little bragging rights. With a win tonight, the Canucks will have their first 5 game winning streak of the season. Alex Burrows will be looking to continue his recent tear, as he currently rides an 11 game point streak.
You always hurt... the ones you love
A quiet night in the NHL, but not a boring on by any stretch. Another biting incident between the Penguins and Flyers yesterday, as the Flyers Aaron Asham accused Matt Cooke of biting him in a scrum at the end of the 2-1 win for the Pens. Earlier in the season Scott Hartnell was accused of biting a Penguins player. Cooke scored the winning goal in that game.
A lot of frustration in Boston as the team continues it's post-Winter Classic funk. While not a Flames-style freefall, with the East as tight as the West this year, the Bruins are in danger of slipping out of the top 8, and that has fans up in arms. The solid goaltending they were getting from Tukka Rask and Tim Thomas seems to have dried up, and goals are now hard to come by. Losing 5-1 to Carolina yesterday certainly didn't help this situation.
Colorado continues to defy logic as they won their 6th straight 4-0 over Dallas. The Stars continue to be unable to make ground and get into the top 8, and rumours persist they will try and deal upcoming UFA Marty Turco by the deadline.
Just 3 games on tap for tonight, the Penguins take on the Rangers (admit it, you want to see the Rangers lose just to see what Torts will say after the game), St. Louis visits Calgary as the Flames try and stop the bleeding that is their season, and as mentioned the Sabres visit Vancouver for the first time in 11 years or something stupid like that.