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Afternoon Espresso: Winter Classic Intermission Edition

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Happy New Year! Hope you're enjoying the Winter Classic and Kent's open thread. I got thrown off my routine a bit this morning with the holiday and the time change on the Classic. Here's a shot of links to get you set for tonight's Canucks match-up with the Sharks, as well as some bits from the Classic and around the league.

Vancouver Canucks news & notes:

  • The team is determined to start 2012 with a better effort than the one they ended 2011 with. The Canucks have been a great bounce-back team the past few seasons, so hopefully we see that. The Sharks have been circling; they haven't played since last week's OT loss to Vancouver. [Vancouver Sun]
  • Chris Higgins returns for tonight's game. Good news, but how effective will he be after a few days of unsuccessfully trying to keep down hospital food? [The Province]
  • CHB lists the 10 most memorable Canuck moments of 2011. [Canucks Hockey Blog]
  • If you're looking for a more in-depth review, Harrison Mooney brings the goods. This is exhaustive! [Pass it to Bulis]

NHL news & notes:

  • We all now know Ilya Bryzgalov did not start in the Winter Classic today. Is Bryz starting to become a bit of an unwanted distraction for the Flyers, or is the media using the HBO coverage and the dollar amount on his contract to make a bit too much of this? [Sporting News]
  • Puck Daddy hands out awards in a variety of categories for 2011. Beer league name of the year? The Hat Trick Swayzes. Amazing. [Puck Daddy]

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  • Dave Lozo picks his "All 2011" line; 3 forwards, 2 defencemen, and 1 goaltender. Spoiler: one of our favourite Swedish gingertwins makes an appearance. [Canucks.com]
  • Cam Charron with the final "Don Cherry Confused Me" of 2011. [Legion of Blog]