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Game Day Coffee- Jan 11/16- Canucks vs Florida

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After dispatching one former beloved goaltender with a win over Carolina last week, the Canucks get to do it all over again, but it's gonna be a challenge as they take on the hottest team in the NHL: Roberto Luongo's Florida Panthers (did I just type that???)

As the Canucks wrap up a lengthy home stand before, wait for it... another lengthy Eastern road swing, they take on our old pal Lu and the Florida Panthers tonight at Rogers Arena. You know, the winners of 12 straight Florida Panthers. So let's see if we have all of tonight's storylines updated, shall we?

- Emerson Etem makes his Canucks debut tonight. After being picked up the other day for Nicklas Jensen, Etem will be in tonight. Two guys who won't be are Adam Cracknell, who played well against Tampa but will sit in favour of Jared McCann and Chris Higgins, who is currently being shopped by the Canucks in the hopes that some NHL GM has a roster spot and money to burn that they have really low expectations for. Don't get me wrong, Higgins has been a warrior in his time in Vancouver and was a big part of that 2011 run, but he simply should not have started the season in a Canucks uniform, and it's gonna be a miracle if Jim Benning can actually move him off the books. I would have preferred they tried to move him earlier, but it's an encouraging sign to see Benning and Linden sticking to their guns with a commitment to making this team younger and faster by removing a piece that simply has stood out (and not in a good way, obviously) for the last couple years now.

- One of the big reasons the Panthers have won 12 straight? Roberto Luongo winning 9 of those 12. That 9 in a row? Something he never did as a Vancouver Canuck. Let that sink in for a moment. And despite being cleared for action, the Canucks are sending Jacob Markstrom, the goalie we received in the trade that sent Luongo to Florida in the first place, in to take him on tonight, as if the game didn't need more drama. Add in all the other former Panthers and Canucks playing for the opposition, and throw in ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr and this has all the makings of one hell of a game for a Monday night in January.

So how have they done it? Well, getting lights out goaltending from Luongo and backup Al Montoya has been a big part obviously, but they're also getting balanced scoring, and solid defence. You have to think that should they continue to lead the way in the Atlantic that coach Gerard Gallant, and GM Dale Tallon have to be up for the coaching and gm of the year nods for the job they have done in turning this franchise around.

FRESH HOT LINKS

- A nice piece on Luongo and his time in Vancouver

- Botch on the end of Higgins' tenure with the Canucks

VCB is in tough with Higgins being shown the door...

- Emerson Etem and Linden Vey were once linemates in Medicine Hat, so maybe that chemistry is reborn?

- Addressing the Higgins issue is nice, but about that defence?

- Jake isn't just part of the future, but a big part of the now for the Canucks

- Our pals over at Litter Box Cats have their preview up

- Alex Ovechkin is one of the greatest ever and it's not just the obvious things, either

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

It's a sad day for the music world, regardless of your tastes as we say farewell to a true legend: David Bowie, who lost his battle with cancer today at age 69. Bowie was a game changer in the most literal sense of the word, having an impact on music, art, fashion, even being a force in the sexual revolution with his Ziggy Stardust character, bringing the reality of his bisexuality into the everyday world. Bowie was simply a brilliant musician who was able to reinvent himself and stay relevant far beyond any of his peers, though admittedly there weren't many of those. Music fans are blessed to have the legacy he's left behind. And sure enough, I found a pretty cool metal cover of a Bowie tune in tribute for you.