Let me start off by giving a shout out to good ol' Kent Basky. He's usually your blogger setting the table on these brunch pieces heading into game day. Kent's taking a breather for a bit and we wish him the best and hope he comes back to our warm, loving collective embrace soon enough. As a reminder, everyone who hugs NM back gets free cookies for life (it's in the fine print people, that's why the fine print is there).
As I write this, Sports Club Stats says Vancouver has about a 1.4% of making the playoffs. Perhaps your first reaction to only being 98.6% eliminated is something like...
...however as one of NM's resident curmudgeons who continues having flashbacks to the 1997-98 season when watching this team play, I almost look forward to the final nail in the coffin of this train wreck slamming into a twenty car pile up soon to be engulfed in a tsunami wave of tears that has become the 2013-14 Canucks season. Only then can we turn our attention to who is on the chopping block (someone besides Aramark has to be fired here) and the next steps to get this group back on track.
Until then, it's Torts (certainly not through comprehensive planning) has little choice but to give the kids a shot. Nicklas Jensen is single-handedly giving you a reason to tune in as the Canucks can again ice a close to normal first line again. Jensen joins Jordan Schroeder on the second powerplay unit (and sure the PP% is only at 14.5% but that's just an ugly number people, why stare at it?). Zac Dalpe is centering the fourth line while back on defense Ryan Stanton and Chris Tanev are keeping Jason Garrison and Alexander Edler honest (or as best they can in regards to Edler). Then there's those crazy kids in net.
That terrible 1998 I begrudgingly mentioned above? That same team that tossed out an inept Messier (*spits*) flanked by rapidly-disinterested souls in Bure and Mogilny lead the way with the building blocks waiting in the wings (Naslund, Bertuzzi, Ohlund). Bure's trade helped the back-end, Mogilny's departure in 2000 helped the front end while other talents developed into starting roles (Cooke...before he went insane, Ruutu, Sopel...I can't believe I just wrote that). It was a rough few years - especially on the back office side - but that next chapter of talent eventually grew into pulling Vancouver (briefly!) out of the rut.
Now you're seeing it again, evolution taking shape. Take those Jensen/Schroder/Tanev/Kassian(?!?) pieces and sprinkle in a Bo Horvat here, a Hunter Shinkaruk there, a smidge of Frank Corrado and Brendan Gaunce and the picture becomes a bit more clear. Then imagine a solid trade (cough Kesler cough) or two (cough Edler cough) that brings in some durability and added skill. It's fun to dream about the days ahead, assuming of course the right people are in place not to screw it up.
Until then...along comes Nashville, a team that also can't score, can't keep pace in their division and a fanbase already looking at at the summer at the expense of a mediocre present. We feel your pain our extinct kitty friends. Remember when you called us "smug and preening" just three years ago? We'll ignore all of that now. Remember, hugs means cookies.
Kickass Metal Tune Of The Day
I may not be as good at this as Sir Basky, but since the team is teetering on the edge, I just head this song at the gym and then noticed YouTube had a video of them playing in Nashville, I give you Orlando's own Trivium.