While it had a few frustrating moments, overall that was a pretty entertaining hockey game Saturday night at Rogers Arena. We saw the Canucks score 5 goals in the same game (which is the most I have seen them score live in the 9 games I have attended since 1978). We were treated to a pretty great night from the Sedins and Alexandre Burrows, including that awesome 2nd period shift that could only have been topped by scoring on the play. Twitchy and I damn near lost it as we witnessed the Canucks score a power play goal. A lot of the things that the Canucks needed to get in order were present in this game: Bigger contribution from the top line, defencemen joining the rush and contributing on the scoreboard, and special teams goals.
That's not to say that the game didn't have it's cringe-worthy moments. As good as Cory Schneider played, and he was very solid on Saturday, that first goal was horrid. Zack Kassian and Tom Sestito both lost their fights. The Canucks gave up far too many shots, and especially later in the game were a tad too soft on puck battles for my liking. These things would come back to haunt them against some teams. Fortunately they were playing the Flames, and it wasn't an issue. And then there was Cam Barker.
The best way to describe Barker's game Saturday night? A train derailment that caused a massive leak of hot mess? I found myself getting seriously anxious anytime he was near the puck, because that meant we were a second or two away from a bad decision. Barker plays like a guy who's confidence is completely gone, and it's because of this that I question the logic of pairing him with Chris Tanev. Sure, it's a nod to the confidence that the coaching staff have in Cool Hand Chris, but wouldn't it make more sense to have a more experienced partner for when they inevitably have to bail out Barker? Keith Ballard can't get healthy fast enough. I just want to say thanks again to Tom's RV for the awesome seats, and Twitchy for opening up his home and hanging with me for the night. We had a bite down at Save On Meats, watched an awesome game and talked a lot of hockey and music. You're a quality dude, Twitch. Cheers!
We're down to just 10 games remaining for the Canucks, and while things are far from a lock, they're looking as though they might be getting things settled at absolutely the right time. Cory Schneider's got himself into a nice groove, the scoring seems to be coming back, there's a pulse on the power play. They got Mason Raymond, Dale Weise and Zack Kassian back from injury, soon to be followed by Keith Ballard and Ryan Kesler. They're going to need a healthy team heading into the postseason, and it looks like they might finally get that as the season winds down.
Tonight's game is a big one, as they take on the 9th place Coyotes. Keeping that distance between themselves and the Wild is crucial with the Canucks set to embark on a road trip that sees them play 5 games in 9 nights, starting in Calgary, then heading down to Colorado, over to St Louis for the first of a back to back, followed by Nashville and then down to Dallas. A rough trip for sure, but with 4 of those 5 games coming against non-playoff opponents, there's definitely hope if the Canucks continue to make progress back to the style of hockey we're used to seeing from them. It doesn't get any easier when they get back home though, as they take on Detroit, Chicago and Anaheim before ending the season against Edmonton. Talk about statement games.
Tonight is also the first time the Canucks face the Coyotes since the incident in which the NHL's reigning embellishment king, Mike Smith suckered Brendan Shanahan into suspending Alex Edler for 2 games after a collision behind the Coyotes net. With the Desert Dogs sitting three points out of a playoff spot, and this hanging over the game, it wouldn't be wrong to expect some fireworks tonight.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
Hadn't heard this one in a while, so I thought I would drag it out for you. Though they've definitely added some more traditional metal elements to their sound, Satyricon's roots in the Norwegian Black Metal scene cannot be denied. They have a new album due for release this September, so until that hits, here's a kickass video from 2002's Volcano. A little Fuel For Hatred, anyone?