If you think tonight will see a return to a focus on hockey for the Canucks, you might be disappointed. Tonight is gonna see the Edmonton Oilers out for revenge against Zack Kassian and looking desperately to appease, if even for a moment, the fans who were pretty upset about the letter from owner Darryl Katz yesterday. They will be looking to make a statement, and let's face it: this is gonna be the status quo for the rest of the season. The Canucks have a giant target on their backs, so they had best be ready.
Their last meeting was supposed to be one where the score was settled (though rational hockey fans would understand that a suspension to Kassian means it was addressed, no one ever accused Oilers fans of being such), we instead saw the Canucks dominate the Oilers, and were called out by David Perron after the game for not doing anything about Kassian until about a minute remaining in the game. Unlike Saturday against Calgary, where Kassian struggled to find a dance partner, you would think he will have no trouble tonight.
And so the Canucks will have to continue to stand up and not let them try and take any liberties, but also be mindful that unlike the Flames, the Oilers have a number of players who, when they decide to, can play some pretty damn good hockey. Play the same physical style, but keep focused on the end result. The Oilers are not a threat to overtake them, but they aren't in any position to be throwing even a single point away right now. Get the two and get home.
Add in that a Canucks team that is struggling to find offence will be without Mike Santorelli and Henrik Sedin tonight, so we'll see some different line combinations for sure as Mike Sullivan takes the reigns for the first game of John Tortorella's suspension. Maybe this will be the spark that ignites this team to get back to the way they were playing in December, when they looked very much in the mix as a contender in the West.
KICKASS METAL TUNE OF THE DAY
A ripper from Sweden's The Haunted, dedicated to the haters out there. Concern trolls, hypocrites and idiots, the lot of ya.