It's not the kind of slump that we as Canucks fans are used to. Usually, when this team hits bottom, it's far more pronounced, with blowout games that usually stem from the goal outwards. That's probably why it's so damn hard to get a proper read on what is wrong with this Canucks team right now. The top 2 lines are clearly in a rut, save for Alexandre Burrows, but goaltending is surely not an issue for the Canucks right now. And that's why it's not the kind of slump that one need get too concerned about. It's not a good thing to have so many of a team's top players spinning their wheels at the same time, and there's issues with this team's defence that need to be addressed, but the hand-wringing I see about this team's near future is baffling. I've said it before and I will say it again: I will never understand why the slightest hiccup from this team brings normally sane people into the streets, wailing forecasts of imminent doom. You do know they're still first in the Northwest, right?
As the Canucks await the return of Sami Salo to their D core, they welcome back Chris Tanev, the latest call up from the Chicago Wolves to try and bring some stability to the back line. Tanev had a disappointing training camp and it seemed like a real step backwards when he was sent to the Wolves after coming out of nowhere to have a huge impact for the Canucks late last season and in the playoffs. The Canucks are hoping we see more of the flashes of brilliance Tanev showed last year, solid defensive play with a maturity that belies his age and calmness under fire.
As Sean detailed in his pre-game report, there's a number of Canucks that need to get off the schneid right now. It's a testament to the depth of this team (and the goaltenders, for that matter) that they've come out of this recent stretch with as many wins as they have. One thing is clear: they need more from Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, David Booth and Chris Higgins. Sure, Booth gets a bit of slack having just returned to the lineup, but the top two lines need to start giving Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider some support. A 60 minute effort, for the first time in weeks will go a hell of a long way.
This afternoon's matchup is the 4th and final meeting of the season for the Canucks and Sharks, with all of the games so far super tight and very emotional. Considering some of the bland games the Canucks have played over the last while, a game against San Jose might be just what the doctor ordered. If there were ever a time the Sharks could be looked upon as vulnerable, the loss of Martin Havlat and Ryane Clowe from the lineup might be such a time. The Sharks are sputtering right now, and will no doubt be looking to right the ship. Expect a playoff-style atmosphere at Rogers Arena this afternoon as both teams look to shake themselves out their respective funks.
PK Subban is in trouble again, this time being fined $2500 for a slew foot (or as Brendan Shanahan called it, a 'dangerous trip') last night in the Montreal Canadiens shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Habs blew a 3 goal lead in that game, as they continue their tailspin. The icing on the cake? Scott Gomez being relied upon as the shooter to try and salvage the shootout for Montreal. While I am sure coach Randy Cunneyworth was trying to do something to shake Gomez out of one of the most legendary slumps in hockey history, all it did was further compound just how lost Gomez is. He's so far removed from the player he once was, one wonders if he will ever get over what mental block is keeping him from scoring... Marc Savard spoke with the media today, saying he still suffers from concussion symptoms including memory loss, and stated the NHL should have an automatic 10 game suspension for head shots. It's great that Savard is speaking out in this era where concussions seem to dominate the news of the league, but I have a serious issue with his integrity after he came out in support of teammate Brad Marchand, whose dirty hit left Sami Salo with a concussion. I guess only certain types of concussions matter, right Marc? One wonders if Marchand will speak out after the game, urging Shanahan to rescind his suspension and refer to it as a 'dangerous trip' instead... With all the news heading into the All Star Game about Zdeno Chara and the whole 'will he pick a Canuck player in the All Star Draft' hubbub, two things come to mind. First, the Bruins have to be one of the most immature teams in the NHL given the incessant whining about everything they don't like. You won the bloody Cup. You might want to act with a little dignity instead of giving us your all male performance of 'Mean Girls'. Second, all this has done is make me more sure I have never wanted to watch an All Star Game so much in my life. What a horrid and embarrassing bunch of manufactured crap. I suppose we should expect nothing less in the Bettman NHL.
CLASSIC METAL SONG OF THE DAY
These California stoners stormed the metal world in the 90's with their album 'Blues For The Red Sun'. Kyuss would release four albums and a couple EP's in total before calling it a day, many of the members going on to play in Queens Of The Stone Age. 3 of the 4 original members now tour in a band called Kyuss Lives! giving hope to fans that QOTSA's Josh Homme will one day rejoin them and let Kyuss truly live once again. Here's my favorite Kyuss track, Green Machine.