Have we all had our little sigh/cry/scream/extreme overreaction about the trade? Good. This writer isn't going to dwell on it too much. Not bashing the man, but there's a number of players on this team I'd lose my shit over the Canucks trading before Cody Hodgson. The deal is done, and the management of this team wished to make some changes, the depth that Hodgson provided enabled them to do that. Did the Canucks somehow do Hodgson wrong? Don't believe so and don't care. Were his parents and agent involved in basically forcing a deal? Sure beginning to look like that with the revelations of Hodgson's agent Rich Winter coming out that his client met with the coach two days before the deadline to discuss Cody's ice time. Once again, I don't care. There's still a number of games to be played. The Canucks are still not quite out of that funk, and apparently if you have anything positive to say about this team right now, you're drinking the kool-aid of a coach and GM that need to go if they don't win the Stanley Cup and are clueless as to how to run this team. The Canucks aren't playing great hockey right now, yet find themselves atop the NHL. Is it really as bad as some think? Ever see a team slump their way up the standings before? Things aren't as bad as you think.
Yes, the first two lines (as Sean pointed out in his preview) are ice cold right now, but much like some of the speculation about what will happen after the Codypocalypse, there are people who honestly believe the Canucks are in trouble. The playoffs are more than a month away. If you honestly think that the leaders of this team are all still going to be not scoring come playoff time, I worry about you. There's nothing to suggest it at all. It's a product of the ingrained self-loathing that comes with being a fan of this team. You cannot ever celebrate accomplishments of this team, and should you dare to do so, you'll get savaged, cut down by our own before any other fan base can mock you for it. You cannot look at things positively because there's oh, so much negative. Bullshit.
Every team slumps. Every team's scorers go through cold periods. And I would rather see this team do it now than once the post season starts. This team is a Stanley Cup contender. And that means teams try like hell every time they face the Canucks, bringing their A game. There is more going on here than slumping. This team is facing the kind of adversity that is building up a playoff mindset early. And these close games, they're exactly what we're gonna see come April and beyond. And thankfully, there's no shootouts in the postseason.
The beauty of a team like the Canucks is that when players inevitably go cold, there's someone else to pick up the slack. They're able to get by, and get through until things level out. And they will. Sure they have a tough challenge tonight against the red hot St. Louis Blues. And if the Canucks should lose tonight, the Smylosphere will become a toxic wasteland of doubt and frustration. There will be calls for change. Hell, some of you might even call for Alain Vigneault to lose his job. And without a doubt, a loss will be painted with the brush that this is all because the Canucks traded away Hodgson. And should they win, it will be asterisked, as some aspect of the game will be stapled to it: "Sure they won but (fill in the unrelated but somehow dire negative thing that occured)". If you read my stuff here you know I am not all puppies and sunshine. I am on this team for not putting in 60 minute efforts as much as anyone. But I refuse to believe that things are nearly as bad as they're being made out to be. There's a lot of teams right now in the NHL worthy of this type of fan anguish. The Vancouver Canucks are one of them. High expectations should not cause one to suspend logic.
So this game actually means something tonight, eh? While it's only a surprise to some that the Canucks are back at the top of the pile, if you told anyone that their March 1st game against St. Louis would be a battle for 1st in the league you might have been greeted with laughter or some nice gentlemen to help you into a coat that ties up at the back. The St. Louis Blues have turned their season around in a most remarkable way, with coach Ken Hitchcock worthy of the credit being doled out here. They're still not as much a threat on the road as they are at home, despite 4 in a row away from the Scottrade Center. The Canucks meanwhile may not be recognizable to those of you at Rogers Arena tonight, having played what seems like an eternity on the road lately. The good news is, they have just 5 more road games left this season. The top scoring team in the NHL goes against the team with the stingiest defence. Something's gotta give.
KICKASS METAL SONG OF THE DAY
Yesterday we learned of the passing of Davy Jones of the Monkees. "Wait... what the hell man?" I can hear you saying, "The Monkees weren't metal!". Ah yes, but such is the beauty of cover tunes... here's a couple Monkees classics done up metal style by Trouble and Six Feet Under...