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Afternoon Espresso: Canucks visit new rivals, plus biggest stories of 2011

The Canucks are 1-0 with Luongo's new mask.
The Canucks are 1-0 with Luongo's new mask.

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays, or is still enjoying them if you're fortunate enough to have the week off. I've been away visiting family, and then fell victim to a pretty deadly stomach bug yesterday. I don't think I've been sick like that since elementary school. Anyway, I figured I'd drop a few links on you now before getting back to regular scheduled programming tomorrow morning.

One thing I'm looking forward to with realignment is the prospect of bigger rivalries with the San Jose Sharks and LA Kings. The Canucks have met both in the playoffs in recent years, so there's some bad blood to start with, and I like the match-up that each team offers. We'll get a preview of next year's rivalries with this week's California road trip.

Vancouver Canucks news & notes:

  • Here's Zandberg's preview for the game tonight. Great stuff as always!
  • Mark Mancari has been recalled for the road trip. Chris Higgins' recurring infection problems are a cause for concern, especially if the team doctors can't figure out what's causing them. []
  • The Stanchion gives us the top 10 things to look forward to in tonight's game against the Sharks. [Legion of Blog]
  • PITB has a great series breaking down the top 50 Canucks goals of 2011. Here's 30-21. [Pass it to Bulis]

NHL news & notes:

  • 'Tis the season of recapping the year that was, and here Puck Daddy lists the 10 most shocking hockey moments in 2011. There's no arguing it's been a controversial and largely dark year for the sport. [Puck Daddy]
  • The concussions just keep coming, as Alex Tanguay gets added to the list, joining Shea Weber and Simon Gagne. [Sportsnet] But...
  • Nick Kypreos argues that there isn't necessarily an epidemic in concussions, it's just a case of heightened awareness and increased sensitivity. [Sportsnet]
  • CROSBY WATCH: Sid is doing light exercise, but remains out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms. Sigh. [TSN]
  • A look at Ron Wilson's contract extension, from a guy who clearly doesn't agree with the move. [Toronto Sun]